Myth: Shopping online is as easy as clicking a few buttons.

Truth: You do have to be careful.

There are a few people I know who can’t stand clothing shopping. One friend told me that she hates clothing shopping even worse than a root canal. Because of this, she would often shop for clothes online and get it done as quickly and easily as possible. But shopping online has become helpful even for those of us who do like shopping otherwise. And in today’s times, it’s likely your best option if you need new clothes (after you’ve shopped your wardrobe, of course).

From me, you get the truth.

There are pitfalls to shopping online. The biggest one is that you can’t try the item on before buying. You can’t see how it will make you look or how it fits. You also can’t feel it for quality.

Having said that, there are often a lot of advantages to shopping online. The biggest one is it’s much easier to find exactly what you need.

Here are some tips on how to get the best results from shopping online.

If you hear of an online vendor, go to the Better Business Bureau and check on the vendor. See what its rating is. Look at any complaints made about it. You want to shop only with vendors who will give you good quality products and good service at fair prices.

It’s a good idea to ask people you know about any online vendors. This is where social media is a great resource. You can ask about people’s experiences with the vendors and see if the vendor is worth a try. I myself tried an online vendor after a friend praised it and I’ve been very happy with my purchases.

Try to avoid any vendors who do not allow returns. One of the pitfalls of shopping online is that you cannot try on the item and see if it will work for you before purchasing. You need to be able to return the item if it doesn’t work. Most online clothing vendors will charge you for shipping if you return an item and that’s OK to me but you must be able to return the item.

This is not to say that you must boycott the vendor completely just because it doesn’t offer returns. My friend loves a dress that she bought online from a retailer that doesn’t offer returns. You can find good things in these places and I won’t tell you not to take advantage. Plus, right now, a lot of vendors who do normally allow returns are not allowing them due to the current health crisis. But to me, not allowing returns means that you have to proceed with extra caution. 

If the vendor has a paper catalog, try to get one. It’s not unusual for colors to look different in online photos than in print or in real life. You need to choose colors that flatter you. Two clothing vendors that I like put out catalogs every so often and I love looking at them even if I’m not buying anything. And I find that the colors are true to the catalogs and I’ve always gotten the colors I wanted. 

Use the size charts. I’ve never encountered a catalog or online retailer that didn’t offer a size chart for clothes. They tell you how their sizes match up with your measurements on your chest, waist, and hips. This allows you to give a good guess as to what size to order. If you’re in between sizes, go with the size that fits your largest measurement. If it doesn’t fit perfectly, you can bring the item to a tailor and have it altered to fit you perfectly.

Stick with what you know works for you. There’s never any point in buying anything that doesn’t flatter you. Most (if not all) online vendors show photos of the clothing worn by models so that you can get an idea of how the item fits and falls on the body. Go only for colors, lines, and silhouettes that make you appear healthy and active and vital.

Don’t forget about accessories. Ordering accessories like scarves and jewelry online is much easier because you don’t have to worry about fit. And they’re always cheap. Sometimes new accessories are all you need to give you great new outfits.

Be extra careful about shopping for shoes. Normally I do not recommend buying shoes online. Shoes have to fit and they can’t be altered if they don’t fit so it’s crucial to try them on before you buy. However, nowadays, shoe vendors are getting better and better at making sure you get the right size. And in today’s times, shopping online is safer.

Having said all that, be careful. Note your current shoe size and always try on your shoes once you receive them. Walk around on a clean hard floor and check the comfort level. All shoes should feel comfortable even when you walk on a hard floor.

Don’t hesitate to ask the vendor any questions. This will give you a good idea of what kind of customer service they offer. If they aren’t sweet and helpful (even if they can’t get you exactly what you want), forget about that vendor. Good customer service will do whatever they can to help.

Take advantage of coupons and promotions. There are all kinds of coupons and promotions available online. I admit that I’m not great at this because I’m not all that tech-savvy but this is where my daughter is a huge help. These coupons and promotions can often save you a lot of money.

Shopping online has its pitfalls. But you can get some terrific items at great prices. So don’t rule it out. Just do your research, stick with what works, and feel great.  

May Hashem grant a Refuah Shleimah to the sick, continued good health to those who are not sick, Parnassah to all, and may He bring us all Home very soon.

Meira E. Schneider-Atik is a wardrobe organizer, personal shopper, jewelry designer, and fashion writer/blogger and speaker. She helps women look great while saving time, effort, and money, all within tznius. And she’ll add to that with custom-designed jewelry. Read more about her ideas on her blog- She also has the youtube channel “Look your best in mitpachot” where she does headwrapping tutorials and she is available for private demonstrations. She can be reached at (718) 644-6135 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.