Put a finger down if you’ve bought clothes online only to get the wrong size, wrong color, wrong style, or worse, the wrong item. 

Yup, we’ve all been there. Whether it’s the fault of the bogus seller or you just didn’t read the description properly, buying an outfit online that doesn’t meet your expectations can be a bummer. It’s not just a waste of money — it can also be inconvenient if you’re planning to use it for an occasion. And unfortunately, we don’t always have the privilege of returning, replacing, and refunding. 

Let’s be real: nothing beats physical shopping, especially when it comes to clothing. It feels nice to go to a real retail store, browse clothes you like, take them inside a fitting room, and decide whether or not they suit your fancy. While online shopping offers a more convenient way of browsing, comparing, and purchasing items, we can all agree that it’s just not the same. You get that slight feeling of anxiety every time you receive your package, hoping that they actually fit and they look the same as the one pictured online. 

So if you’re planning to buy clothes online successfully (and you have no choice anyway because we’re trying to be stylish in the pandemic) , we recommend these tips and tricks to purchasing clothes like a pro. 

1. Don’t rely on the featured image. Read.

The men’s fashion model shown on Amazon looks great on the jacket he’s wearing. You liked the color of the jacket and how it fits the model, which you assume to be of the same built as you. Fast forward to the day the jacket was shipped and you got disappointed because it looks different from the photo shown. 

Rule number one: be cultured enough to read the description. If you rant online that you’ve received the wrong item and the retailer responds that your concerns are properly listed in the description, the joke’s on you. 

2. Check the size charts

Just because you’re a size 7 at one retailer doesn’t mean you’re the same size at another. Measure yourself carefully every time you plan to buy, then read the description to confirm the sizing chart of the store, and if they work for you. 

If you’re on an e-commerce site that has multiple brands, make sure to check the size chart on the designer’s site, not on the shop website. 

3. Lower your expectations

Understand that how a color appears on screen may not translate the same way in person. If you can contact the seller, do so and request to take an actual picture of the product if it’s on hand. You can forgive a pale yellow shirt looking more like a vivid lemon in real life, but you might want to return it if it looks more like neon green. 

4. Always read reviews from previous customers

Most online retailers have an area for comments, ratings, and reviews. Some previous customers will even send a photo of themselves wearing the item. Read them when weighing your options. 

Pay attention to comments about the size, fit, and quality of the material. Of course, you should take these online reviews lightly, because they’re often subjective. However, if there are tons of bad reviews about the particular item or seller, you might want to take a step back.

5. Understand the material or fabric

The quality of the material is just as important as its size. It doesn’t matter if the shirt you bought fits you perfectly – if the material is too thin, too thick, or too rough, it isn’t going to please. 

Since you can’t touch the fabric and can’t distinguish the texture just by looking at the photo, check the material the clothing is made of and familiarize yourself with the fabric type. Go through your wardrobe and find the pieces you love the most, as well as the pieces you hate (itchy, stuffy, and uncomfortable). Take note of their material compositions and use them as a reference point the next time you shop online. 

6. Keep a list of your favorites…and your not-so-favorite brands

If you’re using an e-commerce site with multiple brands, keep a tab of the retailers you’ve transacted with before. Follow the brands you think are consistent with their quality and buy from them again next time. Aside from making sure you constantly receive good stuff, being loyal to a brand might translate to discounts in the long run when the retailers acknowledge your patronage. 

On the other side of the coin, keep a tab of the retailers you’ve had bad experiences with. 

7. Read the fine print

Prepare for the worst: you received the wrong item and the seller already has your money. Now, what are you going to do about it? Before placing your order, make sure you read the return policy and know the ins and outs. How are you going to return the item? Will your money be refunded? If you’re going to return the item for replacement, will the process be at your expense? Understand these not-so-pretty things before putting your credit card down. 

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a savvy writer for Northern Menswear, an online streetwear fashion website for men, delivering clothing and footwear products from top UK brands. She loves sharing tips about fashion and lifestyle for trendy gents.

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