Shopping online has changed over the last several years. It used to be you could find more styles and sizes in person when you went to stores vs shopping online. Now it’s the complete opposite. Companies are trying to keep inventories low so the selection of style and sizes available in the stores is lower and they keep a wider selection of items on line.

What to wear to the office has changed but how you show up still matters.  Let’s be honest, shopping online can be a little more challenging than shopping in the store. You can’t touch and feel the item and  you may need to order more than one size in order to find the right fit.

Here are some tips to help you as you navigate shopping online.

One important tip is to sign up for emails, newsletters, and text notifications. I know you likely have too many emails but if you are going to spend money you might as well save a little. Most companies will send you coupons for ten or fifteen percent off along with free shipping. Whether you are buying one item or ten the savings can add up.

Another important tip is to make a list of what you need and set a budget. If you start shopping online with no list and no budget you will likely find yourself down the rabbit hole pretty quickly. Go back to tip one and sign up for the email or newsletter and then the company will track what you are looking for.  When you search and don’t immediately buy the company will likely send you a coupon to shop or notify you when the item is low in stock or on sale.

My third tip is to purchase multiple sizes of the same item and/or several styles to see which is the right fit for your body. It used to be that sizing was pretty standard but it’s not that way any more. You could be a size eight or ten in one style and a four or six in another style, in the SAME store. For example, I can be a size fourteen in J.Crew jeans and skirts but in their pants I am a sixteen.  When you try multiple sizes and styles you will have a better chance of finding pieces that fit.

Lastly, when shopping online be sure that the item your shopping for will actually help you expand your wardrobe. Ask yourself, can I create two to three new outfits with this item? Can I mix and match it with other pieces I currently have in my closet?  Another question to ask yourself before you purchase is can I wear it for two or more seasons?

No matter what you decide to shop for online be sure to save the packaging in case you decide to return the item(s). Quite a few retailers do not charge for return shipping and/or encourage you to return in store (no fees). Often times, return labels can be printed at home or you can drop off at a local FedEx or UPS with a bar code and no box.

Most importantly, remember to fill your closet with items you love so when you wake up you are excited to get dressed. Don’t let the clearance rack determine your style.