With the right preparation, online shopping for clothes can be simple, quick and easy. Ideally, it provides an opportunity to source and buy clothing that you wouldn’t normally see and to discover smaller boutiques without a large high street presence. The great benefit is that it gives you the opportunity to try the clothes on at home and to see if they work with other items you already own. The simplicity of the process however can be counter-productive, because it is so easy to click on items and to put the items in your basket, wardrobe mistakes can easily occur. Would you hand over that money if you were buying the same item in a shop in person? Is it filling a gap in your wardrobe? Does it go with other things you already wear? My advice is to be ruthless – stick to your budget and only buy if it suits your colouring and personal style.

Sign up for newsletters from your favourite stores and you’ll typically get sent offer codes for money off full price items or codes for free delivery. Be careful, though, not to be tempted to buy things that you don’t need due to the marketing. Just because it is on offer doesn’t mean that it deserves space in your wardrobe!

One of the benefits of shopping online is that you get a lot of information about the product such as garment length, fabric composition and how to care for it. Take the time to zoom in on the product to get a better look at the fabric texture or design, and read the reviews too as this will often indicate if the fabric is a heavier or lighter weight than expected from the picture. Ideally, you want to see the product photographed on a model so you can see how the garment looks when worn but bear in mind that the model’s height, body shape and colouring may be totally different from yours and this is where disappointment with ordering online can occur if you don’t have a good understanding of which styles and shapes suit you best.

An essential pre-requisite of ordering online is to have a tape measure and to take accurate body measurements to gauge which size will fit you best. Different brands use different measurements (I have clothing in sizes from Small through to Extra Large!) but the benefit of ordering online is that you can see a size chart used by that brand to help you. Most size charts will give you the body measurements that the garment is designed to fit but some will give you the size of the actual garment itself. If you are between sizes or different sizes top and bottom I would recommend ordering two sizes to try for fit. Depending on the cut of the garment and the style you want to achieve it will then be easier to see which is best when you try them on.

Check the returns policy and how to return items carefully before ordering. Some companies will charge you for returning items to them. Most will now have a system where they can collect returns parcels from your home (or you can drop off a returns parcel at a ParcelShop) so returning items couldn’t be simpler – no more excuses for keeping things because it’s too difficult to return!

You will need to have a full length mirror where you can try everything on properly and see how they work with other items in your wardrobe. Is your new purchase better than other similar items in your wardrobe or the item you are replacing? Will you get more wear out of the other clothes you own if you keep this piece? Is the colour and quality of the garment what you expected?

The philosophy of fashion is increasingly becoming more important to consumers. You can find out more about a brand’s ethics and in some case more information about their sourcing and manufacturing by visiting their website. #WhoMadeMyClothes is becoming more of an issue so check out a brand’s details on their website and contact them directly if you have further questions to ask.

Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash