How to increase your confidence buying clothing online
Right now, everyone is shopping online, but when it comes to clothing, this can be a little nerve-wracking.
Not knowing how something is going to look, fit or feel can be a little off putting, so how do you get comfortable with shopping online for great quality clothing that is hassle free, and gives you great results?
Finding the Right Size
Finding the right size can feel like an impossible task at the best of times, and shopping online gives you the luxury of time, but not the luxury of trying things on.
Though the fashion industry tries to standardise sizes there is huge variation across brands and even between styles within the same brand. There is no one size chart that fits all situations.
Plus there are so many different sizing methodologies – UK, US, France, Italy, 123, SML to try and trying to convert these can be frustrating and confusing. I still can’t remember what the French and Italian sizes are for me!
Size charts can be confusing
Most clothing brands will provide size charts on their website, and often these charts will detail the various countries sizes, with measurements provided. But how do you relate these to the actual garment?
With any luck they will also include the actual garment measurements so you can understand the garment fit more as we describe below.
To help you out all of our designs have the garment measurements so that you can then determine if it is somewhere that you want a tight or loose fit. See the Sizing tab for our Panelled Trousers to see how we do it.
Know your key measurements
Keep your key measurements saved somewhere so you can use them when shopping online, and increase your purchase success rates.
When taking your measurements, always compare them to pieces of clothing that you know fit you well, as this will help you understand how and if something will fit.
Just remember garment measurements are normally half the circumference of the garment and when you are measuring your own body you are measuring the circumference.
Trousers, Pants & Bottoms
For me buying trousers online is one of the trickiest things to do, but if you have these 2-3 key measurements to compare with the websites garment sizes then you should be good.
What I recommend is to find your favourite trousers and measure the front rise.
The Front Rise is the seam that runs directly down the centre of your trousers, often with zip or button fly. It goes from just under the waistband to where the inner leg seams meet the front and back seams.
When you measure the front rise make sure you follow the curve with your measuring tape!
Many people measure the hip of their trousers, but it’s actually more accurate to measure your own hips, at the widest point.
Measuring your own hip means you can see if the garment will be a tight or loose fit, which all depends on your preference and style.
Just make sure you keep the measuring tape straight for this one!
This measurement doesn’t apply to elasticated waists, but if the hip and front rise measurements are good then the elasticated waist should be good too.
For waist bands that are fixed you want to make sure it’s right for you, and you can determine this by measuring your favourite trousers again.
Measure the waist band lying flat, place the front and back waist bands directly on top of each other to create a straight line (or as close as possible) then measure along the waistband.
If you use these 3 measurements accurately, you will be happy with the fit of your trousers.
Do this every time you are shopping online, and it will be easier to eliminate styles that don’t work for you.
Finding the right top online can be trickier than trousers as there are so many styles and fits to choose from, and you need to consider the fabric and how it will fit and suit your body.
When selecting a top, look at how it fits on the model, and look at what size they are - you can usually find this information on their product pages. Once you have this information, compare it to your own size and likes and with a similar top, if you own one, and this will give you an indication of how the top will look on you.
We also recommend not wearing anything too bulky when measuring.
Then compare the garment measurements with either yourself or a top you have that is similar. When measuring yourself try not to be wearing anything too bulky.
Chest or Bust
The chest or bust measurement is the most important one for tops, so it’s key to get it right.
Make sure that the measuring tape is as level as possible, and measures the widest point across your bust. This will give you an indication of how tight or loose the top is on your chest.
You could also measure a top you already have and like the fit of. Make sure you place the top on a flat surface and smooth it out as much as possible without stretching it and measure down 2.5m from the under arm seam on both sides then at this point measure across the garment.
You can then compare with the website's garment measurements.
Length is quite important as whether you want it cropped, waist, hip or something in between will vary.
Take a top you already own, and lay it flat, measuring straight from the centre back neck seam to the hem edge and compare to the garment measurements.
If the garment you are looking at has a uneven hem, like our Asymmetric Pleat Dress in Pine Green, the measurement given may be at a single point so could vary a bit.
Hem width allows you to understand how the top will fit on you. Again measure your comparison top by laying it out flat but not stretched. Measure straight along the hem edge.
One thing to bear in mind, is that garments are stitched together by skilled machinists, so individual garment measurements may vary slightly. If you have any questions about measurement points, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com and we can give you the details.
Added to these measurements also take note of the descriptive words the brands have used when describing the styles. Loose, Relaxed Fit, Fitted, A-line, Boxy.
Brands are not trying to trick you into a style so pay attention to how they describe the fit.
Technology & Data
Brands are tapping into virtual and augmented reality to help improve the experience when shopping online.
Free returns have many advantages, especially from a free collection point of view, and you shopping online can be risk free. However, it isn’t great for the environment, as it increases CO2 emissions and carbon footprint, and many fast fashion brands will send your return straight to landfill. So we definitely recommend doing your research before buying if you’re trying to be more socially conscious.
Don’t let it stop you
However, If you’ve found clothing that you will wear a lot, that is a good addition to your wardrobe and you want to support small sustainable independent designers don’t let not having tried it on stop you from making the online purchase.
If you’ve measured the garments and contacted them for any more specific questions you’ll know they will do anything they can to help. And in the worst case it can be returned – it just may not be free.