How to Master the Art of On-Line Shopping

December 2, 2010

A large percentage of women hate clothes shopping.  I do not say this lightly or simply to get your attention.  Nope…I hear these words from women day after day.

While there are lots of reasons this is true for so many women, there is often a common denominator among these women in terms of how they deal with it.

That is…women who hate to shop often resort to on-line or catalogue shopping. Their guiding philosophy is that the less they actually have to step foot in a store the better.

Now, for those of you who are thinking, well, isn’t on-line shopping fun and can’t you save a lot of money finding deals?  Well, maybe…

Ask any woman who shops on-line because she is trying to avoid stores and chances are really good that she’s not perusing sites like, or  She’s not looking for the latest and greatest.  She’s looking for familiar, safe, reliable, and easy.  Generally speaking, she sticks to the basic (e.g., Talbots, Jjill and Landsend).

So, for all you budding fashionistas and women who find shopping relaxing and fun, this article will feel alien and perplexing.  For the rest of you who want to maximize your shopping success rate on-line, let’s take a look at how to do that.

Let me first say one thing.  If you are shopping on-line simply to avoid going into the stores and regularly find yourself settling for “not horrible” just to get it over with, chances are really good you’ll never have a wardrobe or personal style you can delight in.

I’m so sorry to say that, but it’s true.  You’ll keep getting the same unsatisfying (or passable) results over and over.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Really!

As one woman who I’ve been working with over time recently said to me, “I shop less and am more successful.” If you want to learn how to do that, too, fill out my I Need Help form and we can set up a time to talk.

How to Master the Art of On-Line Shopping

  • Find 3-4 Designers You LOVE. This is important.  I am not talking about clothes you like or that “fit you” but clothes that you love.  These are the stores/designers you want to follow.  I don’t care if it’s Talbots, Eileen Fisher or Armani.  What’s important is that you feel great when you wear their clothes.
  • Know Your Measurements. Women’s clothing sizes are far from standardized, so if you know your bust, hip, waist, and in-seam measurement, it will improve your success rate.  And, when in doubt, buy more than one size and return the one that doesn’t work.  It will save you the effort of exchanging it and can actually work out better financially (except for shoes where they often have free shipping and free returns to offset that problem).
  • Keep Your Lifestyle And Personality In Mind. Websites and catalogues are created to make the clothes look super appealing.  The models stand a certain way, the clothes are adjusted so they photograph well, and the ultimate goal is to get you to buy whatever they are selling.  Always keep that in mind and respond accordingly.  Use the enlarge feature most store websites have so you can see the clothing at closer range.  Look at different views, if possible, and be discerning.
  • Stay Focused. How many times have you been seduced by an offer such as “spend $100 and get free shipping” only to find out that the things you want only amount to $76.  So, what do you do?  You find something that’s “not horrible” to make up the other $24 so you can save $9 on shipping!  Think about it!  Does that make sense? (Trust me, I know because I’ve done this myself!)
  • Know the Return Policy (the Store’s and Yours).  Do you have any idea how many times I’ve been in someone’s closet helping them decide what to keep and what not to, only to find things that they have purchased on-line but never got around to returning?  Yikes!  Sometimes having the option of returning the purchase to the store rather than spending the money or energy to pack it up and go to the post office makes it more appealing.  Be honest with yourself about your return policy.  Will you do it…before it expires?!
  • Use Customer Service Liberally. Do you have a question about the garment or the store’s policies that is not answered on-line?  Then, place a quick call (or some stores have instant on-line reps) to customer service and find out.  It could save you time and money in the long run.

All of this is in addition, of course, to knowing what colors look good on you, the proper lengths to balance your body and understanding your inner essence and lifestyle needs.  On-line shopping can be fruitful as long as your long-term motivation is to create a wardrobe and personal style you love and not just to “clothe” your body.

The bottom line…never, ever settle for anything less than fabulous! (I know some of you are rolling your eyes, but “settling” will only leave you with an uninspired wardrobe that makes you feel frustrated, overwhelmed or both, and that’s never the ultimate goal!)

Help is Easily Available: Get “Who Taught You How To Dress?” which gives you unlimited access to my input by way of our exclusive on-line fashion discussion group.  Then, the next time you do your on-line (or in store) shopping, you can check out your purchases with me before making a final decision.  How cool is that!  And, the program is on special for $192.95 (reg. $227) through the holidays.  Just use coupon code HOLIDAY2010.

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