Online shopping

A guide how to...
By Lizel Van Der Westhuizen Full Circle Image Consulting

I have been asked on numerous occasions where an outfit, shoes or accessory is from. When I reply with “I shopped online”, I get that shocked reply “How do you know what to buy, and how do you know it will fit???”

Shopping for clothes online, whether you buy them from a big Chain store or a custom clothing boutique, can get you great style at bargain prices. Unfortunately it also comes with the worry that because you’re buying an item of clothing sight-unseen, it simply won’t fit properly, and you’ve then wasted your money. 

Here’s how to make sure that never, ever happens:


Get some accurate measurements for your body, and keep them up to date:

The first and perhaps the most important thing you can do before you spend money buying clothes online is to get yourself accurate measurements. Once you have an idea of your size, beyond “large,” “size 10,” or “42 waist,” you’ll be able shop without fear. Remember, one company’s size 12 is another company’s size 10. The best way to fight back is to make sure you have your own measurements. Here’s how:

Get a professional to take them for you. Obviously, the best way to get the most accurate measurements possible is to have someone else take them while you're standing normally. Why not book a Style Consultation with me, then you will have your measurements and style personality at hand, and also knowing which styles will suit you best!

Take them yourself (or have a friend help you out). The alternative to having a professional do it, of course, is to do it yourself. If you must take your own measurements, get a friend or family member to help out with the hard to accurately reach places.

Where and what to measure:

You’ll want to measure your bust-the fullest part of your chest. You’ll also want to measure your “natural waist,” or the slimmest part of your torso, not necessarily your actual waist where your pants rest.

Then go ahead and take your actual waist measurements. Though not often used in women’s clothing, it’s good to have. 


Women’s clothing generally uses the hip measurements most often – or the size around the fullest part of your body; this is at the top of the leg, around and across your seat. See the picture to the right for guidance on where to measure.


For shoes

I have to say, I have rarely sent shoes back due to receiving the incorrect size. If you are ordering a specific brand, example Adidas, and you have a pair at home, then just order the same size again. If it is a new pair of shoes and you don’t have a pair yet, then follow the guide lines to the right.

Choose the right retailers and always check the sizing charts:

Speaking of size charts, once you have your measurements, size charts will be your best friend. You won’t ever need to trust that a “large” is indeed “large enough” to fit you – you can simply look at the sizing chart, locate your measurements, and go from there. If you’ve been shopping for clothes online for a while, you may already know this, but it’s even more important when you’re shopping online, especially from retailers that carry different labels, designers, and clothing manufacturers.

Know what colours suit you best:

Colour can make a massive difference to an outfit. Wearing colours that complement your natural colouring can make you look younger, taller, leaner and definitely more vibrant! Colour also compliments your personal style and when you shop online, you will know exactly what garment will look best in what colour. So book your colour consultation today!

Keep notes on brands, retailers, and designers you've bought from previously:

Once you’ve had a look over their respective sizing charts and found a couple of retailers that sell clothes in your size and personal style, you’re in good shape to start shopping. Grab a notebook or use your favourite note-taking app to jot down the name of the retailer you shopped with, what you bought (especially if it’s from a specific designer or has a specific cut or style), its size, and how well it fits.

Keeping notes like this for clothes may sound silly, but it’s really important. When you hit on a brand, a cut, or a style that really works for you, you’ll be able to find it again easily. You’ll also always know that a specific brand is cut a certain way and fits you well. Label sizes won’t be as important anymore, and you’ll know that even though the size chart says you should be a size 14, this company’s size 12 fits you perfectly, while that company requires you to step up to a 16, for example. 

After a couple of purchases, you’ll have a stable of brands, designers, and cuts that you know always work for you. When you choose to branch out, it won’t be like taking a shot in the dark – you’ll have an informed opinion and be able to make an educated guess as to what you’ll get.

Some of my favourite online shopping stores:

I love LOCAL, because local is LEKKER!! I have a few favourites I prefer to buy from, especially if is something different that you are looking for. Most local stores, such as Woolworths, Mr Price etc. have an online store as well, with great savings and specials!

Go and ‘like’ these stores on Facebook or Instagram to be updated with the latest stock arrivals. You can also visit Google for online shops until you find something you love.

This is a list of my favourite online stores:

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