Today, I'm going to be talking with you about how to purchase clothing online. All right. The goal of this article is for me to share with you the best practices to shopping online, so I want to give you a lot of my tips and tricks because when it comes down to it, I want you to save money and make smart purchasing decisions.
I also want you to save time and I want to reduce the frustration. Additionally, I would love to hear from you all down the comments and if you've got some tips or tricks that I missed or you want to share with the group, I would love to hear from you. What are the steps to shopping effectively online? I've got nine of them. I'm going to go through them pretty quick I do expand on this. This is actually out of my Style System, so I would spend 30 minutes talking with those, guys, but I'm going to really condense this down, so excuse me if I skip. I know many of you want clarification and I'll try to give some down in the comments. 1. Know what you are looking for. You need to have a list. You need to know what should be in your core wardrobe.
You probably should be subscribing to a number of men's style blogs online. A lot of them give you tips and tricks. They give you insights as to what should be in every man's wardrobe. I know I've written a four-part series over at The Art of Manliness, so go check that out. But in addition, you should check out Baron over at the Effortless Gent, Joe over at dappered.com, Andrew over at Primer, there are the guys over at Put This On, a lot of great blogs that you could be checking out, and in a sense, building up your own list of what should be in your core wardrobe. The guys on my Style System know I already put that list together for them, but let me go ahead and move on to the next one.
2. Budget For each piece of clothing, you should have an idea of what you're willing to spend. Just to give you an example, let's take the suit. Every man should have a well-fitted suit in his wardrobe. So let's say you're graduating from a university, about to get your Masters Degree in Economics. You're doing your dissertation and you're about to start interviewing with a lot of consulting companies, banks, maybe some big companies. You need to budget probably at least $500 for a good suit. Well, for some of you, it might include alterations in the shoes and the shirt, but for those of you that are looking at actually large, very high-end positions, let's say you're graduating from GW or maybe Stanford or UCLA, you need to be thinking about, "Hey, I just spent $100,000 on my education, if not more, and I probably should spend at least $500 to maybe even closer to $1000 in this interview outfit because I want to spend at least a couple hundred dollars to a few hundred dollars on a pair of shoes, which I'm going to be able to use into the job." In addition, this suit isn't just going to be for the interview.
You want something timeless and classic. So getting back to the point, to budget, you need to realize that this is something that is worth spending a little bit of extra money for because this is something that you're just going to get a lot of use. So for the suit, let's say you put $500. Again, you know what you're looking for, you've budgeted for it, now let's go on to point three.
3. Identifying Quality One of the easiest ways to identify quality when you're shopping online, is to stick with a brand who's known for quality. Let's take suits again, Brooks Brothers, but let's say you're looking for some casual wear. You're looking for something that is going to be more of a weekend wear or stuff that you can wear out to meet some friends. And if you run into a potential client, you're not going to feel embarrassed about the way you dress. In that case, let's take a company like Timberland, and I'll talk about Timberland here, but they make some pretty good casual wear or let's say you're going to be looking at a pair of jeans and you want to maybe look at Levi's. Levi actually makes a lot of great casual wear. I'm a big fan of their trucker jacket. So things like this, again, go back to point one, know what you're looking for. You budget for this. And then to identify quality, one of the easiest ways is to go with brands.
Let's say you see something that looks like a great deal, but you don't know the brand. You don't know much about them. Well, then look for small little details. Let's take a dress shirt. Look for mother of pearl buttons. Look for removable collar stays. Things like this are going to signify quality. Oftentimes, though, you're going to have to look at what people are saying online and perhaps even try to go to a local mall or store and find the brand, and then you can examine it in person.
4. Focusing on Fit This used to actually be really hard on the web. Vendors just didn't reveal much about the actual size of clothing. As I'm going to show you in the example, a lot of times, they are actually now giving the exact dimensions and the quality. But in order to understand what's going to fit you, you should actually know your personal measurements. In addition, you should measure the clothing in your wardrobe that you're most comfortable wearing. I have the guys in my Style System do all of this, but that right there is a lot of information, a lot of things. I know most of you probably aren't going to do it, but if you do it, it will save you a lot of time and frustration when you're shopping online.
5. Comparing Price Now, I didn't put this as number one because I personally believe that price isn't the most important thing when you're shopping online. 6. Return Policy Instead, you should be thinking about the company that you're working with and think about other things like do they have a good return policy. So I would rather spend more with a company that has a great return policy than trying to save money, save five bucks with another company I've never heard of who has a horrible return policy and ends up ripping me off. 7. Shipping Costs I'm a big fan of Amazon and I use Amazon Prime because I pay like 80 bucks for the entire year and I get everything to date to me. In addition, if I have any issues, I can immediately ship it right back at no cost, so things like this are important.
Some companies have let's say, a final sale, and I'm going to show you an example. And when they have a final sale, that means they don't take anything back, so the return policy is nil and other companies will say on the shipping cost that you're going to have to pay $10 to get it delivered. Oh, and if it doesn't fit, you've got to pay the $10 to ship it back, so you could be out 20 bucks if you take a high risk and don't understand if it's good quality or you don't focus on the fit.
That's why, again, pay attention to all these things. Otherwise, you're going to have a lot of frustration when you're shopping online. 8. Sales and Discount Codes Again, I put these closer to the end. Oftentimes, sales happen pretty quick online. There's a great website called dappered.com. They let you know when a lot of sales are happening across the web, but in addition, you could set up Google alerts and a few other things to kind of monitor when companies are having sales.
Discount codes, you should do a quick search whenever you're checking out, and I'll show you an example of where you might see a little discount code. 9. Buyer Protection It's something a lot of people don't think about but do not use a debit card when purchasing online, the reason being most banks do not have a good, secure -- in a sense, if you want to get your money back, you're going to find that the actual money has left the bank.
Credit cards on the other end, this is where they're very useful especially a company called American Express. If you're not familiar, I know a lot of you guys outside the US maybe don't have it, but find a credit card that has a good protection policy. PayPal actually has a pretty good protection policy. I use PayPal quite a bit and what you can do is if you have a problem with the company, you go and you talk to the credit card company and all of a sudden, that company has a problem. It's like having a big bodyguard behind you and they come in and in a sense, they're not going to simply believe you.
They actually just open let's say a dispute, but the thing is for most companies, they don't want to deal with this. They would rather get you your money back quickly than having a black eye with the credit card company. So let's go ahead and I'm going to give you guys an example. Let me pull this up. Let's go ahead and we're going to look for chambray shirts. I did a quick search, "chambray shirts men".
Oh, I killed that. Let's go ahead and we're going to look at shopping. So I click "shopping" on Google. Instantly, I've got this visual here. This Hanes one looks pretty good. I like this Lucky Brand shirt right there, and this Timberland, the little bit faded out red. Really I've been looking for a shirt just like this. So I've already got this open and here's the Hanes. Now, I'm not expecting much in terms of quality. They say originally it was 36 bucks, so that means, what? It cost like six bucks for them to make it and they're selling it for $12.59. Great deal, but let's look at the shipping. Oh! You've got to have at least $60 or spend at least 60 bucks with these guys in order to get free shipping, but I am pretty happy with their money-back guarantee.
I needed to get some socks. Remember what I talked about up at the very beginning of what's important? I know what I'm looking for, so I went ahead and got some socks and some underwear, and boom, it worked out well. They've got a pretty good return policy, not great, but decent. Now, let's look at this shirt over at Lucky Brand. Normally, $90, it's on sale, and it looks like it's $30. Now, I looked at the sizing chart and was able to get some information, not a great sizing chart, but I was able to see it's 100% cotton.
The thing here that you've got to be careful of is this is within their final sale. They're not very clear about that, but I can see if it ends in 0.97. Basically, they do not take returns. It's here in their exceptions. Be careful of things like this. I am familiar with Lucky Brand. I've tried on some of their clothing. I understand how it should fit me. I know my measurements, so I went ahead and I pulled the trigger and I bought one of these shirts, but if I didn't know this information, I would not buy a shirt from them with this basically no return policy.
Another thing though as I was checking it out, guess what? Lucky has got a coupon code, 10% off site-wide. I use this and save another few bucks. Let's go to the washed-out red. Okay, this is by Timberland. I like Timberland, a good company. Overall, I'm impressed with the quality of their build, but I'm not really ready to pay $65 for a chambray shirt. However, I really want this shirt. The thing is that Timberland does a great job with their website. They give me the exact measurements, so I know this shirt is 48 inches across in the chest. Well, guess what? My chest is about 40 inches, maybe closer to 41. I've been lifting weights, but in any case guys, I'm probably around 40 or 39.5, and what I know is that okay, this is going to be a little bit big on me, but that's okay.
It's casual wear. In addition, I can take this to my tailor or seamstress and I can have it brought in just a bit. Also, I look at the fittings. They give me a little bit more information there, the features, some good information. Customers really like it, so I'm going to go ahead and -- oh, wait a minute, I'm going to look at some other items because they got a buy one, get one 50% off. Guess what? I'm also in the market for a sweater, so I find this great pullover and it's made from wool, which is a luxury fabric, well worth $100. And I can see, even though it's going for the full price of $108, I'm very comfortable with that. This is of good quality. It's a classic design. It's a color that I've been looking for. Of course, I can see the measurements. This is going to fit me very snug, exactly what I want, and I'm going to go ahead and pull the trigger on this, especially since I did a quick coupon search, and boom! I'm finding that I can get 10% off right here.
I went ahead and did that and I made the purchase earlier today. Okay, guys, well, that is it for me. Really, again, we hit these nine points in which you can go back and read those, but I would love to hear your tips and tricks.