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  1. #1

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    Buying From International Retailers

    I don't ask people if their water is wet, because the question is ridiculous.
    I feel almost that foolish right now, but I'm going to post about this anyway.

    If you live in the USA how can you buy clothes from an overseas retailer and
    be certain the garment will fit?

    Many of you are too young to remember, but for most of the twentieth century
    the textile industry thrived in Europe and the USA. Quality and sizing standards
    were strict. My dad could try several coats made in different factories and they
    all fit perfectly. This definitely not true anymore!

    My height and weight has not changed in 35 years. I just purchased a suede
    jacket in a local store. I started with medium which is (or was) my size. I've
    been in this store many times and salesmen know me. They joke about how
    everything made in Asia, South America, etc., follows no sizing or quality
    guidelines. It's hard to believe, but the size that actually fit was labeled XL!

    I frequently see jackets on eBay from overseas retailers that I want to buy.
    The odd are no better than 50/50 that the jacket will actually fit. Size charts
    and the garment label don't mean anything these days.

    For a reasonable price I can return clothes purchased from another state if
    they don't fit. Anything I buy from Europe or Asia that doesn't fit will be donated
    to charity. The return shipping cost would be astronomical!

    I realize there is no solution to this problem. If you buy clothing from international
    sources and don't lose money you're a genius or very lucky. Any advice to
    reduce my apprehensions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Ivan Condor Aasllani's Avatar

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    Just ask for measurements of the garment and compare to a garment you own that fits well.

    Most good sites will have size charts.

    Welcome to the forum with this strange and pithy post btw.

  3. #3
    MarcLager's Avatar

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    I buy a lot from ASOS. I'm in Sweden, and while the delivery is free, returns are not. Quite a draw back, but ASOS stocks a lot of stuff I like, and usually at a good price. And even if the price is the same as somewhere else, free shipping makes it better value. Also, the strong Swedish economy - or rather the weak UK economy - has meant you get a lot more per GBP than per SEK. (Over the past six months the SEK has lost a lot of value so it's not as beneficial any more.)

    However, it makes me less trigger happy when shopping. I can't order two sizes and send the one that doesn't fit back, so I stick with brands I know the sizing of - which of course isn't a fool proof strategy, as they vary as well. I mainly buy stuff on sale, when it feels like it's worth the gamble. So far, I've been pretty lucky. Only a couple of trousers and a jacket have been too small for me to use. I gave the trousers to my nephews and the jacket to my dad.

    But I agree that size charts are indeed worthless in their utter inaccuracy. While you get a clue about the size of a garment by the retailer giving you the hight of the model showing the item, they never tell you what the person weighs, which I find equally important.

    Until there's international free returns, I don't think there's a solution to this problem.

  4. #4
    McCoy's Avatar

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    The best size guides are based on exact measurements. Few sites offer that though. ASOS tbf are starting to do just that on their own-brand.

  5. #5
    DorianGrape's Avatar

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    I buy most of my clothes online. I send back at least 60% of it. If you buy online, you really have to be accept that not everything will fit as expected, not everything will fit as you like it to and not everything you will like when you take it out of the box.

    As for standard sizes.. every continent is different. European sizes are smaller than US ones, Asian sizes are smaller than European sizes. Across Europe there are variations... Spanish & Italian clothes are smaller (generally) than British sizes and across every brand, there are variations in their own sizes.

    Often you'll find a brand whose sizes you can - for the most part - count on, but a lot of the time, it's a stab in the dark.

    Still, it beats having limited or no choice when it comes to buying.

  6. #6
    Benvolio's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by DorianGrape View Post
    I buy most of my clothes online. I send back at least 60% of it.
    This is interesting. I didn't really think people did this - particularly when buying from more expensive items. I just assumed people looked online for...a pair of jeans, was able to choose one pair then buy them - perhaps taking them back and exchanging them. I didn't really think people bought a bunch of stuff, then took them back... For some reason. One of my friends used to order stacks of really cheap clothes from La Redoute and New Look, keep some and give the rest away. I should imagine you'd have to make a concerted effort to take wrap them back up and take them to the post office - otherwise you'd have a lot of unwanted clothes and be very out of pocket! I do have a habit of buying something, not liking it, then just leaving it to rot in my wardrobe... I don't think I will be able to do that here.

    Quote Originally Posted by DorianGrape View Post
    If you buy online, you really have to be accept that not everything will fit as expected, not everything will fit as you like it to and not everything you will like when you take it out of the box.
    This sounds really obvious, but I think it's about giving yourself the freedom to do that - to be 'wrong'. I think I find that hard... Plus, given the cost of the clothes people here tend to buy, one must rack up quite a bill initially when they buy! Rather like I did with my wedding outfit. I still have a few items (a tie, some cuff links, a belt I think) that I didn't bother taking back and are just languishing in my bedroom... (I think one or two were from the U.S.).

  7. #7
    McCoy's Avatar

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    Most online retailers package their items with returns in mind, though, with resealable strips and return labels. I've said before, the returns policy of a website is a decider for me whether I even order. I would rather pay a bit for delivery than have to fork out for the insane costs of sending back a large/medium package. The important thing too is that you get money back, which you can either spend on more wanted items or reinvest into other areas of your life. I only really started returning stuff this/last year.

  8. #8
    ukalec's Avatar

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    ASOS is a piece of piss for returns. I just turn the grey bag inside out and sellotape it shut. As i have paid my 15bucks for free delivery and returns, i just hoy it in the post box without having to visit the post office with their archaic business hours.

    As for racking up the bills, i would buy everything on credit card, return what i didn't want and then immediately payoff the credit card purchase that i keep with thr debit card. Stops you initially being out of pocket say you want to try a few hundred quids worth of clothes on.

  9. #9
    Des

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    Tipsy the other night and ended up ordering some boots from Amsterdam. I'm gonna be better off selling on eBay if they don't fit, right?

  10. #10
    DorianGrape's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    This is interesting. I didn't really think people did this - particularly when buying from more expensive items. I just assumed people looked online for...a pair of jeans, was able to choose one pair then buy them - perhaps taking them back and exchanging them. I didn't really think people bought a bunch of stuff, then took them back... For some reason. One of my friends used to order stacks of really cheap clothes from La Redoute and New Look, keep some and give the rest away. I should imagine you'd have to make a concerted effort to take wrap them back up and take them to the post office - otherwise you'd have a lot of unwanted clothes and be very out of pocket! I do have a habit of buying something, not liking it, then just leaving it to rot in my wardrobe... I don't think I will be able to do that here.

    This sounds really obvious, but I think it's about giving yourself the freedom to do that - to be 'wrong'. I think I find that hard... Plus, given the cost of the clothes people here tend to buy, one must rack up quite a bill initially when they buy! Rather like I did with my wedding outfit. I still have a few items (a tie, some cuff links, a belt I think) that I didn't bother taking back and are just languishing in my bedroom... (I think one or two were from the U.S.).
    If you shop a lot online, you really have to re-think about how you shop.. if you shop on the high street, you could go to ten different shops, try on ten different things and end up buying one item.. or none at all. But you wouldn't buy something if you didn't like it. Shopping online is very similar, though it definitely pays to be more focused in what you are looking for if you want to avoid the cost and hassle of sending back tonnes of stuff.

    Either way, if I order something online, I don't see it as a purchase until I decide that I'm going to keep it... until then, I'm just ordering something to try it on.

    If you're worried about costs, the most costly thing you could do is end up with a load of stuff you'll never wear, so be ruthless about what you keep / send back. Look for retailers who offer free returns.. I'm sure there are loads of them in the UK.

    Ireland is different, but returns with ASOS & Zara are cheap, and I can return online River Island purchases to the local store. It's the only half decent local store in my town... other than that, we've a crap TKMaxx, a Next outlet (yawn), a Jack & Jones (which I've never even been in) and two "menswear" shops which stock shit, over-priced suits, loads of pointy brown shoes and both have "youth sections" which sell G-Star, Diesel and Tommy fucking Hilfiger. Depressing stuff indeed.

    For that reason, I don't mind the hassle or cost of sending stuff back as the alternative of wearing a Hilfiger jacket over a Lacoste polo, with a pair of stone washed G-Stars and brown pointy sheuxx just doesn't bear thinking about.

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