Feb 19 2008

What shopping do you do online?

As I was telling you about some deals at Sears.com, Joanna asked this question in the comments:

What luck have you had buying clothes online? I’ve hesitated to do it, because I can’t imagine trying them on to see how they feel & fit & what the material’s like, etc. Has that not been a problem?

I really like shopping for clothes online. I get worn out if I spend an hour or two at the mall. I hate trying on shirt after shirt or the like, just trying to find something that will fit my body and my budget. I end up tired and frustrated.

I enjoy using online coupons and taking advantage of online-only sales. I appreciate the convenience of online shopping.

So far, I’ve been lucky. Most of the things I’ve bought, I’ve liked.

Here’s what I do:

  • I consult the individual site’s sizing chart to find my size, according to those measurements
  • I check the shipping rate to see if it’s worthwhile
  • I check the return/exchange policy. If it seems like a hassle, I won’t bother. I like buying from online stores that also have a brick & mortar storefront. If my Sears purchases don’t fit, I can return them to the mall.
  • I only buy from reputable companies. I realize that’s ambiguous, but I do my best to judge the store’s integrity from what I know about them and online reviews.

I’ve had great luck with shirts, shorts, cropped pants, skirts, hats (duh, lol) gloves & scarves), and underoos.

There are a few clothes that I won’t buy online, however.

  • Pants. For me, it’s hard to find pants that fit right. I typically have to go to a store and try on a bunch of pair, in the case of pants.
  • Swimsuits. I’m going to have to try on swimsuits this season to find the right one for me. I’m looking for a style that I haven’t tried before, and I’m just going to need to try a bunch on.
  • Most shoes. Slippers, sure. But feet are important. If your shoes don’t fit, your feet will hurt. Then your back will hurt. Then you’ll feel awful. So, I like to try on shoes before I buy them. If you’ve found a shoe that fits wonderfully, consider trying A’s strategy of buying in bulk online.

Besides clothes, I like to acquire books online (hello, Amazon and Paperbackswap) and electronics.

What do you like to buy online? What do you avoid?

More on this topic from the blogosphere:

Five tips for online shopping success from the Budget Fashionista, the online shopper’s toolkit from Christian PF,  and the anatomy of a great deal by Kyle at Rather Be Shopping.

12 Responses to “What shopping do you do online?”

  1. I love designer jeans. LOVE them. Nothing fits better, lasts longer, or looks more flattering. But, I can’t drop $150+ everytime I want a new pair. So, occasionally, I hit a designer boutique, grab an armload of designer jeans and try them all on. I write down the brands, sizes, and styles of the ones I like and stick them in a folder at home. When I’m in need of a new pair of jeans, I search eBay for one of those pairs. I don’t always buy a pair that I’ve tried on first — but I try to stick with sure things. I’ve spent maybe $100 for $1000 worth of denim. I’m still wearing the first pair I bought 6 years later.

  2. I have a lot of success when I buy online. I find great sales through Target, Old Navy, and other stores. I mainly just shop clearance (this is true for shopping in stores, too) and sales. I get a lot of great basics and some unique pieces too.
    For shoes, you should try Zappos.com. From what I can tell, their prices are the same as in store, but they have a wider selection of styles, colors, and sizes. They also have free overnight shipping and returns (for 365 days after purchase!), so it’s easy to return. I found a pair on the site I wanted, researched and found it in a nearby brick and mortar store, tried it on, and then got the color I wanted (that wasn’t in store) online. It was a little cheaper than the brand’s brick and mortar store, too.

  3. I only buy books and scrapbook stuff online. Clothes I simply have to try on. I have bought shoes though, but with the zappos place just down the road I’d rather try them on to! After adding the s/h charges I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a “deal” on clothes online. With books, I order used mostly. If new I wait till I have $25 for the free shipping at amazon.

  4. I buy almost all of my kids’ clothes online. I also buy books, electronics….pretty much everything except for clothes for me and groceries. And I’d buy groceries online if I could get a great deal! LOL

    I have really long limbs, so I always fear the sleeves and legs of clothes will be too short. However, sometimes I do buy clothes online if there’s a local store where I can exchange or return the item if it doesn’t fit right.

  5. For the most part I agree, except for shoes. Most shoe sites have free shipping and free return shipping and you can find great deals, especially off season!

    I also like shopittome.com. You can select your preferences (brand, sizes, etc.) and they email you as online stuff gets marked down. I’ve gotten some great Gap deals this way.

  6. I love buying clothes online! You are right, though, you’ve gotta to check the return policies to make sure that you are getting a deal.

    I highly recommend Land’s End for swimsuits online. Love their suits!

    Also, Aerosoles is great for buying shoes online. I’ve never had a problem with returns there.

  7. I do a LOT of shopping online. We live in a rural area…over an hour to the nearest Walmart…over 3 hours to the nearest mall/target/virtually anything else…

    I wear plus sizes, and have had really good luck with JCPenney, Old Navy, and Land’s End. I haven’t yet bought shoes online, but when hubby needs new work shoes (now that he’s found a style he likes) I probably will go for it.

    I buy groceries occasionally from Amazon. Use paperbackswap all the time. I’ve purchased cloth diapers (new and gently used) off the net. I’ve bought sheets, kitchen appliances…I even bought a changing table and armiore off of JCPenney clearance priced, with free shipping to boot.

    If you are near stores, it probably takes a similar amount of time and effort to bargain hunt in stores vs. online.

    Since we don’t get to retail stores that often (other than locally owned, which we support when we can afford it) searching for deals on the net is the best we can do!

  8. I buy quite a bit of my clothes online. But for guys I think it easier. I shop at stores where I already know what size I wear and so it makes online shopping easy. Since I shop a lot at Old Navy, I know that the XL shirt and the 34×34 cargo pants are going ot fit, their sizes stay pretty consistent from style to style so I don’t need to try them on first.

    Oh…and thanks for the mention Kacie!!

  9. mmm, books. I certainly don’t need any more unless we turn an entire room into a library, but I can’t help myself!! I just discovered a neat trick. I got a ton of Target giftcards for Christmas, and you can use them online. Better yet, you can order books from Target and they ship from Amazon!! It looks like you can get any book Amazon sells through Target’s website, for the Amazon price, and use a Target giftcard.

    Another reason this might be nice: ebates gives cash back on Target purchases, but not Amazon purchases. I don’t know if they give cash back when you use a gift card, though.

  10. I’ll echo Kyle’s comments about being a male. I know what fits at the casual stores (Old Navy, Express, etc) so if there’s a sale on things that I CAN buy online, I’ll usually scoop it up.

    Last year when I entered the ‘real’ world, I paid a local tailor $5 bucks to do a complete measurement of my body. So now when I need new dress shirts or work clothes, I have my chart of measurements and order away. Saves a bundle of dress shirts, suits and slacks.

  11. Great advice Kacie. I’m not a big clothes shopper to begin with…I love my comfy sweatshirts and jeans for the most part. I pretty much avoid buying pants and shoes online, unless there’s a rock-bottom deal. I recall getting a great pair of suede mules from LL Bean a few years ago for almost nothing, since you slip those on, sizing wasn’t much of an issue. I have a hard time staying away from PJ’s when I can get a great deal…. since I always buy medium and they’re roomy to begin with, I find that sizing is no big deal with PJ’s :)

  12. I buy books, magazines, toys, baby stuff, and electronics online. Mostly from Amazon.com.

    I find I get great deals from using a site called jangle.net which shows Amazon’s best buys.

    With free super saver shipping, I’ve saved a LOT of money.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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