Online shopping has become the normal way to shop, and this trend shows no possibility of slowing down. The stores that are succeeding in the current climate have focused websites which are up to date, and easy to navigate. I am here to help make your online shopping a success! See below for my top tips:

Online Shopping Parameters

Every shopping site has on the left side, or across the top, a section with parameters, or choices of what you’re searching for. If you’re browsing mindlessly then no need to set them. But if you have something definite in mind, the more specific you are with your search terms, the better your chance of finding it. You can specify style, price, color, sleeve or pant length, designer or brand and purpose. Always include the size, or sizes you’re looking for. Since there’s nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect item, and realizing it’s not available in your size.

Experiment with Different Sites

We all have our favorite online retailers, either because we’ve had luck on the site, we simply like the merchandise, or we feel comfortable with the navigation. That’s fine, but I suggest you broaden your horizons, and look at some new sites for variety.  You may or may not know of these alternatives, trust me, they’re worth checking out. Take a look at: Mango (a site from the UK with reasonably priced and trendy items); Asos (great for well-made basics and trendy pieces); The Outnet (for exclusive discounts on luxury items); and Shopbop (for an eclectic assortment of clothing and accessories at various price points).

As far as more basic shopping sites I recommend Nordstrom, which makes it very easy to shop online. I am also a fan of Bloomingdales; they always have some kind of sale. A few discount stores that have decent websites are Century 21 and H & M. I am also a fan of Talbots, (good selection of petite and plus) White House/Black Market,  and J Jill.

At this point most clothing retailers have decent websites that are easy to navigate, and will provide free shipping and returns with a small minimum purchase. Be aware that they don’t always put all items up on the website; certain designers will not appear and/or if something is low in stock they may take it off. If you like a particular designer, I suggest going directly to their website, as you will have a bigger selection, and may get a better price. ReissAlice & OlivaTahari, and Theory all have user-friendly websites.

Know Your Size

Unless you have a recent item of clothing from the brand you’re shopping online for, it’s difficult to know which size to get.  I realize a lot of us order more than one size, thinking that we’ll return the one that doesn’t fit. There’s a better way, although it takes a bit of time. Every brand on a store’s website should have a “size guide”. If you click on it, it’ll tell you the dimensions for that item in each size. Check the size guide for your usual size, and also look at one size up, and one down. As far as what to compare these dimensions to, you can either 1) measure directly from an item that you own which fits well, or 2) measure from your body according to the chart below (courtesy of Nordstrom). Choose the item in the size which is closest to your (or your perfect fitting item’s) measurements; go up a size if you’re in between. This will give you an accurate guideline on which size to order.

Buy In Outfits

Either purchase your online clothing in outfits, or try to match what you have. This is the same advice I give my clients when we’re shopping in person. Have a plan and be prepared to shop for outfits. Whether you’re shopping for a specific occasion, or simply browsing for new seasonal items, keep in mind what you’re looking for, and you can put it in the “cart”, but don’t purchase until you have something to wear it with. Nordstrom has a feature where various store stylists create pinterest type boards showing your item and what they suggest you wear it with. Check below the description of the item on the  website for this helpful feature.