7 tips for buying clothes online

Aching for some new threads? Here are seven tips to consider before you hit the online shopping strips.

1. Size up

Stop. Before you buy any clothes online, you’ll need to measure yourself. Ideally, you’d find a professional tailor to measure you up, as it can be tricky to get an accurate sizing when measuring yourself and the difference of a couple of inches can make or break an outfit. However, if you’re strapped for time, you can also ask a friend to help using this simple guide.

Once you have your measurements, you’re ready to shop. Always compare your measurements with store size guides, and read the comments and feedback for more information on variations. It’s also helpful to measure up clothes you love and which fit you well. What are the measurements of your favourite jacket? Replicate them when you’re buying your new bomber jacket online. And remember: your body will change over time and with the seasons, so consider getting yourself re-measured every six months.

2. Make an email address for e-newsletters

Love a certain brand of clothing? Get on their mailing list. E-newsletters are one of the best ways to snap up a good deal – and find out about the hottest new styles. However it’s a good idea to make a new email address for all of your updates, so your personal email account isn’t inundated with designer fashion.

3. Use freight forwarding

Ever spent hours shopping online, only to be foiled at the last moment because your dream designer sunglasses can’t be shipped outside the USA? Well, perhaps it’s time to consider freight forwarding. These companies receive parcels on your behalf, within the country of origin, and then post them on to you. They charge a small fee and it takes a little longer than normal to ship, but it’s well worth it. myUS is a freight forwarding service for US goods.

4. Get on Instagram for inspiration

Instagram and Pinterest are two of the best places to find the latest fashions. These image-driven social media platforms are great places to discover upcoming designers, follow your favourite brands and stores, and find out about sales as they’re announced.

5. Carefully read the returns policy

When buying online, clothing will always be a risky purchase – even after you’ve carefully checked the sizing's – and the more you spend, the riskier it is. So make sure you read the returns policy carefully, checking whether they accept returns, any conditions around returns, how long you have before returning things, and who pays for shipping costs.

6. Free shipping?

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but thankfully there’ free shipping. When you live in far-flung places like Australia and New Zealand, free and cheap overseas shipping can make a big difference to your budget. Always carefully check the shipping costs before committing to buy, as it can put a serious dent in your budget – or give you a little extra to play with.

7. Hunt for coupons

For those willing to hunt them down, coupons offer incredible savings for the savvy shopper. Sites like Ozdiscount and RetailMeNot.com offer a raft of specials, so before you purchase check if there’s a special on the brand you’re keen on.

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