The key to finding an exciting, enticing and enchanting evening dress is often knowing where to shop. As there are literally thousands of women’s clothing shops in Australia both offline and online, how do you go about choosing where to buy your dress for a 21st party, prom or party dress?
Even if you have a regular favourite fashion store, it’s definitely worth looking online. Since the global financial crisis has conditioned buyers to look for sales, the fashion industry has become more competitive, and even more-so online. Researchers and industry commentators in Australia have been reporting clothing sales running in excess of 60 and 70% on a regular basis, even when putting listing new stock arrivals.
Here is a quick guide for what to look for when you’re buying women’s clothing online.
1. Look at delivery options
If you’re buying a dress online that you want to wear this weekend, then buying from an online shop that has a 5-10 day delivery window is not going to give you the result you want, even if you save a bit of money. It’s really important to look at the delivery options.
Many first time buyers get caught out by websites that offer exceptionally cheap dresses that are shipped to you from the other side of the world at a huge shipping cost – in some cases you’ll pay more for the shipping than the dress! Where do they ship for and how long do they say it will take to get to you?
If you’re in Australia try to find a retailer sending their packages out using the Australia Post Express network, or via a reliable courier company. The faster you get it the sooner you can wear it.
2. Look at the fit guide
You might be a size 12, but there are almost as many different size 12s as there are styles of dresses that you buy. Don’t just assume that if you normally wear that size it will fit. Look at the website’s fit guide and the measurements. If you have a tape measure handy it’s worth checking your measurements so you know. Be wary of sites that do not publish any fit guides at all.
3. Look at security and privacy
If you’re buying online, there’s a certain level of trust you need to establish. Luckily there are some simple ways you can verify that the site you’re buying from is safe. When you’re on the checkout page look up in the browser bar for a padlock icon to indicate that your personal details have been encrypted before being transmitted to the credit card company for processing. Good sites will have information about the security technologies they are using on their payment page. Look for references to their “SSL Certificate” or confirm that they are “PCI compliant”, and some may have signed up for third party verification systems like Trust-E or McAfee Secure.
4. Returns policy
In Australia, firms are required by law to allow returns for faulty goods, but what happens if it doesn’t fit? This is largely up to the retailer, so if you’re not sure about the style you’re buying it’s worth looking at the returns policy available and any costs that might apply.
You should review the returns policy along with the shipping policies – make sure that the returns policy allows enough time for the dress to get to you before you have to notify them of a return.
5. Overall look
You can usually draw conclusions about the quality of a website’s products from the overall impression that the website itself gives you while shopping. Is it easy to use? Do the photos look good? Can you imagine yourself wearing their products? Does the website pays attention to detail.
A site that really makes sure the finer details are covered, is more likely to be a business that will make sure their products are of high quality too. What do the photos look like? Are there back shots? Do they have high quality versions? Are there measurements? Does the overall look of the site give you the impression of a professional organisation or a fly-by-night-wannabe?
What would you look like in the dress? Use your imagination and picture yourself wearing it – usually you’ll know by looking at a dress if it is “you”. Our advice is go with your first instinct when buying women’s clothing – it’s usually right.