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7 tips to help you decide before you buy clothing

A poster showing a picture on the top half of it. The picture is a clothes rail with a a few items of clothing hanging in shades of blue, white, beige and black. The bottom half contains text that reads: Our Stories. 7 tips to help you decide before you buy clothing.

Have you ever bought something that looked great on the mannequin, seemed to look fine on you in the shop, was your size, but you put it on at home and it doesn’t feel right? I’m sure this isn’t an unfamiliar scenario. Online shopping is great for availability and reach, but if we can end with an unflattering item of clothing bought in person, things can get a bit more complicated with items we haven’t ever seen before. So, in this week’s blog post we share 7 tips to help you decide before you buy.

Check the Sizing Guide

Although clothes are sold with the local size naming conventions (normally numbers or letters), there isn’t a universal standard that stipulates what those sizes should translate as in inches or centimetres across the bust, waist or hips. This makes shopping extremely difficult as what you class as “your size” won’t be the same across different brands. Most people then end up shopping from a brand they know has “their sizes”, which is great as you know what to expect. However, this obviously narrows options.

With online shopping now being the norm, the Sizing Guides for most brands can be found in their website. So, before you venture out or press the “BUY” button from the comfort of your home, check which size from that brand better matches your measurements and take it from there.  

What is that all about?

We all like nice looking things, but pretty doesn’t mean quality or comfort. In a shop you have the opportunity to feel the material, check the design, flip the clothes inside out, upside down. Check the care labels to understand what that item is made of. Is it easy to look after? Will it be easy to maintain?

With online shopping things are slightly different, so always check Product Descriptions and any Additional Information. This can normally be found just below the product imagery, so do take the time and scroll down to ensure you truly understand what that price is actually paying for.

Try it on and test it

Now that you have an idea of that brand’s sizes, it’s time to try on the clothes. Does that item fit properly around the shoulders, bust, waist and hips? Does it have the right length? Or does it feel like you “shrunk” or “sunk” into the fabric? Clothes are meant to be lived on, so you need to understand what happens when you move. If there’s a seat available, sit down. How does it feel? Bend over, try to put on shows or tie your laces with the garment on. Raise your arms. How easy is it? Can you breathe? Walk. If the fitting rooms is too small just step outside. There’s usually some space and mirrors outside the fitting rooms to test your clothes, so make the most of it.

The shoe combination

If possible, try on that garment or outfit with shoes similar to those you’d wear the outfit with. This will give you a better indication of what the outfit looks like in the right context.

Layer up, layer down, accessorize

Depending on what you’re buying the outfit for, you may have different pairing combinations in mind. Would that work with any jackets, coats or accessories you own? Or will you end up having to buy different shoes to match the outfit? And then a coat to match the shoes? Then a bag to match the coat? And earrings to match the bag? You know where this is going, which is why the “bigger picture” can also help you decide before you buy.

Is it you?

Remember mirrors and lighting in shops are different from a real-life setting. Online photo quality is normally enhanced to make the product more appealing. So, remember to objectively assess that item. Does it add anything to your unique style? Or have you tried it on because although it isn’t really your “cup of tea” it looks amazing on the mannequin? If that item doesn’t reflect “you”, it’s possible it will end up being just another never-been-used-item cluttering the wardrobe. Avoid unnecessary waste (and spend)!

Resist the pressure

Give yourself time. It’s better to invest in a better-quality piece that reflects you and your unique style, than to “just go for it” because you work hard and deserve a treat, regardless of what that treat is. You definitely deserve a treat, but one that will flatter you, personify you and above all that you’ll make the most of. If you’re afraid that item may no longer be available tomorrow, will it also have that short life span in your wardrobe? There’s no rush, so take your time to decide. Your money, your choice!

These tips can help get you started, but do you have any other tips to help you decide before you buy? Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear your tips. Have a nice week.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

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