Practical advice for buying clothes online, Friday kudos, wine for your weekend

I have a closet full of dresses. Sun dresses, shirt dresses, work dresses, old bridesmaid dresses, and cocktail dresses. I love a good cocktail dress. I love repurposing a good cocktail dress into a work dress. Many of these cocktail dresses are the result of the two dozen weddings I attended in my twenties, but if I’m being honest, some of them are also the product of the pop up banners on Facebook that tell me I can get a killer deal on Amazon RIGHT NOW!

As a tall woman, buying a dress can be tricky. Standard “knee-length” is not my “knee length” and “floor length” is essentially a non-existent hemline in my world. That’s why those Amazon pop up banners are even more appealing. They come with subtitles like “X-Long hemlines” and “tall and slim fit.” In case you haven’t walked through your local department store lately, these are not categories of clothing normally given much shelf space. But on the vast shelf of the internet, there’s space for everyone!

I know that I’m probably helping to kill the local neighborhood clothes boutique even as I type, and if you want to shop local, shop traditional, shop small, or shop in person, good on you. But, if you’re ready to take the plunge into the vast wardrobe of the world-wide web, then this is your post! Open a new browser tab and get started immediately with these practical tips.

1. What I don’t mean by online shopping

What I’m not talking about here is going to the website of your favorite store, and just ordering your clothes instead of going to the store to buy them. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad option. If you see something you like, but they don’t have your size, go online and try to find it by all means. But let’s be willing to branch out a little bit. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, click on over here and check out Prime Wardrobe which lets you pick out clothes, sends them to your house so you can try them on, and then charges you only for the things you decide to keep. That’s right, you pay AFTER they send you the clothes and you decide what fits. You return the rest with a prepaid shipping label. If you’re not a prime member, you can also shop from the Prime Wardrobe collection, just be prepared to pay first!

2. Check for a size guide

People ask me all the time how I find pants long enough. Most of the time I give them a certain go to brand that I buy that I know has a long enough inseam, but if I was being honest, I’d say that I go to six different stores, try on three dozen pairs of pants, and when nothing fits well, I go back to the brand that I buy because I know it has a long enough inseam! People say they won’t shop online because how will they know whether or not it fits? Most online clothing has a size guide that’s way more complete and helpful than the common model of pulling random clothes off the rack at a store and holding it up against your body to get a sense of whether or not it will fit. Some look like this:
Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 8.57.05 AMBetter yet are brand specific guides that give you exact measurements for the piece that you’re looking at. Sometimes these measurements are listed in the product description:
Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 8.58.45 AM
Either way, this is a god starting point for figuring out what size to order. And don’t, for the love of Pete, order something just because you’re “normally a 10!” You’ll find in some size charts that they use Asian or European sizing where what the numbers mean can be vastly different from our US sizes. Use the measurements as a guide for what your best fit would really be. Let’s get over the number game, ok!?

3. Read the comments, questions, and/or reviews

Amazon has this handy at the top of their clothing listings called “fit as expected” that gives a percentage of the reviews and comments that were left in which people responded that the fit was good based on what they thought they were getting. See the little mini link in the photo below.

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 9.06.01 AM

When you click that link, it gives you something like this. Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 9.07.23 AM

Again, I think this is vastly more helpful than pulling random clothes off the rack at a store. Imagine if there was a woman at every clothes rack in Target to tell you, “That shirt is a medium, which you normally wear, but it runs a little tight, so maybe take a large into the dressing room instead.” That’s essentially what you’re getting here. If you take a half a minute to read the reviews on many clothing posts, you’ll generally find they go something like this, “I’m 5’8″ and 135 lbs. I bought a size small, and it fit great!” Or, “I’m 5’4″ and 170 lbs. I bought a large which fit great on top but I had to hem 5 inches off the bottom.” This is really useful information! I generally scroll the comments until I see someone close to my measurements, and then use their experience to help me gauge my own purchase. It’s like listening to all the dressing room chatter about what works, doesn’t work, looks good, doesn’t look good, before you decide what to try on.

4. Know the return policy

Not everything is going to look amazing. That’s a fact of life. So make sure you know what your return options are before you buy. If it’s a clearance item, maybe all sales are final. I generally steer clear of these purchases online. Amazon sometimes has a tricky listing that “some sizes and colors are eligible for free returns.” Know how many days you have to send it back. Know where and how to return it. I’ve never had a problem with returning clothing when shopping online, but I’ve also never bought clothing online that didn’t offer me an option to return something that didn’t work out.

5. Consider a rental or curation service

If you want to get your feet wet in the online wardrobe world, but feel you don’t have the time to dig into it, or worry about getting the sizes right, consider a rental or curation service. Rental services like Rent the Runway allow you to pick pieces and rent them for special occasions, vacations, or even months at a time. Often times they send you multiple sizes of the same outfit so you can find your perfect fit, and you return the whole thing when you’re done with your event. A curation service like Stitch Fix is essentially a styling service in which they do the work of picking your pieces for you, send you a monthly box, and you keep and purchase what you want from it. There is a subscription fee for the styling service, but they take the work out of looking for good outfits and good deals, as well as sizing pieces for the measurements that you provide them.

As we get closer to fall, it’s time to give your wardrobe a boost anyway, so why not do it from the comfort of your keyboard with a glass of wine and your Netflix playing in the background?! And now that we have you looking fabulous, let’s shout out to some fabulous people!

Friday Kudos to…

Kiett, who made the trip down from Lake Nebagamon, via Minneapolis for what’s quickly becoming her annual August visit. We had the best afternoon exploring the best lunch spots, coffee spots, and going through all 600 of our trip pictures!

Our sand volleyball team who completed another season together…even if it did only take us 10 minutes to lose our playoff game this week.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 5.41.39 PMI’d kudos myself for winning our Bachelorette bracket challengebut that seem tacky. So kudos to these ladies who are class acts even when we’re watching trashy TV together!


Wine for your weekend

roseAime Roquesante Cotes de Provence Rosé – I’ll admit it, I bought this wine specifically because of the bottle it was in. And then I bought a second bottle because…I guess I thought any wine in that appealing of a bottle must be worth having multiples of on the wine rack. Fortunately, when I finally opened it, the wine was as satisfying as the bottle that it came in.The wine is a blend of cinsault, grenache, and syrah grapes, giving the wine a bright rosy hue. The first aromas from the bottle reveal peach, strawberry, and a hint of watermelon. It’s the strawberry that comes through cleanest on the palette in the first sip, with notes of citrus and a light, refreshing acidity. If last week’s Roscato Rosé Dulce was two sweet, this week’s selection will likely be more your speed. It’s fruit forward, but not to sweet, and is incredibly drinkable at a price point that makes it accessible for all connoisseurs.

This is the second rosé in a row I’ve recommended, so keep the summer vibes rolling this weekend and rosé all day!


Published by Kate

A former Wisconsinite, Kate now resides in southeast Minnesota with her husband where she teaches high school English and theater. She recently completed her master's degree in learning design and technology, and continues to study and advocate for arts integration in the classroom. A recipient of the RISE America grant for high school theater, Kate is working to innovate and expand theater opportunities for the students at PIHS. An avid distance runner, concert pianist, and want-to-be wine aficionado, Kate's blog "ink." is a passion project, embodying all the best parts of life: friends, food, wine, thoughtful conversation, style, and sass!

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