Choosing the perfect size of clothes during online shopping can be stressful. Take the stress away with this useful guide to shopping online and choose the perfect fit every

As anyone who has ever lost days to scouring the shops in the pursuit of a great outfit knows, finding clothes that fit like a glove isn’t easy. When you’re trying to do the same but from home – and thus without the aid of a changing room, mirror and other sizes in ready availability – the challenge can seem all the greater.

However, there are also advantages to shopping for new attire from home. Chiefly, there is no need to battle through the crowds or feel dispirited in the harshly lit fitting room after fitting room. Secondly, at home, you can try potential new clothes on in comfort, and accessorize them with more of your wardrobe than you would be able to do in the shop. You can also adjust the lighting and simply move around more in the clothes to be really sure that you feel comfortable before you commit to a purchase. And finally, there’s the fact that you can make easy price comparisons, all while eschewing any sales pressure.

The pitfalls, as those who have bought from home on a whim know all too well, are that buying the wrong size is a common mistake. In addition, shopping online may also mean that you spend too much time glued to your computer or your phone, overwhelmed by choice.

However, if you learn the rudiments of measuring yourself, as well as identifying the best online clothing stores for you and your body type, it is can be a stress-free way to get a retail therapy hit. Even the most reluctant became online shopping converts during lockdown – a skill that once achieved can only be improved upon. This is our guide to how to shop online for clothes.

Shopping for Clothes Online and Getting the Right Fit

One of the difficulties when it comes to how to shop for clothes online is that sizes are not standard. A size 12 in one popular clothing store online can differ quite considerably from a size 12 in another, and it is tricky to know in which direction that variance might swing. And when it comes to the size labels S, M and L, the guessing game can become even more random.

Happily, Bright Side’s guide to shopping online gives really good hacks for getting a really good fit. We love the tip for measuring your waist in dollar bills (do note, £10 notes are 6.3 inches), as well as for finding your natural waistline. It also advises on the type of garments it is harder to buy online; for example, an A-line fare-fit dress only needs to fit the bust and waist, as opposed to a jacket which needs to fit at many more points. For this and more advice, click here.

Take Your Measurements On The Proper Way

Lisa Nelle was making her own clothes by the time she was ten – and not just of the loose flowing variety either, but the form-fitting kind of garments necessary for her other passion: horse-riding. If anyone knows how to take measurements properly, then, it is her. She says, ‘When taking your measurements, always use a cloth measuring tape. For the most accurate results, have someone else measure you. Also, make sure the tape measure is held snugly and firmly (not tightly) against your body and is always parallel to the floor for circumference measurements.

‘Remember to wear proper undergarments. If you wear a special support bra for riding, your measurements should be taken with that bra on.
We highly recommend measuring a properly fitted garment and comparing those measurements to the ones you take.’

Whether you want to know how to measure your shoulders or how to measure your waist and hips, this is an excellent resource. For more on taking specific body measurements, click here.

How To Measure Waist?

Knowing your waist size isn’t just the preserve of visits to the doctor for routine medical check-ups; it is also imperative if you’re going to be able to buy your clothes online, especially if you’re looking for items that really need to fit perfectly, like a pair of jeans. If you want to how to measure your waist, look no further than Wiki How, which has excellent advice for doing exactly that. As they say, ‘Your waist begins at the top of your hip bone and travels up to just below your ribcage, so it’s easily accessible with a tape measure.’

Do remove or raise your clothing for an accurate result; find your natural waistline (this is typically the smallest part of your waist); stand-up straight and breath normally (you don’t want to buy clothes you can only wear when you breathe in); And then take the reading. Perfect for anyone who wants to know how to measure your waist for jeans. For more detail, click here

Where To Measure Hips?

For advice on how to measure hips, the Boody website is a really good resource. As they point out, even the best online boutiques do not adhere to a universal sizing guideline, meaning there can be a huge margin for error when it comes to buying clothes over the internet. As they stress, ‘Each body is unique, and a comprehensive size chart can help you find a good fit for different types of underwear. But often, you need the raw numbers to make use of it.’ Its brief guide helps shoppers to make sense of getting your perfect fit, from how to find your hips (which is to say, measurements should be taken at the widest point of your hip line) to exactly how to get the most accurate reading. For more click here.

How To Measure Bust?

When was the last time you went and had your bust measured? For many of us, that is likely to have been quite some time ago, with a massive 81 percent of women wearing the wrong bra size. You could make it like The Queen and use Rigby and Peller’s legendary sizing system (its immaculately trained employees need only look at you to discern your size).

But if you prefer to take your measurements at home, you can do so quite easily, so long as you know how – and that includes where to measure your bust. For those wanting to know how to measure the bust size for a dress, Wiki How instructs, ‘Whether you’re shopping for a dress yourself, having one custom made, or sewing your own dress, you’ll need to take your bust measurement accurately to get that perfect fit. All you need is a measuring tape and the well-fitting undergarments that you plan to wear with your dress. If you’re shopping for a dress at the mall, you will just need your bust circumference. Custom dressmakers may need additional measurements, such as your ribcage and high bust measurements, as well as your bust height (the distance from your shoulder to your mid breast)’. Get the lowdown on how to take the measurement by clicking here.

Leverage The Brand’s Sizing Guide Thoroughly

As established, current sizing standards are not uniform, which can cause no end of confusion when it comes to shopping online. Many of us will cleave to brands whose sizing systems we know – and whose clothes we suit – to be sure. For all the possible variations in size, which also depend on where the clothes were made, check out Looksizes’ precis, which advice on how to read the numbers and letters that indicate size – even if, in conclusion, It writes, ‘In this case, a fairly simple skill will help you. Namely: the ability to understand the same numbers and letters that indicate the brand, as well as to correlate the size of different manufacturers. However, this technique is not a panacea, because it is rather introductory and does not take into account all the nuances of choosing the size of a brand.

‘In order not to buy what does not fit you, do not forget to check the brand's own size charts by clicking the button of our widget – ‘Determine the size’ - next to the garment you like. looks determine the exact size of clothes and shoes of the desired brand and is very easy to use.’ For more information, click here.

Find About Fabrics That Are Used For Clothes

When shopping for clothes online, it is not just the size you need to watch out for; it’s also the materials. Many of us have found ourselves undone by ordering something we imagined one way, only to discover its material is not at all what we expected. Do always check the product details; something you imagine to be cotton actually transpiring to be, say, a fine-knit jersey, can make all the difference to how you feel about a piece and whether it is appropriate for your needs. Handily, Masterclass offers a helpful rundown of some 28 different fabrics that might feature in the clothes you buy, along with their properties. Do have it on-hand next time you’re in the market to make an online purchase. For more information, check this article.

Confirm The Brand Return Policy

Sometimes, even if you’ve measured yourself perfectly and checked the materials of a garment, your purchase still may not feel or fit quite right. In that case, it pays to know the returns policy of the online store. As outlined in this New York Times article, there is a checklist of retail return policies to be clear on, including exchange only; store credit; all sales final; complete refunds; and restocking fees. For more information on all of these, do read the full article here.

By Nancy Alsop
March 2022

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