No Regrets: Your Guide to Buying Clothes Online

It's as treacherous as it is convenient. Online shopping's made life easier, but it's opened us up to buying clothes that don't meet expectations. Don't sweat it. After reading our guide to buying clothes online, you'll never have to live with an ill-fitting shirt.
Image CreditAklasu

Well, that's disappointing. Your eagerly awaited online purchase didn't live up to its hype. It happens to the best of us—but it doesn't have to. With our guide to buying clothes online, you'll always have a seamless experience at every step (and never regret a purchase).

Hang tight, grab some measuring tape and become a savvy online shopper who balances style and satisfaction. Here are seven tips for buying clothes online so they always meet your expectations.

#1. Know the Quality Brands

One of the easiest ways to buy quality clothes online is to go with a brand known for quality. Go to Suitsupply for suits. Eton Shirts for your dress shirts. And Aklasu for ties ;-)

These brands are known for quality for a reason. They cover their bases from construction to design, all the way down to the smallest details.

Develop your keen eye for the details. Read Sharp Eyes = Sophisticated Style: How to Spot High-Quality Clothes.

Know quality brands and spot quality. Done. That's all there is to it, right? Who needs a guide to buying clothes online? Hold on a second.

Even if you know quality materials, you still need to know how well the clothing fits.

#2. Learn Your Measurements

A guide to buying clothes online wouldn't be complete without a section on fit and measurements. (Actually, we have a lot of tips to share about getting the fit right.)

When you shop for tops and trousers online, you'll want to know the following measurements:

  • Arm Length - Measure from the edge of your shoulder to your wrist.
  • Chest - Measure your chest at the fullest part. Measure all around so you get the total circumference.
  • Waist - Measure where your body bends. Bend side to side so you can see where to measure.
  • Hips - Measure the fullest part of your hips. The measuring tape should be snug without digging in.
  • Inseam - Your inseam is the distance between the crotch and the end of the leg opening. Use a measuring tape to determine the length between just below your crotch and the bottom of your ankle.

Of course, knowing your measurements is just a piece of the puzzle. Next, you need to understand how the clothing will fit you.

#3. Compare Measurements with Your Best-Fitting Clothes

We all have that top that fits us how we want it to. So, other than your own measurements, it also helps to take a look at your favourites in your wardrobe.

Lay your favourite (and perfect-fitting) shirt flat and take measurements on the chest, back and sleeves. Voila! You can compare and contrast the measurements on the website you're shopping.

You have the measurements you need. But how will the piece of clothing look on you? We have tips for that, too.

#4. Get to Know the Material

Knowing how well a piece of clothing will look on you will depend on how well you know the material. It's a key piece to figuring out not just the quality, but the fit, look and texture of clothing.

It'll inform you how you will feel in it, how it will drape, and whether it'll shrink or stretch after wearing it a few times.

Unfortunately, you can't touch the fabrics online (until WonkaVision's invented). But the product information will tell you plenty, so pay attention.

Here's where it helps to compare the composition of the item of clothing to an existing piece in your wardrobe. Get to know the kinds of cotton, wool, and silks in your closet to better understand how your coveted item could fit you.

#5. A Fun Part in Our Guide to Buying Clothes Online: Looking at Photos and Videos

Another great tip in our guide to buying clothes online is to look at photos and videos. Looking at videos will give you a better idea of how the piece fits, drapes and moves. You'll even get a better sense of its colour.

If the online retailer doesn't provide videos on their website, look for the brand's Instagram. Better yet, search the brand hashtag to see how others have styled the item you're browsing. You'll develop ideas about how you might style the piece and how it can look on you.

Images and videos can swing your decision on the purchase. You can imagine how it will work for your shape and answer, "Is it right for me?"

If the answer's No, you can confidently put it in the past. But if you come away even more excited, we have another piece of advice in our guide to buying clothes online.

#6. Read Reviews

As you browse the retailer's website and social media, look for product reviews and read what customers say. Check-in on YouTube or Reddit while you're at it. You'll get valuable insight on comfort, feel, drape, quality and satisfaction.

Alright, you've read reviews, measured twice, and seen how the piece you're eyeing could look on you. Surely, it's time to throw it in the cart and click buy, right?

Not quite. There's one last thing (we promise) you'll want to check.

#7. Check the Returns Policy

Even if you've dotted your i's and crossed your t's, it's nice to have a little insurance policy if your item arrives and it doesn't look or feel right.

It's a big one. A returns policy can mean the difference between getting your money's worth (in one way or another) and getting stuck with a piece of clothing you'll never wear.

Look to make sure your item isn't a "final sale" clearance item. If it is and you don't like it, you're probably out of luck.

Some stores offer free returns, while others require you to pay for return shipping. It pays to check before you place your order!

If a brand does offer free returns, use it to your advantage. If you want a piece to be perfect, grab two different sizes and try them on at home. Once you've tried each size, send the other one back using the free return.

Alright, you're good to go! Put it in the cart and click buy! We hope you enjoy it for years to come!

Refined essentials you won’t want to return.