Standing in line laden with coat hangers waiting to squeeze yourself into your potential new purchase can be a time consuming task.
Although the process of trying before you buy is the best policy when it comes to clothes shopping, I can see why more and more people are shunning shopping centres in favour of online ordering. Trying on a new look in store may sound like a simple task but it’s a process littered with minefields.
First you face the unflattering mirror gauntlet - a risk every shopper must take when venturing into a curtained cubicle full of hope and optimism. Before you know it, you’re looking at a 360 degree reflection of yourself that resembles a vision from a circus house of mirrors rather than the svelte model on the poster.
Then there’s the risk of genuine injury when you ambitiously try to squeeze into a size 10 knowing full well you’re more likely to be a 12. There’s no greater fashion faux pas than being faced with shoulder dislocation or the prospect of asking a fitting room assistant to help you out of an item of clothing.
Pitfalls aside, you know shopping in store guarantees you an instant decision on whether to part with your hard earned cash.
Ordering online in the comfort of your own home may have its perks but I don’t think I’ve ever received an online shop without having to send at least one item back - usually because the item modelled online by a size 0 model looks nothing like it should in real life. But when these online favourites are offering a free returns policy why not fill your boots? Get a variety of colours and sizes, see what suits and send the rest back.
All well and good you may say but taking advantage of free returns policies may actually be hitting us in the pocket in the long run. It seems the rise of the ‘serial returner’ - online shoppers who order clothes in a range of sizes only to send the majority of them back - are to blame for the spiralling cost of women’s clothes.
According to a study by Columino, two thirds of women return online purchases and the process cost the UK shops £95.8m in 2013 alone. Covering the cost of the postage, processing and storage is clearly taking its toll so maybe it’s time to stop surfing the net and brave the changing room to ensure we safeguard future fashion bargains for generations to come.