Screen Shot: Smart tips for online clothes shopping

While we care about how we look and what we wear--the style, cut, fabric, even the designer of our clothing or where we bought it, we would not claim to be women’s fashionistas. Far cry.

When it comes to clothes shopping, we are pragmatic. We crave quick, convenient, affordable. Nothing long and drawn out like perusing the aisles of a store we love like some people we know used to enjoy pre-COVID-19. We like in and out, akin to a fast-food restaurant. We know what we need, and we think we know what looks best on us.

However, during pandemic lockdown and not going into clothing stores for almost two years, we quite frankly let ourselves go. Daily attire was PJs and sweats, even with holes and tears in the knees. Most people saw us only from the necks up on Zoom.

Once we were vaccinated and boosted and started to emerge from our COVID-19 cocoons, that meant we had to have something presentable to wear. But we were still skittish about going into stores.

We ordered groceries, drugs and other necessities online. Why not clothing as well? Many of us discovered the ease of online clothes shopping--once we got the hang of it. Talk about more in and out.

But there’s one catch: many of our figures have changed since COVID-19. Some spent an inordinate time in the kitchen concocting foods high in carbs and putting on pounds. Or, we didn’t exercise as rigorously as we used to because who would go into a gym, even if one were open?  Others lost weight for a variety of reasons.

So, in addition to readjusting our thinking about clothing, we had to adjust our sizes, too. Here’s the solution we came up with.

We tried out shopping online. We ordered an item, it arrived, and we tried it on. Good? Great, it went into our closet. Bad? We sent it back and ordered other sizes.

Next, we maneuvered our way through choices. If we saw something we liked, we debated whether its color was accurate and its detailing. We knew there were tricks with photos in the same way food photography makes dishes look more enticing.   

Shopping online offered some unexpected bonuses, we learned in the process. Daily, our email boxes are stuffed with deals. You enter a retailer’s portal at your leisure. There is no pressure; you can take your time for there is no hustle or long waits in line. When you checkout, there’s often some type of discount. And if you don’t buy immediately, you get multiple nudges. “You left something in your in box,” several might tell. “Come back and there’s 10 percent off!” What a deal.

In the process of shifting from in store to screen, here are some other tips we picked up along the way.

  1. Technology has you flummoxed, and you hit the wrong key or order doubles of something not on purpose. Go back and redo or call for help (customer service) with a live person, not a robot. The other option is to try, try again and work it out for yourself as the wait to get a live person on the phone might take longer than UPS to deliver the item.
  2. Spend some time in your closet trying on your old clothing and worn-out shoes. It’s a start and will get you in the mood, kind of like foreplay but not as much fun.
  3. Get savvy about which designers/stores you like and have clothes and shoes that fit you best. And before you go online, know your size and what sizes are offered or available online.
  4. Learn about your friends’ favorites and whether the clothes and shoes are true to size. Talk shopping, it’s more fun for us than doing it.
  5. Have a clothing budget so you don’t overspend. It can also be addictive. We each know a few online shopaholics. Perhaps, make a list of what you need before you start so you don’t end up splurging.
  6. Don’t overprocess. Go slowly, however. Just order. If you change your mind, all you have to do is hit delete. If you’ve already pressed “buy,” accept that it can always be returned. And save those online receipts and those in the box when clothing comes.
  7. Leave items in the cart. With cookies and algorithms, your selections will stay in cyberspace and one day, you may get a surprise email about one of those items with a big discount or coupon.
  8. If you’re ordering from a store you’re not familiar with, read reviews online. This also helps avoid scams.
  9. Before you click the “buy” button, find out the store’s return policy. Also, many people buy two or three sizes and have them sent knowing that the ones that don’t fit will have to be returned.
  10. If the store you like is offering a discount online and you aren’t sure how the clothing might fit, go to the actual store, wear your mask if you’re careful about not contracting COVID-19, and try on clothes that caught your eye online. Then, and here’s a trick that Margaret picked up, tell the salesperson you’re going to go home to buy the clothes online because there’s a discount. Faster than you can say, “I’m leaving,” the salesperson will most likely match the online discount.
  11. Keep track of where you have the most luck and best deals. Margaret knows someone who makes a spreadsheet.
  12. Barbara buys the same workout pants, tops, socks, and even some shoes from certain sites in multiple colors. That sure makes it easy.

Congratulate yourself when you do. All it takes is a click of your mouse. Presto! Done.

 BTW: If you have any wonderful tips, please feel free to share them. 


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