Featured Image Credit: Swappa

Online shopping was made for you.

Take advantage of it.

You rummage futilely through your closet, your dresser drawers, and even your laundry basket. It’s here. That moment when you accept the fact that you need to buy clothes. Not just new clothes, but a wardrobe. A curated collection of clothing that expresses your personality and professionalism and shows off your looks.

That’s a lot to ask of clothing and of any man who hates shopping in stores.

Fortunately, shopping online was invented for you. It is not painless, but it’s better than going to the mall because you can do it at home while eating a snack and watching sports in another browser window. You don’t have to guess how many blue and white striped shirts you already have because they are in the next room. You will have a wider size and style range than any mall can offer at the click of your mouse. You might even find another color of that favorite shirt you bought a year ago.

Before You Bust Out Your Wallet, Assess the Situation

To make the most of shopping online and minimize bad purchases, spend some time clearing your closet and organizing your current wardrobe.

  • Accept reality and discard the clothes that are too worn out to wear.
  • If you have clothing that no longer fits or that you don’t like wearing but is still “wearable”, get it out of your closet. Sell it online, throw it out, recycle it, donate it to a charity, turn it into a cleaning rag—do what you have to do to purge it from your closet.
  • Sort through what is left and decide what you need to buy to fill the gaps or to take your appearance in a new direction. With all the unwearable pieces discarded, do you need more stylish jeans? Some basic business shirts? Perhaps some socks without holes?
  • Think strategically. If you haven’t worn that great jacket because you ripped the knees out of the pants that matched it, buy it some pants.
  • Make a list distinguishing what you must buy to update your wardrobe and what you would like to have. This will help you make decisions faster and stay on task.

Finally, Do Some Shopping

Let’s pretend you already know what styles and colors are best for your purpose, because that’s a very large topic that probably deserves its own article. When you’re ready to actually spend that hard-earned cash, do so with smart strategies.

  • Use a device with a large screen so you can closely examine the thing you want to buy.
  • If you’re on one site, collect all the possible options for clothing items in a shopping cart, or if you’re comparing between sites, bookmark them all and evaluate which ones you want most.
  • Patience you must have. Don’t buy things immediately or impulsively. Take a break between hunting for different kinds of items.
  • Evaluate your choices, and narrow down what you don’t want. If you’re on a budget and having a hard time choosing between items, remember to look at the price plus the shipping for each retailer. Delete, delete, delete until you have what you need.
  • Click, pay, and wait. Item after item will arrive at your door, and each time one does, open it promptly and check to make sure you got exactly what you ordered, and that it is in good condition. This is the time to send back items that don’t fit or that you’ve changed your mind about.

Buyer Beware

There are a few drawbacks of online shopping, so shop smart. Color and fit are always going to be uncertain. Your idea of medium blue and the online retailer’s idea are going to be different. One retailer’s size “L” may be another retailer’s “XL”. To avoid wasting time and money, buy one item from an unfamiliar brand and check the fit. If it fits, buy more. Keep a list of brands that fit well and brands that don’t.

Shopping doesn’t have to be a store-to-store procession of agony. Your future wardrobe is only a few clicks away. Good luck hunting, gentleman.