There's no denying the excited feeling that comes with the arrival of THAT iconic monochrome bag, the bold ASOS logo emblazoned on the side. There's also no denying the deflated feeling when you tear it open to be faced with something that looks nothing like it's photo.
It's not the retailers fault and I am definitely not slamming their ecommerce teams however the biggest hardship of online shopping is that you don't really know what you're buying.
Sizing guides, product descriptions, photographs ... none of it quite pieces together what an item REALLY looks like. Professional lighting hides a multitude of sins, as does using a 6 foot tall size 8 model - those girls could look good in a potato sack!
There's a few key things I look out for when I'm shopping online and thought I'd share them with you:
1. Buy from brands you're familiar with
Sounds simple but if you haven't got time to experiment and send unsuitable items back then don't take the risk. If you're buying from a new brand you've got to expect that it might not be the quality you're looking for, or their sizing might be off, and there's nothing worse than relying on a last minute next day purchase for an event that ends up being disappointing.
2. Know when to size up, size down and when it will be JUUUST right
No one knows your body shape like you do so put that knowledge to good use when making your purchases. Make sure you read the product description to give yourself the best chance of ordering the right size by looking for details on the fit of the garment. Does it say boyfriend fit or oversized? If you are between sizes (like me) then you should be sizing down for the most flattering fit. Is the item body con? Size up. It'll never look loose if you size up but it will be more comfortable. There's nothing worse than squeezing yourself into a slightly too-small bandage dress and feeling like a strong of sausages.
3. Not all polyester is created equal
Polyester. Rayon. Acrylic. Synthetic fabrics are (usually) the basis of all cheap clothing so it's worthwhile checking the stuff you love in your current wardrobe before buying anything new. The product description always has the make up of the fabric in percentages. Sometimes it will be 100% polyester, sometimes they'll throw in a bit of acrylic for stretchiness. Check the care labels of the things in your wardrobe that you LOVE the feel of and compare that to the item you're thinking of buying. Although not all polyester is the same quality it CAN give you an idea of what you're getting yourself in for.