If your Facebook feed looks anything like mine, it’s covered in ads from online retailers promoting fabulous pieces at insanely affordable prices. You may wonder if that crochet mini dress is too good to be true – and in most cases, you are right. Many of these sites featuring dupes of some of Shopbop’s most coveted pieces have been known to sell poorly manufactured styles that result in sheer disappointment upon arrival, BUT I’m here to share some of my tips on how to sort through the junk and actually find some great pieces!
As you know by now I love mixing designer pieces with affordable or vintages styles. I’ve always believed in investing in shoes and handbags, but as for clothes, I. LOVE. EVERYTHING – regardless of price. As easy as it is to snag a dress off a mannequin in an upscale department store, the thrill of finding a dress I love by digging is a challenge I’m always excited to accept! That being said, here we go:
1.) Check the reviews and customer photos
This is the simplest method of online shopping. Websites like Shein allow (and actually reward) shoppers to post reviews of every item and upload photos to a customer gallery beneath the product image. Often you will notice the items look quite different than the product image above, but that’s not always a bad thing. The most important factors to look for in reviews are sizing, fabric quality, and overall fit.
Even though you may wear a Small at Nordstrom, don’t be ashamed to order a size Large online if customers say the product runs small. My closet ranges in size 00 to 8, and I’ve come to accept that sizes vary with different retailers, so never let the number affect how you feel about yourself :) If a size on a tag bugs you, cut it out. Simple.
2.) Follow bloggers
This one is quite obvious, but seriously, follow bloggers. Although bloggers can get incentives from brands to post specific products, any reputable or honest blogger will only post items that they truly like, wear, and would recommend readers to buy. Any style you see us wearing on the blog or instagram is a product that we actually love – not just an item that photographs well.
What I love most about following bloggers is that they are NORMAL girls. Any dress will look fabulous on a 6 foot, 90 pound model, BUT seeing styles on regular girls makes shopping a lot easier.
3.) Know what styles and fabrics to look for
This tip takes a bit more trial and error, but I’ve found certain styles have a higher success rate than others. Sequins, leather, or anything too funky is less likely to look like the product image, than the simple t-shirt dress. Items like t-shirts, blanket scarves, and cotton dresses generally leave me satisfied – and I’ve had incredible luck with every sweater I’ve ordered!
As for colors, pay extra attention to reviews of white or pastel pieces, as they have a higher chance of being see-through. Nude intimates or a simple slip can solve this problem, but it’s definitely a review I always keep an eye out for online!
4.) Understand the quality relates to the price
When you’re ordering a dress for $15, don’t expect the quality to be fantastic. Just like the college days where your Forever 21 dresses only lasted X amount of washes, items from sites like Shein or Oasap may be the same way. If you’re a fabric snob, stick with Neimans – but if you’re looking for fun new styles to spice up your wardrobe without breaking the bank, go for it!
5.) Lastly, take a risk
Since returning items from these sites generally costs more than the products themselves, you have to go into the shopping process with an open mind. I tend to order 10 items at a time in hopes that 9 out of 10 will work. Worse case scenario, I lose $10 on a top I didn’t like – BUT best case scenario, I find new dresses I’m completely obsessed with. I’ve posted countless styles on the blog that I’ve lucked up with online, and I’ve re-worn them time and time again.
Whether you pay $15 or $500, the most important part about dressing is finding flattering pieces that fit well and make you feel confident. Check out a few of my favorite finds below (as well as a journey through my ever-changing hair color) and give our tips a shot next time you shop affordable online retailers!
See the full post for more photos and details // Shop the $19 dress (Hint: I wear a slip with this one) See the full post for more photos and details // Shop the one-size-fits-all $26 sweater
See the full post for more photos and details // Shop the $25 dress
See the full post for more photos and details // Shop the $17 topSee the full post for more photos and details // Shop the $18 dress
See the full post for more photos and details // Shop the $19 dress