4 tips for making your best online clothes purchase ever

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 47 Comments

When someone tells me* I can go shopping online and send them the bill, I don’t have to think twice. No siree.  I click on to that site quicker than you can say “someone else’s credit card is going to melt”.

See, online shopping doesn’t scare me one bit.  In fact it gives me a little thrill. Oh, ok, a big bloody thrill.

There’s the secrecy factor.

(I cannot confirm or deny whether this went down in my home recently)

“So, what are you looking at, babe?” my husband inquires from the lounge, as I sit at my desk, clickety, click, clicking away.  “Oh, you know, just BROWSING,” I answer.  Which really is loaded in a hefty dose of the truth because the world of online shopping has opened up the concept of “just browsing”, hasn’t it Stylers?

I mean, cast your mind back to the not so distant past.  There was a time when you couldn’t track down the perfect pair of shoes or a handbag without a) living in a capital city; and b) wearing out the soles of your shoes looking for said perfect item in that capital city.

Now, the world is literally open for shopping all day and night long.  All you need to equip yourself with is a credit or debit card and some savvy that comes from understanding what you want from your purchase.

Tips for shopping for clothes online:

1.  Know IRL the label you’re shopping for.  This means you’ve actually tried different pieces from the label on in store so you know whether you’re a size 10 or a size 14 in that particular label.  Sizing will generally be consistent within a fashion brand or label but, as you know too well, is not consistent between labels.

2.  Use this knowledge as a reference point but don’t buy a thing without first checking the size guide.  Get out your tape measure and write down your measurements.  Match these back with the sizing guide and choose your size based on that. And if there isn’t a sizing guide, click away and head to the next online retailer.

3.  Check the retailer’s return policy.  Do they make it easy for you to return the item to them for exchange, credit or refund?  Will it cost you a motza to send it back to them?

4.  Check that the retailer has solid contact details – phone, email and street address, so that if something goes wrong or astray, you can track them down.

My online shopping mission was to search for and buy a dress from Westfield online.

It was my first time on Westfield’s online shopping portal.  And this retail giant certainly makes it easy to narrow down exactly what you’re looking for.

There were 1481 dresses for me to choose from.  Scary, hey?

Not so scary when you can narrow down your search even further:  type, price, size, store and brand. I narrowed those 1400-plus options down to 32 by opting for a day dress under $150 in size L. Easy. And from the brands that were left, Leona Edmiston leapt out at me.  Specifically this dress.

Leona Edmiston on Westfield online

Leona Edmiston Ruby Shell Shirt Dress in native green $129

What I LOVE about this dress?

It has that dress-up/dress-down versatility.  Yes, you can do heels, and tights.  You can add boots and a long-sleeve Metalicus top underneath for when it turns cooler.  Yes, you can add leggings and ballet flats. It doesn’t need ironing; can be washed in a lingerie bag in the machine and is comfortable to wear throughout the day.  It works equally in an office as in the playground over skinny jeans.

In a nutshell, it suits all my multiple wardrobe personalities.  A win, win. Another win was the speed in which my new dress arrived.  THE VERY NEXT DAY.

Leona Edmiston Westfield online

The packaging on a parcel you receive just adds to the excitement of your purchase. Leona Edmiston did not disappoint.

And out of the packaging and off the hanger, this dress itself did not disappoint either …

Nikki Parkinson tries on Leona Edmiston at Westfield online for size

Leona Edmiston Ruby Shell Shirt Dress $129, worn with Country Road scarf; wyse leggings and Sandler flats

I actually prefer wearing this dress without the belt tie.  My short torso means that the positioning of the belt and belt ties has the unfortunate effect of making my hips seem even bigger.  My solution was to loosely tie the belt at the back of the dress, which, by the way, is something I do with trench coats as well.

I’ve already worn the dress twice and I know it will be on high rotation in my wardrobe throughout autumn and into winter.

What was your last online clothing purchase?  What tips do you have for other Stylers about how to choose a garment you won’t have to return?

*Westfield online gifted me this dressI was not paid to write this post.


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Comments 47

  1. “multiple wardrobe personalities”….LOVE THAT!!!!
    actually I love this post – lovely work.

    What’s IRL stand for BTW?

    i would like to add something from bitter experience….rather than measuring my body directly (bloating, that time of month etc), I measure a garment I own that fits well & compare THAT to the potential purchase item. So if i am looking for a jacket, I measure my best fitting (as close as possible style) jacket & compare THAT to the store item)..if thats not possible (eg: I dont own any jackets or all my jackets have a totally different style to the one I am interested in), THEN I’ll resort to actual body measurements.

    PS: Not only do u have grt taste in frocks, but also shoes….I have the same pair but in the grey leopard version…it took a while for them to soften, but now they have, I love them!

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      Thanks Valerie! IRL means In Real Life. Sorry! And I really like your advice on measuring a similar garment. Sometimes our measurements could be even different at the end of the day! Love the sound of some grey leopard flats. Nice.

  2. A new comer to your site and loving it!
    Living in the country I’ve become totally addicted to online shopping. Sportsgirl, FCUK, Tony Bianco, Wittner, Country Road….just some of my favorites. A quick delivery always earns points and a good rewards scheme! Scariest thing about online shopping is hubby catching the latest purchase being delivered!

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      Ha, ha … yes, it pays to get to know your local postie! And I can so imagine how much easier online shopping makes it for you. I’ve heard good things about all of those retailers for online service.

  3. Thanks for the advice Nikki. I have recently become addicted to online shopping too! Took my little girls measurements and buy all her clothes and shoes online, because it is so much easier than dragging her around the shops. Only just started to buy for myself as my greatest fear is the items not fitting and having the inconvenience and expense of returning it. You have some great advice and fashion tips and wow thanks to you, I have now discovered the Westfield site! Your so right with so many style choices it is quite scary, I would usually get overwhelmed and end up buying nothing, but I have more of an idea now of what I’d like to wear and buy now thanks to your helpful style tips.

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  4. Well done Nikki. Judging by the response…great topic and fabulous tips! As a woman who shops online and runs an online store, (yes, declaring my hand girls!) I have the luxury of looking at it from both sides, drawing on fabulous feedback from customers as well.

    Reduce the risk of poor fit (until you get to know a label) by selecting less highly tailored styles. The one you selected is ideal Nikki, fairly simple style, so less room for error.

    If you’re not sure, ask questions! If you don’t get a prompt response, move on! It’s a great guide for the service and integrity of the operation. We can have great conversations with our girls and just love it!

    Happy online shopping!

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  5. Hi Nikki, I would love to offer your readers a 10% discount when shopping online at http://www.verily.com.au. With new Winter styles arriving and Summer stock greatly reduced this is a good time to shop.
    Enter the dicount coupon code: Nikki during the checkout procedure and the discount will apply.

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  6. I haven’t brought too much for myself online as I suck at actually buying myself anything! Thank you for your tips and advice in this piece. I just have one question though, how do you know that this item will do all of those things? I think truly that is my biggest downfall as I don’t have the confidence in knowing what to actually buy or what looks good on me?

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      Hi Fiona, I understand where you’re coming from. This is the biggest thing I teach my clients … how to have the confidence to choose clothes that fit, flatter and suit their lifestyle. My best advice would be to allocate two yours to yourself and go shopping/playing. You need to try on all sorts of things you normally wouldn’t try. Have fun with it, take photos and before long you’ll have a list of styles that suit you. A great thing whether shopping in store or online.

  7. My biggest hint is to know what shapes always looks good on you, and resist the temptation to buy shapes you KNOW never look good on you, no matter how pretty the fabric or cute it looks in the picture!
    A couple of gorgeous but sack like (on me) dresses hanging in my cupboard…

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  8. Oooo, very nice dress! I often buy online… some hits, some misses. Last purchase was….um…a top from Ezibuy I believe. The Westfield system looks excellent!

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  9. I love shopping at Birdsnest online and instore. I am lucky enough to live close by but do browse alot. Advice from Birdsnest is great as well and you can browse by body shape which is a great tool. Your dress looks great, I might even drop by Westfield.

    Julia

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  10. Great tips Nikki, as usual!!

    I’ll give you my best tip when buying shoes on Ebay…make sure they are womens, and not mens. OMG I can be so dumb sometimes. I once purchased the most GORGEOUS pair of vintage Brogues (Oxford shoes), in a size 8 1/2 on ebay, and was thrilled. Only when they arrived, they were mens shoes. It seems that I didn’t check the categories properly… Happily, these fit my husband perfectly and they look great on him. And I bought a similar pair for myself in the womens shoe section of David Jones!
    Here are 5 ways to wear Brogues, in case you have managed to buy some in your size… http://www.foxinflats.com.au/2011/02/brogue-5-ways-to-wear-oxford-shoes/

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  11. Nikki,

    I am mid-way through purchasing my new Winter Wardrobe online. Since Fussy Farm is a long way from the big smoke, online shopping is my life line!

    But I am so excited to learn about Westfields!!! Yeah!

    The first thing I did before purchasing was to read your site top to bottom! It’s been a while since I revamped my wardrobe, so I read your advice to start out with. I am so tired of wearing jeans and a t-shirt all the time. So I got a good sense of alternative looks and also what’s in style this season.

    I then threw out jumpers with holes, and shirts that had faded or lost their shape. I put a list together and started to “browse”. I have not bought anything too unique and kept to labels and sizes I have previously purchased.

    So far: Wittner black ballet flats arrived before I could even blink. Ordered some basic shirts from EziBuy. Just ordered Metalicus L/S shirt and dress (can wear these a million different ways so worth the money). I still do need one pair of jeans, and a will check out the dress you are wearing as it might be a good piece to get me out of the jeans, but still be practical for the farm.

    Thanks so much for all the tips!

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      Oh, that’s so great to hear. I grew up in a country town with no access to shopping (explains my career trajectory perhaps?!) and I can so imagine how having access to online would make a huge difference. Wittner has really impressed me. And I’ve been a big fan of Metalicus for a long time. This dress would work – you can layer underneath as well. And as I wrote below, I’ll wear it open as a long jacket with jeans.

    2. Oh FEM I’m sooo impressed! I used to be so good at doing that in my wardrobe but suck at it now (in case I’ll fit into it again….you know the story). It is on my to do list….but first I’ll just clean the shower….

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  12. I know it’s not ‘specifically’ clothing, but I LOOOOOVE shopping at Victoria’s Secret for underwear, but more surprisingly, swimwear! I bought a pair of white (yes, white!) bikinis online and they are hands down the best bikinis I own, and I find it hard to find good togs at the best of times (hello big bust!).
    They have a great returns policy and a very accurate size guide so I am confident in all my purchase from them.
    PS. frock looks great on you Nikki, loving the animal print shoes too

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  13. I’m a big fan of online shopping. Especially because I can have trouble getting nice stuff in my size. It’s a good way of avoiding snotty shop assistants and their pointed looks at my bum! I am tickled pink that Country Road have an online store and now Alannah Hill too! Yippee!

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  14. Your tips are excellent and I will use them. I tend to be scared of online shopping and want a store nearby so that I can easily return the item. But, I think with your suggestions, I might be a braver person. I also really like your outfit and might just use it for an inspiration post!! I am really enjoying your site!!

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