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Tips for Online Shopping

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

By Allison Downs

If you’re anything like me, you’re so swamped with classes, schoolwork, and your part-time job that you feel like you barely have time to breathe. Shopping, which was once therapeutic, might now be a hassle because you just don’t have time to drive to the mall and visit all of your favorite stores. Because of this, you turn to shopping online, which seems like a pretty safe option, right? Online shopping can be wonderful, if you do it right.

I started shopping online during my first semester of college. I thought I knew what I was doing until I received the pair of jeans and some tops I ordered, and they were two sizes too small. I’m a junior now, and I’ve learned a lot about online shopping in the past two years. For those of you who don’t have time to make a trip to the mall or just want to try your hand at online shopping, here are a few tips:

1. Know your measurements.

You know how I mentioned that everything I ordered was too small when I first tried shopping online? That’s because I had no idea what my measurements were, and I didn’t even glance at the website’s sizing chart. Knowing this information is so important, even if you think you know your measurements, and especially if (like me) you range in the plus sizes. The best way to figure out your measurements is with tailor measuring tape. Take your measurements at several times over the course of a day, as your waist measurements may fluctuate as you eat, gain and lose water weight, exercise, etc. Keep track of your measurements on the note app on your phone, or try an app.

2. Pay attention to the model’s size.

Some websites, like rue21, post the model’s measurements or size, which can often give you a sense of how the garment will look on your own body. You can also get an idea of how the fabric will hang.

3. Search for coupon codes.

Let’s face it: we all love a good bargain. Many websites offer special deals when ordering online, whether it’s free shipping or 20 percent off if you sign up for the newsletter. Or you can use different websites or apps. I personally use a browser add-on called Honey, which offers multiple coupon codes for thousands of online retailers, and even offers cashback on orders.

4. Take advantage of free shipping and returns.

Make sure to read through a retailer’s shipping and returns policy before you order – if it’s free to do both, you can order more than one size of a garment and return the one that doesn’t fit!


Photo credit:

Allison Downs @ally.downs

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