What I Look for When I Shop Online: 9 Tips for Women Over 50
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
I don’t like malls. The salesgirls are young, thin, and snippy. What I do love is shopping online. It’s a bit trickier than going into a store and trying things on, but it allows me to shop fashion sites in London, Paris, Sydney, Los Angeles, New York, and all over the world. So, here’s what to look for when shopping online.
Well, there are no easy answers. It can be difficult to guess the quality of the item, the weight of the fabric, the size you should buy, and all of those other tricky things, but I think the benefits outweigh the difficulties. So, here are some of the steps I go through, as I add items to my wish list or shopping cart (where I can edit out the losers):
1. What Size? I don’t always start with size, but it is absolutely the right place to begin if you know you’re always a plus size… because you will need a specialty site or a special-sizes department. However, whether you’re regular or plus sized, it doesn’t always help to know what size you “normally” wear.
If you have experience with a brand, you probably have about an 80% chance of ordering the right size. Most of the time, all you can do is read the reviews and hope for the best. For example, I know I’m generally an XL to 1X… somewhere around a size 10/12 to 14/16… however, with some brands I can wear a medium or a large, and so I browse everywhere. (You should look “up a size” and “down a size”, too.)
My best advice is to buy 2 (or more) sizes whenever you’ve found something you really love or need, especially if it’s on sale.
Online clothing sites understand that shopping via the internet is a bit of a guessing game. That’s why they send a prepaid, sticky label in your package. (It would be nice if women’s clothing had standardized sizes, but they don’t.)
2. What Are Your Best Colors? I’ve never met you, so I don’t know your best colors, but here’s what I do. When I’m browsing on a site that looks promising, one of the first things I look for is color. I don’t use the search box, unless I’m looking for something specific like black leggings. I like to just scroll around a website until a great color catches my eye.
This seems to be the easiest way to take in a large selection at a website. If you know your best colors, and you should, you can quickly determine if a website has anything you want or if you should move on to another site.
Well, before heading off, I often check out the sales department. I’m a little more lenient with colors when searching for deals, because I know I can wear a scarf in a favorite jewel tone (or some other vibrant hue) next to my face. Note: I never buy something cheap in a color I know will make me look like a zombie.
At this point, you might have a few things in the shopping cart. Now it’s time to “try the clothes on” in your imaginary dressing room.
3. What’s Your Best Neckline? I hope you know what necklines are your best, because when you’re over 40, one of the most important things is checking out what a neckline will do to your face and your body. (If you’re top heavy like me, some of your best necklines may be deep scoop necks and V-necks.)
As you edit your potential purchases, you may end up deleting everything or you may decide you can live with that stupid crew neck if you can doctor it up with layers of necklaces or ropes of faux pearls.
Note: Before you go online for any serious shopping, pay attention to the things you wear over and over. Do you mostly wear button-up shirts, boat-necked tops, scoop-necked dresses, traditional T-shirts… or what? Why bother with things you know you’re not really going to wear?
4. What’s Your Best Length? You need to learn what length dresses, tops, and trousers look best on your frame. With that in mind, take another look at your selections. And, make sure those tops will cover your fat booty… if you have one.
5. Is it Really Your Style? Do you like things that are stretchy and boho, or do you like things that are tailored, made of fabric that will hold you in? In my opinion, most women can narrow down their “personal style” to either bohemian or classic.
6. Do You Already Have One? Is the item in the cart similar to something you already have in your closet… that you wear all the time? It may sound counterintuitive, but if you already own something similar -- that you love – you should consider buying another version of it.
7. Do You Have Anything That Goes With It? If you’re looking at separates, do you own a top or bottom that will complete the outfit? Will you need to buy a weird bra or some platform shoes? If the item is extraordinary, it may be worth buying the necessary goodies to go with it, but think it through.
8. Where Will You Wear It? If you’re looking at “occasion wear” and you don’t have a prom or a cruise-formal night on your calendar, you might want to wait. What are the odds that you’ll be the exact same weight next year?
9. What’s the Price? If the price causes you to default on your mortgage, you don’t need that item... but, why don’t I have this as the first question? Well, I believe you should look at everything in every price range. I am confident you won’t buy something you can’t afford… and, it doesn’t cost anything to look.
Oh, there’s one last question you should ask yourself before buying any item of clothing online: Does it look like something worn by the Golden Girls? If it does, it will make you look like a tired old granny. Move on.
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Photo Credits (Main Photo):
- Top row: Red color block dress - East. Blue and white dress - Dunnes. Orange plus size top - Evans. Tropical trousers - River Island. Blue plus size top - Evans. Black leggings - LaRedoute. Printed top - Monsoon. Blue plus sized dress - Curvissa. Printed maxi skirt - Lipsy. Printed jeans - Marisota.
- Bottom row: Coral beach maxi dress - Accessorize. Floral maxi dress - M&Co. Boho print maxi dress - Marisota. Floral plus size cocktail dress - Lipstick Boutique. Fuchsia lace plus size dress - Lipstick Boutique. Blue maxi dress - East. Black feather print dress Phase Eight. Plus size rose print maxi dress - Simply Be. Tribal print maxi dress - Very.
Other Photo Credits:
Look at Larger and Smaller Sizes: Plus size shift - Paper Dolls. Plus size floral jumpsuit - Pink Clove. Red pants outfit Sonia by Sonial Rykiel. Yellow silk jacket by Sass & Bide.
What's Your Best Neckline? Blouse with bell sleeves - Baum und Pferdgarten.
Is it Your Style? Both plus size outfits by Asos Curve.
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What do you think of this article? Use this link to find larger pics of clothing for women over 50 (on Pinterest). Leave a comment at the bottom of the page if you feel like it. It won't show up until I have time to approve it.