How to Buy Lingerie Online
From Googling cinema times to snapchatting our best selfies, we love to use the internet for just about anything. But shopping for bras online? Even for our tech-loving generation, that can seem like a step too far.
Not only are there all the usual online shopping concerns to worry about (will it look like the photo? Will it even arrive?), but there’s also the fit to think about. Finding a bra that fits is more challenging than a t-shirt or pair of shoes, and doubly-so when you can’t even try it on.
Don’t lose faith just yet though! I’m here to tell you, as someone who exclusively shops for my underthings online, that buying lingerie on the internet needn’t be daunting at all. Follow a few simple tips, and it will be as easy and rewarding as shopping in a lingerie boutique, if not more so.
Why should you try buying lingerie online?
For one thing, because goodbye long drive into town! Who doesn’t value the convenience of being able to order a new bra in just a few taps of a smartphone, without even needing to leave your warm and cosy bed?
And when the goods show up, you’re once again in the comfort of your own home. There’s no pushy sales assistant hovering by the fitting room door, or queue of other customers huffing and puffing because you’re taking too long. You’ll generally get at least 7 days to make your mind up about whether you want to keep or return a purchase, so if you want to check how a particular bra looks under a dozen different outfits, you can.
If you wear an uncommon bra size, you may struggle to find cute bras (or, like, any bras) to fit you on the high-street. And even if you do have a fantastic lingerie boutique nearby that stocks the size you need, it will still only carry a fraction of the lingerie brands and designs that are available to you online.
Oh, and prices are generally higher in a real-world store, where there are overheads like heating and rent to cover. So if you’re a bargain-hunting lingerista then the internet is definitely the way to go!
Here are 7 tips to make shopping for lingerie online a breeze:
Check the brand’s size chart
Did you know that your bra size can vary from brand to brand? If you’re buying a brand or style you’ve never worn before, be sure to check your measurements against the brand’s own size guide, as you may get the best fit from a size other than your usual.
Read the return policy
Measurements can only tell you so much about how a piece of lingerie is going to fit and look on your body, so double check that you’ll be able to send it back for a refund if it ends up not quite being what you were expecting. Some retailers won’t accept returns on briefs for hygiene reasons for example, and in the US, certain discounted items are marked ‘final sale’ meaning they can’t be returned or exchanged.
You may also want to check who’s responsible for the cost of shipping the goods back. Finding a retailer that offers free returns is especially helpful when you’re unsure of which size to buy, as you can order a few and keep only the one that fits, risk-free.
Take a look at your current favourites
Are you in the market for a new bra set but just have no idea which style to try? A good place to start is in your own lingerie drawer, thinking about which pieces are your favourites and why you like them.
Do you tend to favour wired or unwired bras? Moulded or unlined cups? Comparing the number and placement of seams between the product photo and your current bras can also help you to judge how it’s going to fit, such as whether you’ll get a rounded shape or a flatter profile.
Okay, that plain beige bra you wear to work every week may be the opposite of what you’re shopping for right now, but if you love the way it lifts and supports your breasts, you can look for something more colourful or lacy that still has similar seaming and construction.
The size filter is your friend
There’s no greater heartbreak than falling in love with a picture of a bra set, only to click through and find that it stops a good few cup sizes below the one you need. Spare yourself the misery and use the size filter to whittle the options down from the beginning.
Generally, you can select multiple sizes at once, so even if you don’t know exactly which size you’ll need you can still click on a few around what you wear usually. This also helps to avoid feeling overwhelmed when you’re shopping with a large lingerie retailer that stocks hundreds or even thousands of different products!
Search for reviews
Being worn so close to your skin, you want to know that lingerie fabrics will be soft and comfortable. You also want to know that it’s sewn well, and won’t fall apart on you after three washes. You can’t tell all of that from a picture, which is why reviews can be so helpful.
Check for customer reviews of the product, both on the site you’re shopping on and on other stockists’ websites. If it’s a popular design or brand, then chances are there are some blogger reviews out there too, which typically go into much more detail and include lots of photos.
Subscribe to the store’s newsletter
This tip’s for all the value-loving lingeristas! If you’re shopping on a budget, then sign up to the store’s email list so you’ll be the first to hear about specials, sales and discount codes. If you’re not in any rush to purchase, a little patience can really pay off.
Protect your money
Finally, with a few simple precautions, shopping online can be as safe as handing your card over in a physical store. When you get to the online checkout and need to enter your payment details, check that the link in your browser begins https:// rather than http:// (remember, the s stands for ‘secure’). Regardless, it’s a good idea to always pay with PayPal or a credit card online, both of which offer protection if your lingerie doesn’t show up or arrives defective.
If in doubt, it’s always best to stick to reputable online retailers – you can find a list of our online stockists around the globe here.