Thursday, 10 September 2015

5 Tips for Plus Size Shopping Online

It's no secret that plus size shopping online can be pretty challenging, with even basic items being hard to track down, so how can you make sure you end up with a wardrobe you love? As someone who's been shopping in plus sizes since my teens, I wanted to share some of my top tips with you today.

1 // Resist impulse purchases

We all know that plus size clothing options are often limited, which can mean it's tempting to click "add to basket" the second you see something that catches your eye, but in doing so you're setting yourself up for regret. 

Unless there's a serious risk of you missing out if you don't buy it now, I generally think it's best to give yourself at least 24 hours to consider your purchase. I tend to keep items I'm considering open in tabs on my browser so I can regularly revisit them & see how I feel. I also try to think about when I would wear the item & what items from my wardrobe I would pair it with - if you're struggling to answer those questions, it's probably best to let it go.

I also find it can help to have a list of people who's style you admire. Then, when you're considering buying an item, you can ask yourself "Would any of these people wear this?" If the answer is no, I'd recommend leaving it behind unless it's something that you love because it's uniquely you.

2 // Shop the sales, but buy wardrobe staples

Sales at plus size retailers can be tragic - with all the stylish & fashion-forward items gone, what's left often resembles the jumble sale from hell, but I promise there are gems to be found. 

My strategy with sales is this: go in with a clear goal in mind, & don't be tempted to browse. 

Inevitably, if I end up browsing a sale, I'll buy items that I wouldn't normally have considered simply because of the discount. Then, when they arrive, I'll congratulate myself on getting a great deal & store them away at the back of my wardrobe where they'll remain unworn. To avoid this, I primarily use sales to buy wardrobe staples, things like tights, plain tops & jeans.

Case in point, in the last ASOS sale I purchased three pairs of their Curve Ridley Jeans (in black, a light denim, & a tan shade) each for between £15-20 when they normally retail for around £30. I did this because Ridley jeans are my favourites, & I could guarantee I'd get wear out of them, making the £10-15 saving per pair a genuinely good deal.

3 // Don't discount discount brands

Similar to sales, a lot of people refuse to shop cheaper brands because they think the clothes won't be stylish & the quality won't be as good, but personally, I'm a big fan of shopping at discount stores. Although the quality can be hit or miss, amongst the questionable rhinestone tops & cargo pants there are some really affordable, stylish items.  

Both the blazer on the left & the duster jacket on the right are from George at ASDA, & I think they each cost around £15, which is pretty sweet considering you could easily pay £40 for something similar from ASOS.

4 // Read reviews

Whether the sizing has been off or the fabric hasn't looked the same as it did in the pictures, we've all bought items online that have been a disappointment when they arrived, & one of the easiest ways to avoid this is by reading reviews.

Whether it's on the retailers website, on a blog or just in an Instagram selfie, I rarely buy clothes any more without having first checked out some kind of review, & I'd definitely recommend it, particularly for expensive purchases or when returning an item could be an issue.

Incidentally, this is also one of the reasons that I think plus size bloggers are so important - without them, plus size women would be forced to buy clothes without ever seeing them on a body that looks like theirs, which makes it pretty fucking difficult.

5 // If all else fails, return it

Free & easy returns are one of the miracles of the modern age, but even so it can be tempting to keep items you're unsure about on the off-chance they'll work in the future. Stop it. Even if you do end up making that dress work eventually, it's unlikely it's ever going to be your favourite, so why keep it around?

As soon as your new clothes arrive, try them on. Give them the best chance of winning you over by trying them on as you would wear them - good underwear, tights, nice shoes, whatever - but if it doesn't work, accept it & move on. Pack the item back up & arrange the return ASAP - waiting is fatal as chances are you'll forget until it's too late.

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