A Flair for Fashion: How to: Successfully shop online | VailDaily.com

A Flair for Fashion: How to: Successfully shop online

Rhiannon Myee
Daily Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily
Getty Images | Stockbyte

We all have those glorious days when we wake up and decide we want to embrace our inner Lady Gaga. It is on those days we find ourselves combing through stores for something involving studs, some sort of neon color with the ability to blind and something bound to set your finances back a good month or two. This surge of energy and confidence comes to every woman at least once; however, around a small valley like Vail, where do you go to satisfy these eccentric cravings? Or maybe what you’re looking for is something basic and attainable, but to your dismay, your favorite store has moved on. Where do you go? Easy – online.

Before we all let out a collective scream and run up Vail Mountain, allow me to break it down and simplify this underrated way of shopping so you’ll never be scared again. Mentioning the words “online shopping” can raise about a hundred questions at once for most people. How do I know my size? What if it doesn’t fit? What if the police show up at my door because someone named Bob has been using my credit card for reasons resulting in handcuffs? Let’s start this relationship off slowly.

In life, along with the good comes the bad. This is the same for websites. About 95 percent of good online shopping websites have a fit guide. However, there are only a select few that tell you how true to size the item in question is. For example, Solestruck Shoes (www.solestruck.com) personalizes each shoe description, letting you know whether to order a size smaller or bigger or if it runs true.

If only it were always that easy. For the websites that are, shall we say, less inclined to add details, I suggest first reading the reviews. What if there aren’t any? Good question. When determining shoe size, look for patterns in your existing shoes. Are you between sizes? If ordering a brand you already have in your closet, are its sizes consistent? If you aren’t familiar with the brand, I suggest researching. You’ll be amazed at how many fashion forums there are that have heated debates on specific brands and their sizing.

Follow a similar procedure when it comes to clothing. Most people have a standard size, but this gets tricky considering so many designers these days decide to change their sizes in pursuit of their “creative visions.” With clothing, the secret is your tape measure. No, your construction measuring tape won’t work (don’t pretend you haven’t done it before), unless your plans involve injury. Grab one that is specifically made to wrap around the body. This will get the tricky areas, and avoid a poke in the eye. Write down your measurements, and coordinate them with the fit guide provided on the website you’re planning to order from. Keep your measurements on file, and don’t forget to periodically check in, just to see that they stay consistent.

Now, even though the above will work for most websites, there are always going to be a few with nothing to work with. No reviews, no fit guide and what seems like no information in the galaxy that you can refer to. What then? Refer to S-R-E-K. Let me walk you through.

‘S’ stands for Safety. Is the website safe? When looking at the address bar, does it read “https” or just “http”? Always go with the first. This will give you peace of mind about that handcuff scenario.

‘R’ stands for Returns. Check the websites return policy, because the last thing you want is to be stuck with something you paid good money for that doesn’t fit. Most websites make life a little easier by providing a return label in the package. Just simply put your item back into the box with its tags still in tact, fill out the return form, stick the label over the original one and back it goes.

‘E’ stands for Estimated Guess. When given nothing to work with, use the general size that you normally wear. If in between, always go bigger, so that if necessary, alterations can be performed.

Finally, ‘K’ stands for Keep. When your beloved package finally arrives at your doorstep, try it on, cross your fingers that it fits and decide whether or not to keep or return.

Once again, like in life, the only way to know is to find out. By trying a few websites, you’ll start to build up a list of favorites and a list of websites with whom you’ve become very friendly with the return and refund department. When you get the routine down, and if you always remember S-R-E-K, I have a feeling you and your computer will have a very long and happy friendship.

Rhiannon Myee is a performing artist, with 15 years of experience in singing, acting, dance and modeling. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she has worked globally. She will study image styling and fashion journalism at the University of the Arts London in England. Email comments about this column, or topics you’d like to see covered here, to cschnell@vaildaily.com.

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