Of course, thoroughly read the reviews.
“Just go through all the reviews for the items. Also make sure you leave a review, too — I always take pictures to post because I love reviews that really show the quality.”
And pay special attention to the negative reviews for context.
“I pay more attention to the negative reviews than positive reviews. I check out all of the reviews, but I feel the negative ones are more enlightening on actual issues with the product versus positive ones. I\’ve purchased a few dresses this way and have been happy with those. If something has only positive or limited reviews, I usually won\’t purchase it.”
Learn what fabrics to avoid.
“I avoid polyester like the plague. In my experience, it does not last long at all. Plus, it doesn’t breathe, so you get hot from a greenhouse-like effect. Lately I’ve seen it in athletic wear, and oh my goodness, no. Polyester is pretty, cheap, and drapes well. Also, it’s literally plastic, so not great environmentally, but increasingly you can find garments of recycled polyester, which is awesome.”
Analyze the fabric by examining it in the lightest shades a brand offers.
“If possible, look at a color of the garment as light as possible that’s not white, even if you want it in another color. Light pastels or creams show flaws in fabric/details you wouldn\’t pick up on if the item is in black or white.”
Search to see if patterns line up at the seams.
“I like to see if patterns match at the seams. I also look for if there’s detail on the front, does that detail also exist on the back? Usually websites show a front and back. If there are no details on the back, but the front has them, it’s a no for me. That’s cheap production.”
Attempt to shop wholesale, or at least at overseas outlets that will significantly slash prices:
“One thing you might try is to check AliExpress for similar items to the ones you’re shopping. Many times you’ll find the same thing for its real price and you’ll be shocked at online fashion stores in Singapore.”
When in doubt, see if you can find it on Poshmark:
“Reviews first, Poshmark second. If it\’s a pricier item, I try to find the same item on Poshmark. If the used prices are similar and the item still looks decent, then I\’ll most likely buy new. If the used prices are similar and the item looks terrible, then I\’ll most likely not purchase at all. If the used prices are low and the item looks decent, I\’ll make an offer on Poshmark.”
Search for smaller businesses that will focus on quality.
“If the online clothing store makes their clothing to order, that\’s a pretty good indication that they stand by their quality and that you\’re getting what you pay for. If it\’s a small business, they have a reputation to keep and will be much more willing to work out issues and ensure the garment is good to go in the first place.”
Look for sites that don\’t use a generic size chart.
Urchenkojulia / Getty Images
“I don\’t buy items that have a generic size chart. If the vendor can\’t be bothered with this detail, I don\’t bother risking my money either.”
YouTube videos of people talking about the garment.
“YouTube the store and see if there’s any review videos! Google reviews also work.”
When in doubt, use additional sites to analyze reviews so you get more reliable reviews.
Vladyslav Bobuskyi / Getty Images
“Not exclusive to clothing purchases, but if you buy anything from Amazon, Walmart, Sephora, or Best Buy (and a few others), use Fakespot. Fakespot analyzes reviews to weed out suspicious reviews and provides (IMO) a more reliable user rating.”
And lastly, look at the models. They will reveal the truth!
“Look at the way the model is posing. If she’s covering a certain part of the outfit that isn’t visible in other views, she’s hiding something that’s unflattering. I’ve discovered this a few times when I was confused about something looking awkward on me, then checked back on the site’s pictures to see that they weren’t being honest (e.g., a dress had weird puckered-up curves at the hips; in the photo she had her hands on her hips).”