How to Overcome the Struggles of Online Shopping

Online shopping with a Macbook and Market Tote

Regina has had a great amount of success with online shopping. I (Meg) have been afraid to try it, plus I live in a big city so I’m not limited to an availability of stores to shop at. Regina shares why she loves shopping online and answers some of the hangups I have with it. We hope this is helpful for you! 

First, let’s look at the benefits of online shopping.

01. You have more options!

If you live in a small town, there are far more options available online than in your neighborhood!

02. Get exactly what you love and need the first time.

When you get a good handle on what your personal style is, you can be more confident in being able to choose both what you love and need. When you know your best colors, the most flattering silhouettes for your body shape, online shopping is so much easier! As you continue to discover our style, online stores can add a variety of colors and silhouettes for your to experiement with that are only a click away. Have fun with it!

03. Enjoy a more curated shopping experience.

Shopping online is a different style of shopping. If you shop for the latest trends and if you go to the store just browsing for “something I might want” then online shopping will look overwhelming to you. But if you have a consciously selected a style, a wardrobe planner for the season, and a list of what you need, online shopping is actually easier than in-store shopping.

I can open a website and simply select my colors under dresses or tops. Not only that, I can also select neckline style, sleeve length, dress silhouette, size, etc. A few quick clicks and I have pages of styles and colors perfectly selected for me. I can browse only things I am actually interested in right now instead of flipping through racks and racks to find three pieces I may take to the dressing room.

04. Make less impulse purchases.

Delayed gratification can be a good thing. Clicking “Add to Cart” and having to wait for an item to be shipped helps us make a more careful decision. Researching prices and options from my couch is also more comfortable than running from store to store.

05. Find the right colors for your personal style.

I wear vivid, saturated colors. Right now it’s a neutral season — grays, olive greens and blush pink rule the stores. I told a friend that I can’t find my best colors in stores right now.

She laughed at me and said, “Let’s go to TJ MAXX. I’ll find you something.”

Ten minutes into searching for a lemon yellow top for me, she said, “You were right. It’s not your season right now.”

I have a lot of black in my closet because I haven’t been able to find my favorite colors in stores. Here is where online shopping comes to my rescue.

Holding the Market Tote with fresh flowers a cute scarf.

The Issues Some of Us Have with Online Shopping

Issue 1. I’m the kind of person that just has to try things on.

SOLUTION: Having some detailed notes about your body measurements, fabric choices and style favorites will help you feel much more confident about buying online. Choose stores that you have shopped at in person where you know the brands and the fit of certain styles as well as the colors that you like.

Issue 2. Sizes are not consistent across all brands.

SOLUTION: Buzzfeed has a great in-depth article on how to shop online for clothing that actually fits. Take detailed measurements and keep your Fit Kit easily accessible on your phone or computer. Most clothing sellers have an easy sizing chart and Thred-up has an actual length or waist size in inches in every description, which is very helpful. Take ten minutes with a measuring tape, and you are ready to shop with confidence. It also helps to measure your favorite clothing, like that dress you love with the perfect length or the jacket with the lovely sleeves that just reach your wrists.

Issue 3. I have to feel the fabric before I buy it.

SOLUTION: Since you can’t feel the clothing you’re looking at online, it’s important to keep different types of fabrics in mind. Go through your closet and write down the fabrics and fabric blends that you like so you’ll know what to look for when you’re shopping.

A quick Fabric 101 Guide:

Cotton – A comfortable fabric that breathes well. Cool for summer. Easy care.
Wool – Good for winter. Excellent for cool weather basics.
Linen – Comfortable fabric that lasts well but needs extra care. Launder carefully.
Rayon – Do not buy 100% rayon, it does not wash well and will stretch in weird ways!
Spandex – A blended knit fabric. Stretchy, comfortable fabric with easy care.
Polyester – A synthetic fabric that is used to create blends that make cotton and other fabrics more durable.

TIP: Save and print out this simple infographic to help you as you go through your closet and make your online shopping list. We couldn’t practically put all fabrics on this list, but it should be a good guide to help you get started.

Fabric 101 for Online Shopping, via www.UrbanSouthern.com

Issue 4. I hate (HATE) dealing with returns!

SOLUTION: If you follow all the other tips, you will have few returns to deal with! You can also look for stores that offer free returns, which means they usually send a prepaid return label with your order.

Or keep a stack of bubble envelopes by your printer, so you are always prepared. No printer? Even worse, no ink? Stop by the post office while you are out, they will print a return label for a small fee. Always check return policies when shopping online, and try things on immediately. I never remove the tags until I have decided to keep it.

Issue 5. Shipping costs cause me to spend more.

SOLUTION: There’s nothing that makes us rethink a $200 purchase more than a $5.99 shipping charge. Am I right? I like to shop stores that offer free shipping.

Sign up for newsletters from the stores you frequent most and take advantage of sales and clearance items. Some stores allow you to stack coupon codes and sales. With a bit of research, you can actually spend less by shopping online. True story! It’s also much easier to research prices and compare items online than in-store.

Market Tote full of flowers and a cute scarf.

Where should I start?

Get Your Feet Wet by Shopping Online for Accessories

I know I talk about quality over quantity frequently, and this is me, bringing it up yet again! I love to create quality in my kitchen, in my closet, and in my lifestyle. Living a quality life doesn’t mean that it must cost a lot. It means that you have curated the life you want to live. You have surrounded yourself with the simple pleasures that you enjoy.

Accessories are something that will last longer than clothing, which is why these can be splurge items. Accessories are the easiest way to start supporting other makers and small businesses online, especially on Etsy.

PRO TIP: Select your accessories to fit your overall style — instead of each outfit — to get maximum use out of them. Simple and timeless accessories such as a quality leather bag (like one of ours 😉,) statement sunglasses, simple jewelry, and a nice wool hat will polish your style.

What do you think?

Do you have issues with online shopping? Do you have tips that have helped you have a successful experience? Drop a comment below and we’ll be sure to answer each one!


Photography of our Market Tote by Dani Nicole Photography

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