Apr 19, 2016
I would say 90% of everything I buy is offline. I feel like this is not shocking to most people because online shopping is just the norm. I probably didn't shop as much online until I moved to Alaska and added two more children to my daily crew. Anchorage does have a few of my frequent shopping stops, Nordstrom, Sephora, Ulta, H&M, Target, Old Navy, and Fovever 21. But many times I just hide in my office and fill up a virtual cart. It is easier, my children are most likely sleeping, and I have gotten pretty good at it.
How is one good at online shopping? I know my retailers. And I keep a fabric measuring tape close by. Many of the places I like to shop from are Shopbop, Asos, Zara, and J Crew, all places we do not have up here, and some are strictly the online variety anyway. Large scale retailers can be a little overwhelming, especially online where there is so much to look at. This is how I break it down....
-Know your sizes! Most people may be saying, well how do I know how things will fit? Know your proportions. This goes way beyond "small", "size 2" and so on, know your exact measurements. So many retailers will tell you the measurements of the item, so you can gauge from there whether a small, medium, or large will fit. Also reviews are your BFF in virtual shopping. If 50 people out of 72 said the arms of the shirt are a little tight, I'd trust that. If you have trouble with shirts being tight in the arms, maybe that is not a good buy, no matter how cute is it, and no matter how much you want it. I know that for me Old Navy, Gap, J Crew, and Banana Republic, I am going to be sizing down. Especially in pants. European sizing can be hit or miss, Zara, H&M, and many brands on Asos. Being able to measure the item, compare it to the sizing listed for the model, and then add in the reviews, I can feel pretty confident in my sizing purchase.
-Which brings me to my next favorite thing, Google Images. If I am looking at an item, but the very tall and thin model is not really giving me a good depiction of how something will fit, I open a new tab for some images. Just google the item. In a world of street style and fashion blogging, someone is bound to have posted that item! Hopefully that will help with how you see something fitting. Like the top may not be boxy looking on the J Crew model, but the real world snapshot of it tells a different story.
-Cost per wear. This is basically my method for everything. I have no problem spending money on shoes and handbags because that is where I know I am getting my moneys worth. But when it comes to trendy pieces, I normally don't shill out too much. Cost per wear. If I can wear it a few times and it can make it through the washer and I only spent $20 on it, I'm cool with it. Just know where you are spending your money, know your fabrics, and how much you're willing to pay for something.
-Use your search terms, and filters. If you are looking for something specific, then type that in so you are not trying to click through 17 pages of distressed jeans. If you know you want a light wash cropped flare, then search for that. Then narrow it down from there, between inseam and waist size. That way you are aren't overwhelmed and just give up on the search. I am a short girl, always have been, always will be. Standing tall at 5'4 on a top knot day. So the flares with the 36 inseam are probably not my friend because I can only wear them with a ultra high heel. Back to cost per wear.....if it is limited in it's abilities it may not be for me.
-Use other search sites like, ShopStyle, and Polyvore. These sites will pull up the items you want and all the retailers that carry them. So you can find your size, and you may even find a better price. They also give you options of similar items that you might like even more. You can also "like" certain items and then wait on them until they go on sale, which you will get in the form of an email alert! That is probably one of my favorite things about these sites, because J Crew, Gap, and Banana have a sale like every other week! And Nordstrom now does the price matching, so you can get a great price on things.
I mean I know this all seems like a no brainer, online shopping is not rocket science. But I have received a lot of emails from people asking if I knew where to get a specific item, or how to find boots to match a certain top, or I want to get this shirt for my husband, so on and so forth. And truly I love those emails because well, I love to shop online, and I will take any excuse to do it. Even if it isn't for myself. Does that signal a problem? Probably....