How to tell whether or not you should buy something online

Online shopping can be tricky. It’s fun to browse through pages and place your favorite items in the cart so you can later decide if it’s worth buying or emptying the cart. It can be risky when you want to get something for a special event and you never bought from *insert brand name.*

You need a large window to take that risk, so that if it doesn’t work out, you send it back for an exchange or just a full-blown return.

How do you shop online? What makes you decide to make that purchase? Here are some tips for those of you who still question if you want to buy those vintage jeans you’ve been eyeing, that dress that is unlike any you have seen in stores, or those sunglasses you’re not sure will work for your face shape.

READ ALSO: How to rock sweats to the club like Rihanna

1) Read reviews

Reading site reviews are a good way to gauge size and fit. Many times I have made the choice to go a size up or down because reviewers said something fit too tight or loose. Especially when it comes to shoes, I appreciate an honest review that says they sent them back because they were too narrow.

Beware of the fake reviews though. A ton of positive reviews with multiple exclamation points and adjectives has me guessing the legitimacy almost every time, and it isn’t uncommon for a new (or known to be sketchy) site to employ fake reviews.

READ ALSO: 8 movies that served major fashion inspo but got awful reviews

2) Check their return Policy

This is actually a big deal. You might find a dress you really want, but it’s from an online shop that you never shopped with before. If the return policy says “store credit only” and doesn’t really offer anything else you would want, you may want to opt out of making that purchase. An even exchange or simple return with your money back are your best deals. You also want to watch out for sites that do not provide free shipping, because you still lose out on money when returning a purchase.

3) Pay attention to size options

Labels that offer XXS and above may lead you to purchase a smaller than usual size because there is a greater range of sizes. And if you’re shopping at a site that’s based in another country, you want to make sure that the sizes are the same. For example, a UK size 6 is the same as a US size 2, so watch out and keep your eye out for a conversion chart.

READ ALSO: This bag designer turns trash into treasure

4) Check what size the model is wearing in the photo

Similar to checking size options, this may also be helpful. Many sites, such as Urban Outfitters, provide the model’s height and size of the product he or she wears. Your height and size in comparison can help you gauge if the size medium will work on your 5’3″ stature versus the model who is 5’8″. Keep in mind most models wear a US size 4.

For buying sunglasses, this also works similarly. Look at the model’s head shape (or in the case of celebs wearing the brand, see who wears it and look at their shape), to decide if the sunglass shape may work for your face. It sounds strange, but this has worked for me!

5) When in serious doubt, stick to the stores you know!

This is a no-brainer. If you shop at Free People all the time and know your size, ordering a piece online because you don’t feel like going to the store should pose little to no risk. Sometimes I go to the store to try on things, and I’m not sure if I want it right now. Or, the lines are too long (NYC problems), and I decide to just leave and order online! In these cases you might have to pay for shipping, so keep that in mind.

Gimme More Fashion

Do You Like?

Some things are only found on Facebook. Don't miss out.