5 Secrets of Online Shoppers: How to find clothes that actually fit

Have you ever fallen in love with a garment online, quickly purchased it, only to receive it and realize it doesn't fit you correctly or look like you thought it would? One of the biggest struggles I've found in shopping from ethical companies is that it has forced me to buy online.

About 90% of the ethical fashion brands I want to support are only online, and the few fashion brands that do have storefronts are based in San Francisco, New York, and Nashville. I don't think I ever shopped online before quitting fast fashion, and it turns out that shopping for clothes online is a huge learning curve! Particularly, when shopping ethical and sustainable fashion companies across the globe, you want to be sure you won't have to go to the hassle of returning clothes you purchased online.

Here are a few tips I've learned the hard way, so that you can avoid the mistakes I've made! 

1. Look closely at the model.

  • What is their body shape and measurements?
  • What size are they wearing?
  • Can you see the garment clearly?

Try to examine which areas and body types on the model are different from yours, and gauge how the garment would fit you from there.

My biggest problem when shopping online is that I have a very small figure, and at first I assumed all "smalls" would fit me. Wrong! Every company's sizing is different, so don't assume "a small is a small".

2.  Avoid garments that are on a hanger. 

  • If the photos of the garment aren't on a real person, I would advise against buying it. Without seeing the garment on a model, you have no frame of reference for how the garment will fit.
  • If you can find the company on social media, check to see if there are photos of real people wearing the piece you're looking at.


  • Every bad online purchase I've made thus far could have been avoided, had I measured myself. I've been able to look back at each poor purchase I've made, and found that if I had only read the measurements and compared them to mine, I would have realized the garment was a no-go.
  • Not sure how to take your measurements?

Here's a great video that I found very helpful on how to take your own measurements!

4. Avoid buying from Companies across the globe.

  • People Tree is one of the most popular sustainable fashion brands, and I love their clothes and mission! However, I ordered a dress and it didn't fit whatsoever. It was too long (which could have been avoided had I read the measurements and taken mine).
  • Returning it was such a hassle, and I had to pay international shipping and it took 2-3 weeks to get there.
  • Just don't do it unless the garment is super simple and you know it will fit.

5. Pay attention to the material of the fabric.

  • Go into your closet and pick out your most comfortable and flattering pieces.
  • What are they made out of?
  • I would suggest that you keep a running note on your phone of what fabrics are your favorite and look best on your body type.

I hope you found these tips helpful and are more successful at shopping online than I've been! I'm excited to apply these rules in the future and make thoughtful, successful online purchases.