How to Buy Pants Online

I have a number of friends who’ve never bought clothing online before.  They say they want to try everything on, and they worry about the hassle of returning things if they don’t fit.  Because normal brick and mortar stores don’t carry pants long enough for me, I’ve had to shop online.  So, this little guide to buying pants online comes from my 10 years of experience.  The good news is that it’s becoming easier all the time for everyone to make successful online purchases.  Here’s how to buy jeans and pants online:

  1. Know your measurements.  Buy a sewer’s measuring tape at any craft store if you don’t already have one.  Use it to measure your natural waist (usually above your belly button, and where you are the smallest), the waistline where you normally wear your pants (measure around the top of your pants while you’re wearing them), and also measure your inseam (for a step-by-step on this one, refer to How To Measure Your Inseam).  You may also find it helpful to look in your closet and write down the sizes of pants you already have that fit you well.  Note the brand for each, as it’s not uncommon to be an 8 in one maker and a 10 in another.  Many designer jeans are also sizing their garments by waist measurement now, so you may have several numbers to write down.
  2. If you already know you typically wear a size 12 at the Gap, you’re pretty safe ordering that same size online, especially if you’re ordering a style that you’ve worn before (like Long & Lean).  If you’re trying out a new seller or brand, refer to the size chart online, and compare that with the measurements you’ve taken.  If there’s not a clear answer based on that, call customer service and ask for help.  I’ve done this a couple times, and they’ve offered good advice.  The other thing I’ve done before is ordered 2 sizes, since you can always return the one that doesn’t fit.  Which leads me to the next point:
  3. If you’re trying a new brand or seller, buy the jeans when there is a free shipping and/or a free return offer.  Some stores offer free shipping & free returns all the time , others offer free shipping all the time, and others will run periodic specials.  With stores that have a brick and mortar presence (such as Gap and Old Navy ), you can always return them to the store for free.
  4. Try your clothes on as soon as they arrive in the mail, and leave the tags on until you know they fit.  If anything isn’t fitting well, either take it back to the store in person, or mail it.  Check the return policy and window in which you have to make the return, like you would normally.

That’s about it!  I have had really good luck buying pants online.  I’ve only had to return a couple things, and I’ve found that shopping online has saved me a ton of time and money.  I always check out the clearance section of the website, and they often have better deals and more selection than they would in the store.  Happy Shopping!

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