It’s really amazing to be able to snuggle up on your couch or sit at a sunny kitchen table and be able to shop online. The internet allows consumers to be exposed to so many brands and become educated on their products and values in a way that simply walking into a store can’t do. But time and time again we find ourselves hesitant to buy clothing online. Clothing is so personal and unique to the individual in a way that many other products aren’t, so many of us feel that we need be face to face with a piece of clothing to know if it's the right choice for us. But really, shopping online creates an opportunity to make better clothing choices that you’ll really love. As someone who’s very familiar with the relationship between online brands and consumers, I wanted to take this post to solve some of your biggest pain points when it comes to shopping for clothing online.
1. I don’t know what size to order. Size and fit are always tricky when it comes to online shopping. The reality is that unless we’re paying for custom pieces, every piece of clothing is going to fit each of us a little differently. There are a growing number of resources online to help determine your size but I’ve found that the best tool is good old fashioned measuring tape. It’s really important to measure yourself so that you can see where your measurements fit in a brand’s size chart. Sizing varies so much from brand to brand. So instead of just trying the size you wear in a different label it really helps to take a look at the size chart as a starting point. If you don’t fit perfectly into a size, you’ll probably find that the brand has more fit information available to help you make the best decision. If you’re still unsure, try emailing customer service. Brands know that sizing is tough and they always want to help you as much as possible!
2. It won’t fit and I’ll have to pay to return it. When you buy clothing without being able to try it on, you always run the risk of it not fitting the way you want. And although this can seem scary, online labels understand this and are usually very understanding when it comes to returning unworn product. Many labels will even offer free return shipping so that you don’t have to pay to send it back if it’s not exactly what you want. Almost all online shops have their shipping and return information on their website. I recommend taking a few minutes to check it out before you make a purchase so that you can buy confidently, knowing that you’ll only end up with a piece you’ll love.
3. I can't feel the fabric. It’s true that you can’t feel the fabric of a garment when shopping online. And that really is a big bummer. But when shopping with a brand online you’re able to get all kinds of information about the fabric and usually why it was chosen for a specific style. When you've been following a brand long enough, you learn about their products and how they design and it’s easy to trust that the designer chose that fabric for a reason. Of course, you have your own personal preference but mostly when we want to feel fabric, we want to know if it’s soft, won’t pill, drapes well, etc. When choosing the right fabric for a style, these are the exact same things that the product designer is looking for too. Another thing that I like to look for, is a little video clip of the garment being worn. This is a great way to see how the fabric drapes and moves on the body!
4. It’s such a big commitment to make with the click of a button. This is another super valid concern when it comes to buying clothing online. This is especially true if you’re shopping with a brand that has ethical and sustainable production practices which makes for higher price points. Something that can be helpful to look for here is if the brand sells directly to the consumer or if it’s carried at retail shops as well. There's usually information about this near the bottom of a brands website. If a brand wholesales to other retailers who have brick and mortar shops, you have the option of going to the retail store to try on product (if it’s located close to you). Keep in mind that the retail shop might not carry the style you want. Also, when a brand wholesales to retail shop, the product cost is marked up X2 (at least) to cover the overhead and profit of the retail shop. Brands that sell directly to the consumer on their own websites are able to offer a better value because they don’t have to factor in that markup when they price their products. So although you can’t try things on, from a price standpoint, you as the consumer are benefiting when a brand sells exclusively online.
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