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Buying Clothes Online

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 in Q&As

Do you recommend buying clothes online, when you can’t try them on first? Any overall advice on shopping online, or stores where you should shop at?

I do recommend shopping online, but there are some things that will make your shopping experience easier. I’ll break this up into two topics.

First off, as for fitting and general purchasing, be very careful. As you likely well know, buying things online is one massive crapshoot, and it’s always a gamble. The first thing- above anything else- that I typically recommend is to simply know your sizes. Whenever shopping online, try to keep your measurements handy, or have something (soft measuring tape) to do it when you need to know. Typically, most bigger online stores will have “fit guides” or something of that nature, with approximated measurements available for you to compare yourself against. Even eBay posts tend to have this information.

Still, that doesn’t always help things. One thing I personally like to do is to simply Google it- this especially works with jeans. For example, if I wanted to know the fit of Raf Simons jeans, I’d simply Google “Raf Simons jeans fit“. To compare Levis 514s to 511s or something, “514 vs 511“. Fashion forums all over the internet have threads you can read up on for this sort of information.

Additionally, ALWAYS try to be covered in case what you purchase does not fit. Ensure there is a return policy, ideally one where you don’t have to pay a dime. If there isn’t, make sure you can afford to have something that doesn’t fit- that is, be willing to spend the extra cash to get something tailored or to sell it to someone else.

As for where to shop, you have plenty of options. Most mid-tier brands nowadays have online stores of their own- from J.Crew to Ralph Lauren to Armani Exchange. Most of these places sell their wares for full price, but are good to check regarding sales  from time to time. One new trend that’s developed online is the “fire sale” website like Gilt Groupe or JackThreads, which, at 12:00 every day, makes available an assortment of usually deeply discounted designer products. I tend to much prefer sites that carry a variety of brands- Yoox, Bluefly, Revolve Clothing, and even mall stores like Nordstrom fall into this category. If you want to browse a ton of stores at once, sites like ShopStyle are a good choice, though usually full priced. Amazon.com has some decent offerings as well. Whatever you do, make sure to check coupon sites like RetailMeNot for applicable coupon codes- you can easily save up to 50% or more stacking coupons if you are vigilant enough. If you really want to become an aggressive deal-hunter, make a dump e-mail account and sign up for a ton of website mailing lists- they often announce major sales.

Still, the best advice I can give you is to just browse around. You never know what you’ll find- just keep an eye out on things, stumble around the web, that sort of thing. Hope this helps!

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