How To Shop Online Like A Pro

We’re bombarded with sales many times of the year, but this year, the sales are constant. With most stores closed, we’re limited to online shopping. The temptation can be very high and the deals are out there, so here are a few ideas to help you shop online like a pro.

Take Inventory

Have a good handle on what you currently own. If you are a die-hard jeans wearer like me, you’ll naturally gravitate to the jeans section. Be sure to stop and ask yourself if you really need to duplicate that pair of skinnies.  How about adding a pair of boot cuts or straight jeans to your wardrobe? Is it a dead ringer of what’s already in your closet?

Set Aside A Budget

If you buy clothes seasonally, plan to spread your spending out. Don’t use all your budgeted money in the first week or month of the season.

Investment Dressing Formula

Use the Search Bar

Each store has it’s own search bar which allows you to find exactly what you’re looking for. Narrow the search down further by filtering based on department, size, color, and (often) shape.

Do You Love Or Need It?

Some fashion dollars will go to things you love and some will go to things you need. Your smartest shopping dollars fulfill both those criteria. Never settle for something just because you “need” one because the perfect alternative that you love will cross your path soon after… in other words, don’t spend your dollars on “just ok”.

Getting The Right Fit

  • know your measurements and consult each garments size chart
  • read the reviews to see what other shoppers think…remember that some shoppers are simply snarky so don’t base your decision on one review
  • review the store return policy so you aren’t surprised later
  • if they offer free shipping, buy several sizes and return what doesn’t work
  • check the fabric content and look up its qualities – for example, polyester may be easy to care for, but very hot to wear

Give Yourself Time

Don’t feel rushed to complete your purchase. A good night’s sleep will often change how you feel about a garment or accessory. Leave things in your virtual shopping cart overnight or even for a few days. If it’s sold out when you come back, don’t panic, there is never a shortage of great options.

Also – How to Shop For Investment Pieces

Buy For The Life You Live

Who hasn’t purchased clothes for the life we wished we were living? (Enter, my daughter Vanessa, and the four formal gowns she bought last winter!) Most of our wardrobe needs have become much more casual this year so be realistic about your wardrobe needs now.

Stay With Brands You Know

Now may not be the time to experiment with brands you’ve never tried. For the best shopping success, stick with the brands you know and rely on for quality and fit.

Buy What Fits You Now

Never buy something that you think will fit you when you lose those stubborn ten pounds. Buy what fits now and plan to alter when you lose weight. And do NOT pay attention to the number on the tag. Your clothes will look better on if they skim your body, rather than squeeze.

Don’t Shop When You’re Feeling Down

We all have down days and these are not the best time for retail therapy. Ever. Take a walk, read a fun book or organize your wardrobe, but step away from the online sirens call.

And finally, never buy anything on sale that you would not pay full price for.

Are you getting more successful with shopping for your wardrobe online?

If you liked this post, I would love you to save it to your Pinterest to shop onlione like a pro

Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.


  1. Since I do live in Canada and for numerous reasons (currency exchange and exorbitant shipping ‘n return rates due Custom’s processing, then top that off with a 13% sales tax); it is blogs like yours Jennifer that I appreciate as nothing more disappointing than purchasing an item that is misleading in description that has to be returned. i.e.: In colour and fabric content to name two. On that note though; my biggest complaint is more so about the variation in sizing as definitely not all are equal and more often than not, even if its the same label. To conclude, thanks so much Jennifer and great advice!
    Footnote: Oh, something else that I might add; when giving a review I often include my weight and height that I hope readers will find helpful.

    1. I find knowing the height and weight of a reviewer very helpful too!

  2. I don’t like to pay for shipping but will go for $6 or $7 deducted for a return…..I consider that cheaper than the gas money I would have spent shopping brick and mortar. However, I recently ordered one sale item from Talbot’s and had to pay shipping so the purchase was $34. The skort was much too short and had to be returned. My refund was $17.45. That won’t do. Talbot’s is now off my list.

  3. My rule is free shipping or free pickup in store, plus free returns in store. Some of the free shipping thresholds have decreased during the pandemic.

    Once I have found a brand and sizing that works for me, I’m pretty loyal. Sometimes there are items that are way out to lunch, despite my best efforts. These get returned ASAP. I comment on things like that, because retailers need to know. It’s helpful to tell them if the sleeves were four inches too long, when they’re normally just right. Some reviewers’ dissatisfaction let me know an item would be just right for me. If it’s too long in the torso, it’s often my torso length. When multiple reviewers claimed that some jeans smelled bad, I didn’t buy them.

    I only buy from online retailers I know, with brick and mortar stores where I live. It’s because the online store sells my size. Local retailers don’t any more.

  4. Your best piece of advice is “Never buy something on sale that you wouldn’t pay full price for.” I must ask myself the question when shopping sales.
    When I go through my closet I ask myself “ Would I buy this today?” It makes me stop and consider. It works better for me than does it spark joy.

  5. Francesca B. says:

    Good advice about shopping. I would add don’t shop late at night in bed, especially if you are bored and take sleeping pills!! I have awful crippling trouble with insomnia and I got into a pattern of doing that which thankfully I saved myself from!

  6. Elaine @ Following Augustine says:

    Are you aware that much of what is returned ends up in the landfill rather than being returned to inventory? In the US alone, over 4 billion pounds of brand new returned apparel ends up in the landfills annually. I can only imagine that this is going to get worse with the increase of onlne shopping due to Covid.

  7. If you make a mistake then just move it out immediately. Otherwise you will feel guilty everytime you open that closet door, I have been known to forego trying to return because it is just too much of a hassle and some the return postage is more than the garment is worth to you. We all mistakes so don’t camp around it. Move it out and move on. Learn from it. Don’t trust sizes for sure. Half my shirts had perfect fit in bust but so tight in the arms and way to thin.

  8. These are great things to keep in mind when shopping. I’m kind of just getting started in this area so these tips really help. Especially thinking about it overnight. Thanks!

  9. Very true about snarky reviews… I try to blow past those. Equally unhelpful are those that say something like ‘I bought a Medium and it fits great’ without any additional info. JJill has a Live Chat feature that I haven’t found elsewhere – love it. A customer service rep will give you the exact measurements of any item so you can compare sizes…. just have the style number at the ready. I do this all the time to make sure pants will fit.

    1. J Jill is smart to offer that. Knowing the exact measurements of a garment is Golden info!

  10. Good ideas in your article
    Not sure about this “And finally, never buy anything on sale that you would not pay full price for.”
    I never pay full price for clothing. I shop sales, clearance, ebay and thrift stores. I only pay full price for gifts for other people. Happy Wednesday!

  11. Susan Kelley says:

    I have been shopping catalogues for a very long time. Then in early 90ies discovered electronic shopping, HSN, QVC, etc. As my mobility issues progressed so did it limit my retail therapy. If I could not drive up,park right in front,at 10 AM I did not shop that store. Voila,on-line shopping!(One can shop at 2 AM!) I find if I really like a piece,i.e., aTalbots’ shirt, I wait and watch .it will be on sale soon. Then I wait longer, if I still really like it ,it gets mailed home. Usually with points off,etc. I also look for free shipping, returns too. All in all, it’s what works for me. But everyone must find her own way to make this type of shopping work. I also wait for the big seasonal sales-Memorial day,Labor day,etc. Great way to Xmas shop! Be careful of free returns. The postage is usually deducted At the other end. Happy shopping.

  12. Your best advice to me is “never buy an item on sale that you wouldn’t pay full price for”. I have fell into that trap too many times, only to later, hang my head and donate!
    I am doing a mass makeover of my bedroom and closet. Now is the moment to get real about what to keep and what to add. My mood is right so the time is right!
    I foresee online shopping to continue so I need to be smart about it
    Thanks for all the great tips this morning!

    1. Have fun with it. I’m looking forward to doing my closet when I get home.

  13. Have built my wardrobe on classics Andy’s funky accessories that cost so much less when you don’t like them anymore. I also find upscale consignment is a great place for shopping . Have found great vintage pieces also in Chanel etc .

  14. Beverly Dickes says:

    These are great tips! I shopped your Old Navy finds a week or so ago. Received my T-shirt dress and jumpsuit and love them! Great suggestions.

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