Our stylist shares her top tips for shopping online for clothes, starting with measuring your heel height and determining the size of the bag that you really need.

Summer sales begin this week. However, shopping online can be frustrating. You won’t have the opportunity to try on clothes before buying them. You can see through the fabric of dresses and trousers, as well as your underwear, because they are too short. You realize that your package has been delivered and you will be sharing your lunch break with other serial returners at the post office.

It doesn’t have be this way. Here’s what I learned in nine years of searching the internet for clothes.

person holding red and white love print gift wrapper


  • Take measurements

Take a look at the model’s height in each photo. Note whether they are wearing heels or flats. This will help you determine the length of your skirts, trousers, and dresses. If you are smaller than 6 feet, a skirt that is too high above the knee for someone almost 6ft might end up at your ankles. If you are petite and looking for a pair of cropped trousers, you might find that a pair that looks calf-length is too long on you.

  • Check out the videos

Always watch the video of the model in the outfit you are interested in buying. As they walk, you’ll be able to gauge the material’s weight and quality. Asos has videos of nearly everything. You won’t want thin material floating around your legs in October.

  • Take stock

You can use the “what’s your size” function to shop at Zara. You can enter your height, weight, and preference for tighter or looser clothes. It will tell you the size of many of the items you see on the site, as well as what percentage of sales were kept and not returned.

  • Classics are your best bet

When you shop for sale items, think classic pieces rather than trendy pieces that will not age well: minimalist jackets, tailored trousers and light knitwear are great options. There is often a reason why items are on sale: buyers may be betting that certain trends will not be popular by next season.

  • Labels for laundries

Make sure you check the instructions for washing are included on the website. The 75% discount “bargain” can cost you a lot more in the long-term if you consider that it is dry clean only.


  • How high?

Measure the height of your current shoes to determine if you are able to wear them comfortably before you go online and buy heels. Although super high heels may look great for parties, they are actually completely ineffective to wear.

  • Dimensions

Although accessories may appear safe, make sure to verify their dimensions. Bags may be smaller in person than what they appear online. If they are made of stiffer leather than expected, they may not be as flexible. The most important measurement is depth. Cross-body bags often look pretty substantial on a screen, but in reality they might not have room for your keys, purse, and phone.

If you have to give them back…

  • Buy one time, buy in bulk

Many sites offer free returns. It may be more cost-effective, less irritating, and better for the environment to shop in one place. You can try everything in different sizes. You can sign up to receive prompt emails when sales begin for your favorite shops. Before you buy, make sure to read the returns policy.

  • Deliveries and returns that are better

Some returns are more irritating than others. Using Doddle makes things slightly less painful. You don’t have to do anything except drop your parcel off and they will send you a tracking receipt. They are currently working with Asos and Boohoo as well as Marks & Spencer, Warehouse, Net-a-Porter and Boden. If you don’t know the name, Google it to locate your closest branch.

A good alternative service is CollectPlus. This gives you a list with shops that deliver and collect parcels in your area. You can sign up for Asos Premier delivery service, which offers next-day delivery for just PS9.95 per year.

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