Do you buy clothes online? What about shoes? Accessories? Recently my other half bought a shirt – the first time he’d ever bought clothes online. He’d always been put off by the inability to try what he was buying before clicking “pay” and assumed that it would take several over-and-back exchanges to get the right size and fit. Thankfully his first experience was smooth (thanks People Tree!) and the result is they have definitely earned a repeat customer. But it got me thinking about the barriers that people experience when it comes to online shopping. And so, for those of you who need a little nudge towards the “add to cart” button here is the first in a little series called “How To Buy Clothes Online”.
Uniformity is Boring!
How many of us are guilty of heading into the changing rooms with arms full of dresses “just to see”? How many of us know deep down when entering said changing room that the red satin dress is going to make us look like a tomato? How many of us acknowledge that Jennifer Aniston’s appearance in the very same dress had much to do with her intense gym routine and almost nothing to do with cake? Come on admit it, how many times have you tried on a bodycon dress/dungarees/jumpsuit/tunic (delete trend as applicable) just in case, miracle of miracles, this is THE ONE that magically suits you?!
I have a large ass and “childbearing” hips, making me a pear shape without the accompanying boobs all the magazines assume I also have. I don’t like my knees and I carry my excess weight on my stomach. I say this not because I have a negative body image, not because I’m seeking a barrage of “oh but you’re beautiful” comments and not because this is a cry for help. I say this because the value of my body-awareness far exceeds the cost of dozens of returned shift dresses, mini skirts and low-rise jeans. For balance: I know that I have still-pointing-the-right-way boobs, I like my arms in sleeveless tops & I prefer being curvy on the bottom end. So there you go! Good and bad.
Being honest with yourself is not the crime it’s made out to be. Being honest about our bodies is seen as self destructive and daring to say “I could never wear X” must mean we have low self esteem. “Of course you could wear X” choruses every self help book ever. Really? I could wear a lycra catsuit….with my thighs?! I mean, I guess I could….but I really shouldn’t! And you know what, that’s okay. Because a wrap dress on a size zero can’t compete with my curvy frame. We’re all different and so it makes logical sense that different type of clothes will suit each of us.
So, what I’m saying applies to both traditional shopping and when you buy clothes online – knowing yourself and what suits you is not a crime. In fact, it should be the golden rule!
Most of these tips apply to offline shopping too, but reminding ourselves of them is a great place to start before we buy clothes online.
Prepare to Buy Clothes Online
- If you haven’t already, get to know your body shape. The Joy of Clothes has some pretty comprehensive guides to body shape & the styles that suit each. Of course these are just guidelines and not hard and fast rules, but they can guide us in the right direction.
- Head to the high street and try on some different shapes and styles. You might not want to buy in those stores anymore but they can still serve as useful research centres, both for trying on different styles and checking out how the latest trends look on you.
- Ask a reliable friend to tell you a few of the things you wear that make you look good and what makes you look less-than-your-best. This can be a big ask for your friend, not to mention difficult for you to hear, so choose your partner carefully!
- Think about the clothes in your wardrobe that you wear most often and feel your best in. Are there any common themes? Do you find yourself picking up your v-neck tees more often than your round necks? Are your black jeans faded from wear but your indigo blues still look brand new? These things are not coincidences but valuable signposts to your individual style. Try the backwards hangers technique if you’re up for it.
The Wardrobe Architect
If you’re in need of some more in-depth wardrobe and style guidance check out The Wardrobe Architect, a series of posts & exercises about wardrobe planning, aimed at helping followers build a wardrobe that reflects their true selves. The whole thing is online and you can follow it at your own pace. Best of all it’s free!
More in the Series
Are there any specific topics you’d like to see covered in this series? Do you have any top tips of your own? Leave a comment below or tweet us. We love to hear your thoughts.
Image Credit: Application for online shoppers by Dressformer