Sunday, October 20, 2013

- - Tips On How to Determine Your Size (Online) - -

Hi everyone!

I am kind of continuing from where I left off in the "Halloween Costumes" post. 

In my last post I was discussing shipping costs of certain sites and then I realised that I started talking about a bigger issue of shopping online -- sizing. So I decided to create a separate post with a few - hopefully helpful - tips for finding your size online. Now, keep in mind that for a lot of people I probably wont be revealing anything profound that will completely alter their online shopping experience. What I merely want to do is to get a few of these things out of my system, so that hopefully at least one person finds this information useful. Let's begin...

I realise that a lot of people are weary of online shopping because seeing an item online is quite different from seeing it in person. There's no denying that you can't try on the item, and you wont know its fit and and feel unless you have it in your hands. Now, I often buy clothes online because there is an incredible amount of unique pieces that I simply can't find in Toronto stores. Therefore, when it comes to me I think that the risk of ordering something unique is worth it. 


1) Measure Yourself

Whenever I talk about online shopping with someone, I'm always surprised to hear that not a lot of people measure themselves before buying clothes online. Measuring can be avoided if you're shopping on a website for a store that you have physically been into before. In that situation you already know how certain items fit and therefore you probably already know your size when it comes to quite a few items.

Almost every website that I have visited has some sort of page/pop up window to help you figure out your size. Usually, a link to this page/window can be found either on the bottom of the website or on the page of the item you're looking at (it will say something like "size info" or "size chart").

The most helpful sizing page that I have found thus far has been on the Venus website. Even though this is a site that is known for their swimwear, their sizing page applies to clothing as well. First of all, they have a diagram that highlights the three most essential parts of your body that you need to measure to get a fairly accurate idea of the size you need (bust, waist, and hip). To help you out, Venus has also included a video that demonstrates how to measure yourself.

To measure yourself, the most important tool you will need is a tape measure. I have one that I once received from ModCloth as a gift with my order (sadly, I have recently lost this tape measure...), and I have one that has only the cm on it [Need to convert cm to inches? -- google is your friend!].

While these three areas are all important -- and you should measure all three and write down on a piece of paper to have with you while you shop online -- there are basically only certain ones that are key for various items. For example:

Tops - - you need to measure mainly your: bust & waist.

Skirts - - depending on where you want your skirt to fall, you mainly need to measurements for your: waist & hips.
Pants - - hips & waist.

Pants are probably the trickiest to shop online for. I tend to avoid buying pants online unless it's from a store that I am familiar with.


2) Read Reviews

Although measuring your body gives you an idea of how you match up with the size charts, it doesn't necessarily accommodate the unique fit for all items across the board. Often you will get an item that is "TTS" -- true to size -- which simply means that a size 4 item in one store will fit the same as a size 4 item in another store. However, at other times you will encounter items that that have a generous fit, and other items that have a smaller fit.

My best advice to you in those kinds of situations is to see if a website allows for reviews (most do nowadays). [As a side note -- I'm sure most of you already look at reviews, I just want to stress this part.] Reviews of items are great because it gives you a sense of how an items fits/feels from the point of view of someone who has already received the item in question. I think that one of the best sites for reviews is ModCloth, where a customer is able to include his/her measurements along with a review. This is amazingly helpful because based on your own measurements you can see how somebody with a similar body type found the fit of a particular garment.

3) Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Keep in mind that the people that work for websites are there to help you out. Don't be shy in reaching out to customer service by calling the  provided customer service number (usually found on a "contact us" page or somewhere at the top or bottom of any page). If you're a bit shy to talk to someone on the phone (I sometimes am and I see no shame in that) certain websites do also feature a "live help" or a "chat with a stylist" buttons (or something similar), which simply allows you to open up a chat box with a customer service representative.

4-A) Other Tools - ASOS

Right now I only know about two tools that are available to you when you shop online. The first of these -- the "fit visualiser" -- can be found on ASOS. What this fit visualiser allows you to do is to match up the fit of a shirt you own with one that you are thinking of purchasing. Keep in mind that this tool (from what I understand) is available only for certain shirts on ASOS. 

To use the fit visualiser, what you have to do is measure out any shirt you own (it does not have to be from ASOS) and input the measurements. The system will then show you how the shirt you own, visually and in terms of measurements, compares to the shirt you wish to purchase.

4-B) Other Tools -

The second tool is one that I only found out about recently. Unlike the fit visualiser at ASOS, is a site that has created a robot that, after imputing your measurements for your height, bust, waist, hips, and arm length, shows you what a garment would like on your body. It's actually quite fascinating and I encourage everyone to check out the site (See how it works). The downside is that this tool is only available on a very limited amount of websites, and even then, it is only available on a limited amount of items. It's worth giving it a try anyways.

5) If All Else Fails...

At the end of the day, nothing really beats actually holding an item in your hands and being able to try it on. You can always wait for the item and see if you can make it work. Is a garment slightly big on you? Maybe try to add a belt to it. Is an item too small? Maybe - for example, if it's a button up shirt -- you can wear it undone/tied with a tank top underneath? 

In any case, do make sure to check the return policy of an online store before placing your order. There are quite a few websites that will allow you to conveniently return an item to a physical store, and sometimes you will even be able to ship an item back for free if you dislike it.

Thank you for reading & all the best with your online shopping!

No comments:

Post a Comment