Although you can’t finger the fabric or try on the item, the payoff in convenience and an almost unlimited selection may make you a convert once you master the basics of buying clothes online.
- Ask a friend, a tailor or a clothing store salesperson to help you measure your chest, waist, hips, arm length and inseam (the distance from your crotch to where you want the hem of your pants to fall). Another way to get your inseam is to measure a pair of pants that fit perfectly.
- Look for sites that provide you with lots of information about their clothes via high-quality photos and detailed descriptions, dimensions and sizing information.
- Check out one of the coolest aspects of buying online: virtual model technology at sites like MyVirtualModel.com. You can see clothes you’re interested in on a generic model or on one that you customize with your weight, height and body shape, so you can virtually try before you buy.
- Find jeans that were literally made for you. Sites like IC3D.com, LandsEnd.com and AmericanFitClothing.com give you options to design your own pants, from $54 to $125. Customize lengths, colors, waistlines, leg styles and more.
- Contact customer service by phone or e-mail with any questions not addressed by the site’s frequently asked questions (FAQ) area. Representatives often have additional notes about the fit or care of items. Some sites let you converse with customer service reps by typing in questions and receiving instant answers.
- Buy several items at the same time to avoid paying individual shipping charges. Look for retailers that offer free shipping when you spend a certain amount.
- Understand the return policy. Some online retailers let you return clothes to their local store, which saves you shipping charges. Be sure to bring your shipping invoice. Some stores provide a prepaid shipping label for returns, which reduces the hassle of returns. Many stores don’t charge additional shipping when exchanging an item for a different size. See How to Make Returns.
- Read the fine print before you click the button to finalize your order. Reputable retailers have secure sites to keep your credit card and personal information safe and private, but you may have to check a specific box to prevent your name from being sold to other mailing lists or to avoid receiving additional catalogs.