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any tips on buying clothes online? I like to try on in shops

(44 Posts)
CurlyhairedAssassin Tue 21-Jul-20 22:26:26

Cos I'm a funny shape. Skinny arms and legs, flat shapeless arse, chest like an ironing board and a mid 40s beer belly.

Now you have that picture of loveliness in your head grin, can someone tell me how to buy clothes online successfully? I hate clothes shopping at the best of times, as I don't seem to suit a lot of stuff, or it fits me funny and I end up trying on half the shop and coming away with nothing. I don't enjoy leisure shopping at all and really don't like buying online as then I have to faff about with returns.
(don't even know HOW you return stuff you've ordered online to be honest).

I don't follow fashion anymore, if I ever did, I wear the same old boring stuff to work, am literally down to one pair of jeans and need to just get a load of stuff as I haven't replaced things that have worn out.

I don't mind paying for quality if it's genuinely good quality. (been disappointed with so many things recently eg Hush joggers, just seem like cheap supermarket ones to me) I used to have a lot of Oasis stuff but that's gone now I think?

Basically can you give me some pointers so I can have a good online clothes shopping experience?! Where can I try? I keep seeing these random companies on my FB feed, never heard of them, where have they all come from??

Sorry, stream of consciousness there.....

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SirVixofVixHall Tue 21-Jul-20 22:31:13

It is hell actually. Sorry OP. I have spent this afternoon parcelling up all my returns.
In an actual shop you probably only buy a tiny percentage of the things you try on, if anything. Online I don’t get to try as many things as then I would need to spend thousands, and I still end up returning about 90% of what I buy.
I live rurally, and rarely go to a city, so there is no alternative, even without Covid.
My only tip is find a brand that fits you well, and stick with it !

Pikachubaby Tue 21-Jul-20 22:34:32

Buy the brands online that you are familiar with from the shops smile

It’s best to “get to know” brands that you can trust regarding sizing and quality

Also check it’s free delivery and free returns

TableNiner Tue 21-Jul-20 22:39:23

It is not easy if you are a funny shape. I have a tiny frame, little legs and a massive chest.

I look at the fabric as that helps determine quality and how things might fall, and at the model to see how high/low things fall on her as they normally supply the model’s height. Some shops give a length for tops which is great, you normally get length for jeans and other trousers too.

I read the reviews if there are any, although these can be a bit confusing when some people say something comes up small and others big. It’s good when the reviews ask for age as what delights a 65 year old shopping in White Stuff is probably not going to thrill me so much.

It’s normally pretty easy to send stuff back and I think it’s reasonable to order two of something for size. Check the returns process before ordering. I’ve never had an issue with returns though some people on here complain about certain shops like H&M and Esprit being slow to refund.

I sometimes use the Shopstyle app which allows you to search for ‘red top’ or whatever across a range of websites although obviously only those signed up. But there’s a good range and you can filter by size and price.

SirVixofVixHall Tue 21-Jul-20 23:59:17

I forgot refunds - there is a huge difference in how fast they are, e.g Zara very speedy to refund, Figleaves take forever.
I buy more from places that refund promptly.

LovelyWeekAway Wed 22-Jul-20 00:04:39

I like Asos
Huge variety / selection of brands
Free delivery ( I do delivery saver free next delivery 1 year for 9.99 , free returns )

LovelyWeekAway Wed 22-Jul-20 00:05:16

Asos refund within 7 days usually ✨✨

fizzpopbang123 Wed 22-Jul-20 06:59:56

Avoid the random FB companies you've never heard of. Pretty much all use fake styling photos and the real thing is a shoddy version shipped direct from China, huge return fees and a long wait for a refund, if you get one at all.

Stick to the brands you already know if possible. I find reviews good, but you have to read them all to get a balanced opinion.

I find Google is my best friend. Search for the same item sold on different sites as well as the brands own, you might get different images, even a lower price. Always, always sign up or search for a discount code and use Quidco.

This is bad advice really, but lots of places use Klarna now meaning you can try before you buy, and pause the payment if returning. But it is credit so you need to be careful.

Thedevilofsmallthings Wed 22-Jul-20 07:12:02

I agree with the others. I love online shoppping but I am strick with returning clothes that arn't perfect, so I don't keep anything I don't think I'll wear a lot.
Other than that:
Know your measurements, cross reference clothing details with anything you already own.
Stick to a few brands / shops where you've had good experiences.
Read care labels and fabric composition.
Also read reviews.
I much prefer doing this to hastily trying something on in the shop and making a quick rushed decision, then having going back to the shop to explain why I've changed my mind.

GreeboIsMySpiritAnimal Wed 22-Jul-20 07:18:56

Uniqlo is great for basics, and has a size checker on their website, where you answer some questions about your body and they recommend the size they think you'll need.

PersonaNonGarter Wed 22-Jul-20 09:11:03

I was you OP - and now I am a complete convert and haven’t used a fitting room in years.

Start out by realising it is going to cost a bit of money in returns at the beginning while you get used to it.

However, as you get to know brands and their fit on you it becomes much more likely that you only order the fit you know you like. That said, be brave and order two sizes if you are unsure. Yes, the returns are a hassle but you know you have the right size. I justify returns as being a lot less than I would pay on car parking/Starbucks/impulse buys if I were out shopping.

My other tip is to order a stack of good plastic envelopes so you are not returning things in boxes but can rewrap in tissue and just stick in the envelope.

I love love love online shopping and being able to try things on at home, not out and sweaty, with the items I would wear with them. I spend less but better. DH does grumble at the returns costs to French shops but...c’est la vie.

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 22-Jul-20 10:52:55

This is brilliant, thanks, everyone! I’ll have a look at Asos and Uniqlo. I’ve lost my way a bit with brands, not sure what’s “me” really, so that’ll take a bit of experimentation. I’ll have a root around on this board for inspiration.

Bit embarrassed to ask this, as it seems like something everyone should know, but when you have to return stuff do you have to go to the post office or does someone collect from you?

I’ll steer clear from the FB websites too!

One thing - sale items. Are there any genuine bargains or do they have stock left for a reason. I’ve never managed to find a genuine sale bargain re clothes but maybe I’m doing it wrong?

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PersonaNonGarter Wed 22-Jul-20 10:57:50

You need to go to the. Post office - or to one of the other convenience locations that some of the delivery companies use (like local Spars?).

Sale items - definitely! I was watching some jeans and they went from £125 to £35 - I know my size from that brand so I was able to buy without worry.

Online shopping is a great way to break away from high street brands and cast the net a bit wider.

DoraemonDingDong Wed 22-Jul-20 11:06:31

Just to add to the Uniqlo love here - sizing is consistent for me and the quality is excellent. Their sale is just end of season stuff usually, I've just bought an amazing dress for £7.90, couldn't believe how flattering it was, instantly knew I would keep it.

Their return via post is easy too (no initiating a return online and downloading a return label, which is what you have to do on Asos now). The order came with the invoice which you fill in and return in the parcel, but it is via Hermes so you have to find a Hermes shop (not sure they offer Hermes pick up service).

I'm a fan of Cos too, they inspire Marmite-levels of love/hate on here. Again, I find their sizing really consistent, which is useful when online shopping.

Asos, H&M and Zara offer returns via Royal Mail which is often the most convenient. Otherwise you're hunting for shops that do Hermes or Collect+ etc.

fizzpopbang123 Wed 22-Jul-20 13:53:47

Yeah make sure you check the return courier and that you have a convenient drop off near you. Otherwise you have to book a home collection then wait in for them.

Also on this, always keep the return receipt, date it if it doesn’t have one, and write what it is you returned on it so you have a record.

Thedevilofsmallthings Wed 22-Jul-20 19:06:53

Yes you can get bargains in the sales these days.

Before online shopping I rarely bought sale items because yes they were mostly in the sale for a reason such as non-standard colours or embellishments.
Sales just seem to be better online, you can usually search by price, size or colour and quickly see what's available in your instead of spending time flicking through the clothes rails in the jumble sale section of the shop.

CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 23-Jul-20 21:26:23

Thank you! I’ve ordered from Hush, Tu (didn’t know they stocked some Oasis stuff), Gap and some narrow legged walking trousers from Acai. I have guessed on the sizes of the jeans and trousers and had to Order 2 different ones. I measured myself and got a shock at my low waist to hip ratio! Waist size said I needed a 16 but then they’d be massive on the hips.

Think I need to start doing some sit ups!

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CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 23-Jul-20 23:21:05

Ok, I'm really struggling not to laugh at a lot of stuff on the H & M website. The videos are even more hilarious.

What's more, some of the reviews are unbelievably positive. Am I totally past knowing what looks good on someone or is fashion of today Emperor's New Clothes?

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CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 23-Jul-20 23:27:03

another one...

Can you imagine chic and elegant French or Italian women in these? grin

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CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 23-Jul-20 23:33:22

Ah, I had to stop looking at that website as it got too wierd. To me there are a lot of dresses on that website that look like what Grayson Perry wore a few years back.... Creepily little girl-y.....really odd for a grown woman to choose to wear. Or is it just me?

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everyonebutme Fri 24-Jul-20 07:09:17

I'm very much like you OP. Not bought any clothes for ages as I like to try things on. I'm only 5ft tall (and not that slim) so really need to see how things fit. I've always been afraid of online shopping and never liked the hassle of returning things but do like the idea of trying things on at home. Any recommendations for online stores which stock clothes for shorter ladies of a certain age (mid-50s)?

Sooverthemill Fri 24-Jul-20 07:33:38

@CurlyhairedAssassin returns: many brands offer Royal Mail so you go to PO and get proof of posting, collect + where you drop off usually at a corner shop but many do Hermes or similar collection from your house/ office. I tend now to only use those retailers who do Her es as we are shielding. Try John Lewis & ASOS because they do millions of brands and they refund very fast so I often buy Hush stuff from them as returns are simpler and you have a longer window to return than with the actual retailers. I use online reviews to guess sizing and ASOS do seem to photograph clothes in a range of body shape now for example

Sooverthemill Fri 24-Jul-20 07:35:25

@everyonebutme look at ASOS for petite, Boden for petite ( nearly all my jeans are from their petite range) and John Lewis

CurlyhairedAssassin Fri 24-Jul-20 07:54:17

I hope the sizes that don’t fit get refunded quickly as it means I’ve spent nearly double what I normally would. Hadn’t factored that in - the shock when I saw my bank balance and have hardly any money left for the rest of the month now 😩


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Thedevilofsmallthings Fri 24-Jul-20 08:00:54

They are usually pretty fast at refunds but it's much slower at the moment. Keep your proof of postage until you've received the refund.
If you think it's been too long then get in touch with them.

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