With the rise of cheap clothing e-stores promoted on social media sites including Instagram and Facebook, it’s important to know what to avoid and what will arrive looking more not than hot.
If like me you spend more time than you care to admit online shopping, then no doubt you’ve come across many of these sites, maybe even ordered from some of them, browsing thinking ‘wait? £7.45 for a chunky knit sweater, is this for real?’ and sadly sometimes they are a scam. We’ve all seen the hilarious viral photos of girls who’ve ordered the dream prom dress, only for it to arrive looking nightmarish. You don’t want to fall into the same trap.
Some of these e-sites come across as humble enough, usually by promoting the latest trends with too-good-to-be-true discounts and promotions, photos often stolen from social media and other clothing sites. Most of these sites, such as ‘Romwe’ and ‘YesStyle’ are based in locations such as Hong Kong and Singapore. The biggest red flag to watch out for with these Asian stores is the lack of a PayPal option, PayPal offers you buyers protection against fraudulent and scam websites. Any e-store that only accepts card payments is a risk, your item may arrive safe in perfect condition, or it may not arrive at all but it is certainly not worth the hassle. However, even more legitimate retailers including Missguided and Pretty Little Things come with their issues. More often than not it comes down quality issues.
How many times have you ordered something online for it to look nothing like what the model is wearing? For the material to be see through? The seam to be crooked?
Some materials scream disaster more than others, for example lace. When done correctly lace can look elegant, classy and sophisticated but when its wrong, it’s really wrong and you’ll be left looking tacky and trashy. Another material to avoid is viscose – this is the material most cheaper fashion retailers use or blend in their leggings, including H&M and Primark. Although leggings are the epitome of comfort, cheap material makes them appear see-through and, let’s face it, that isn’t a good look on anyone. Instead of viscose and cotton blends opt for a ponte legging. Ponte fabric is a mix of polyester, rayon and spandex it is usually thicker and higher quality meaning less chance of looking cheap or being see through. Although they are more expensive they are still cheap variations in stores like Topshop, River Island, and even Boohoo.
Sizing is one of the biggest online shopping issues, it’ll leave you using the logic of ‘I’m a 10, definitely a 10 but maybe I should also order this in a 12 and a 14 just in case’ and it’s not just width sizing, all of the girls not 5”5 know the struggle of turning up your pants or having to wear them as an ankle grazer. More and more sites have started to offer various leg lengths in jeans but be weary of any who don’t. This can be a real issue with trousers since there is never a leg length option. To avoid disappointment browse retailers who offer you the choice of a petite or tall section first, and always check the product details. Stores such as ASOS provide you with their models height and size they are wearing as a reference to keep you in the know.
One of the most notorious offenders of this issue is a joni jean, which are not cheap but every girl has known the struggle of trying to keep her black jeans black or finding a jean that fits your waist and thighs simultaneously. Sadly, this is a process of trial and error since every one of you is different. New Look jeans are a travesty on me, whereas Missguided and ASOS own brand have some of the best dupes for my figure for almost half the price of Joni jeans.
With most of these sites, like all retailers, it is the luck of the draw and at the end of the day you really do get what you pay for, but we are students living on a budget so at least after this article you can shop savvy for those first uni buys.