Online Shopping Tips

Photography by: Carmen Evans

 This is a blog about online shopping and yet, have we really discussed the nitty gritty of purchasing off the world wide web?

First things first, I think shopping is a really personal thing. I prefer to shop online. I joke with Paul that I think stores should have little signs that you can put on your shirt when you walk in:

“In the mood to talk.”

“Wanting to avoid conversation like it is the plague.”

You see, we all shop for different reasons. Now that I’m a mom, shopping for me is my escape time. It’s my “me time” and that’s a huge reason I shop online. Sweat pants, ice cream and my laptop, what beats that?! However, other times you need help from a friendly sales associate or you hit it off with the girl testing your foundation and you want to talk her ear off all day. How are sales associates supposed to know?! I feel for them! This is why we need the signs, people. This is why we need the signs.

But I digress…

Now that we know which method of shopping I prefer, I thought I’d share a few tricks for shopping online. In my [almost 4] years of blogging, I’ve come to learn that online shopping is extremely intimidating for people.

What if it doesn’t fit? How will I return it? What if the material is poorly made?

Here are a few tips that I hope alleviate your worries!

Tips for Online Shopping:

  • Use a Tape Measure: This seems cliché, but you’ve got to whip out your tape measure. Your sizing guides are there for a reason and can be extremely accurate in helping you decide what size you need! Here’s an example from Revolve’s site which also helps you understand if it is foreign sizing as well!


  • Watch For Foreign Sizing: Lots of my favorite designers are Australian or European, so you want to make sure you watch for that. Nordstrom does a fantastic job with Topshop because they will say what size to get if you are basing off of US sizing. In my personal experience, the brands I need to size up in are French Connection, Topshop & ASOS. Now really pay attention on ASOS’ site because some is American sizing and some is UK. You will see when you go to click your size, but that’s just a detail to watch for!


  • Keep a Brand List: Now to bounce off of sizing, I also want to note that sizing is all dependent upon your body type. What I size up in, you may size down in and vice versa. Keep a list in your phone of how specific brands fit you so that you can easily remember when shopping online. For example, I think it’s safe to say just about everyone sizes down in Free People because their bohemian sizing can be quite baggy.


  • Use Fit Predictor: One of my favorite reasons I shop at Revolve is their fit predictor. Say you like this dress featured here and you see that it is Australian sizing [which they have ever so sweetly converted for you], you are probably still a little worried! Click the Fit Predictor button and you can put in your size of a different brand and they will calculate it for you. The fit predictor has never messed up when I have used it!


  • Cheaper in Store, Pricier online: This probably goes against the grain, but I tend to buy pricier items online and save my budget deals for in store! The reason I do so is because an $80 top at one store is probably going to be a great $80 top at another store. There isn’t going to be much to complain about in terms of quality and craftsmanship. However, a $20 top can be a different story. For example, I love the Express Barcelona Camis! They are by far my favorite summer tanks and are a great price point. When on sale they can be roughly $20 which can sometimes mean gold and can sometimes mean a Forever 21 top that will dismantle after two meals. I’m far more tempted to buy a $100 top on sale online as opposed to a top on sale for $10. I like to feel more inexpensive items and try them on in store to see if they will fit or hug in awkward spaces.


  • Compare Measurements to What You Already Own: If you are purchasing a bag online, be sure to check the measurements and compare it to handbags you already own. Gilt is a great flash sale site because they do share what a bag looks like while being carried [see here]. However, many retailers don’t take this extra step so you want to make sure you know how the size will be on your body.


  • Watch Youtube Reviews, be Weary of Makeup: I LOVE Youtube and beauty gurus. I love to take a bath and just watch a channel and de-stress for 15 minutes. But, be very weary of how makeup applies on Youtube. Youtubers have $6,000 cameras, $3,000 lenses, $3,000 lighting equipment. $12,000 later, that $20 lipstick looks a lot more washed out on camera than it does in person. I can’t count how many times [or I would kick myself!] I’ve purchased makeup after watching it on Youtube only to have it arrive in the mail and look 100% different. To me, Youtube is a great place to find reviews of handbags, makeup quality [not necessarily color] and honest reviews of companies. So just be careful with yourself when you watch! Sometimes flat lay photography will give you a much more honest review in terms of coloring.


  • E-mail customer service: If you receive an item and you don’t feel it was described properly or the quality is subpar, don’t be afraid to e-mail customer service! Be kind, send photos and chances are you’re going to end up better off than you were before. Half the time I’ve had companies send me a replacement AND a coupon for the next time I shop with the brand.


  • Pay via Paypal: If credit card safety is your worry, choose to purchase through Paypal whenever possible. I always use Paypal when purchasing through a smaller shop or etsy as I feel more comfortable doing so. This way, the seller never sees your credit card information. Because of their purchase protection, they will fight some of the online shopping battles for you. I also like to use Paypal for online shopping because it’s a great way to budget. At the end of the month I can see exactly what I purchased and it makes budgeting go by much more quickly.


  • Subscribe to Blogs or Bloglovin’: This may sound a bit cheeky and like a plug for my site, but it’s not. If you want to know sales, sale codes or coupons first subscribe to blogs. If you don’t like daily e-mails, get a Bloglovin’ account and you can subscribe to your favorite blogs there! This way, you can see one entire newsfeed of your favorite blogs and you’re able to find out about sales first. This also allows you to unsubscribe from mass marketing e-mails from larger retailers so you aren’t clogging your inbox. Bloglovin’ allows you to choose how many e-mails you receive so it helps you stay organized in that department.


Happy shopping!

Leave a Note

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. That’s a great tip with the tape measure! Often we don’t even know what our true sizes are. I know I definitely have to measure myself again, haven’t done so since… I can’t even remember!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Published 02 Jun 17Reply
  2. Alex wrote:

    Okay so I can’t help but notice how cute that gold link bracelet is .. where is it from?! Also, I’m getting married soon and my fiance wants to know what to get me for our wedding day present exchange. He’s thinking of getting me another David yurman. Do you have a favorite of the one? Or should I ask for something else? Need your thoughts!

    Published 02 Jun 17Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Alex!

      Thank you! Here is the bracelet. 🙂

      Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! Ahh the DY is so hard to choose one! They have all been gifts from either my grandmother, mom, dad or husband. I’ve gotten one for just special occasions, like I got one with Maxi’s birthstone for Mother’s Day. So I can’t pick one! haha. I love them all! But I do really love how personalized they can be, so that might be a really sweet route for him to go with the stones. Paul got me an Hermes bracelet for our wedding present, but I honestly think that’s because my last name was becoming an “H” name. 😉 But I wear it daily and it has held up so well! I’m not sure if this helps or not, haha! But hopefully it does!



      Published 02 Jun 17Reply
      • Alex wrote:

        That is very helpful!!! Your Hermes bracelet is adorable. Thank you so much for your help!! Xo

        Published 02 Jun 17Reply
  3. Nicholle wrote:

    Love the paypal tip! I always tell people to pay with it! I never worry about entering my card info!

    Published 02 Jun 17Reply
  4. Morgan wrote:

    This was such a fun read!

    How 2 Wear It []

    Published 02 Jun 17Reply
  5. Yes! I alllllways use Paypal instead, when it’s an option! Also love that it doesn’t make me get up and get my debit card, haha.

    Published 02 Jun 17Reply
  6. Allyson Lacoste wrote:

    Love these tips!! One of my favorite tips is to always check the return policies as well. I feel so much more comfortable knowing I have free returns if I don’t like it! For example, Shopbop has a weird return policy that it must be back in their warehouse 15 days after you receive it or they charge you like $10! So strange! So I am always careful when ordering from them. Also, you said you were a French Connection fan and I’m sure you already saw but Gilt has a great French Connection sale today 🙂

    Published 02 Jun 17Reply
  7. Ashley wrote:

    There are some great tips in here! I do want to point out one thing though – I can’t speak for independent small business websites, but I can tell you as an Etsy shop owner, we never see credit/debit card information, regardless of how you pay! Etsy keeps it encrypted, the only thing the seller sees is the method you paid with (whether it was credit/debit card, PayPal, or gift card), but no further details than that. I just wanted to let you know because I know some shops don’t accept PayPal, and I’d hate to see you pass on a shop just because of that when we don’t even see that information!

    XO, Ashley

    Published 04 Jun 17Reply
  8. Kelsey wrote:

    I love these ideas! What are some of your favorite YouTube channels? I’d love to find a few good make up artists to follow!

    Published 06 Jun 17Reply
  9. Santa wrote:

    I love your tips! youtube is actualy my favourite place to look for rewievs, i found this video super usefull for online shooping tips
    But you are right, it is true that by youtube rewievs you can pretty much go wrong with thats the thing i always am aware!

    Published 06 Oct 17Reply