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January 01, 2010

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How to Buy Jeans Online
August 22 | Searching For…

Ladies in Jeans
You’ve come a long way baby!  Here are two women in Utah working on the railroad during World War II, in jeans of course.

It’s true that the best way to shop for jeans is to try them on before you buy, but for busy gals or people like me who hate malls, it’s worth the risk to shop online.  Never mind the fact that an afternoon of jeans shopping can make a woman loathe herself. 

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert, since I’ve only bought jeans online three times.  But I do think there’s a method to the madness.  Here’s what I’ve found to be helpful when shopping for denim online:

Read the description carefully!  The best sites offer detailed descriptions of the rise, inseam, materials, wash and fit.  Some sights will even recommend sizing up or sizing down.  Last year, I bought a pair of marked down James jeans on the Neiman Marcus website that didn’t really thrill me.  The rise was a little too long and the denim was a bit stiffer than I expected.  I should have paid attention to the description instead of getting excited about the sale price.

Go for the sites that offer more than one or two pictures.  Sure the models or the mannequins can’t give you a true view of what the jeans will look like on your body, but it does help to see the different angles and close ups.  Check out the pocket size and placement.  Make sure there aren’t any whiskers or fading if you want a plain wash.   Double check that the leg opening is what you want.

Find out if the site offers styling advice.  Sites like Girlshop and Jake make it easy to ask questions about products.  You can email your questions to an online who will give you more details like how certain brands will fit.  Email more than one website.  Then see which one gets back to you faster and offers the best advice. 

Check for a fit guide.   You wear a size 27 in Citizens of Humanity jeans and you wonder if you should get the same size when buying Joe’s jeans?  Some sites have fit guides where you can compare different brands on a handy chart.  This may be especially helpful for those of you who are between sizes.

Get familiar with return and exchange policies!  Next to the descriptions, this is the next most important thing to know.  Does the site offer a full refund or do you get store credit?  Are sale items returnable?  Don’t be surprised if they are not.  How many days do you have to send something back?  Do they offer free return shipping?  Do the tags need to be on to get a refund?  An advantage to buying from an online site that has a brick and mortar store is that returns and exchanges are easier.   But it’s not always possible when you want to buy from a store based in Chicago and you don’t live there.  My advice is to buy from a site that lets you return full priced items and doesn’t make you pay for it.  If you’re going to take a chance on a sale item, go over the description again and ask yourself if you really can’t live without it.

Know your body and don’t go balls out over every trend.  Remember super lowrise jeans and how otherwise sane women would reveal butt crack that no one needed to see?  Thankfully that didn’t last forever.  Everything goes in cycles and jeans are definitely no exception.  You’ll be happier with your denim purchase if you know what looks good on you.  That sounds like a given, but I’m constantly amazed at what women will wear for the sake of following a trend.  Not everyone is going to look good in a super skinny jean.  Besides, who knows what’s next after this trend fades.  When you wear denim make sure your ass looks good, your legs look long and you feel like a rock star!    

Here’s a list of some of my favorite online stores for jeans.  I haven’t bought at all of these sites so I can’t vouch for the customer service of each business.  I’m listing them for the quality of the website, descriptions and pictures, and for their denim selection.

Active Endeavors

Revolve Clothing


Azalea Online (Here’s a boutique that has some smaller denim lines.  Some of the descriptions are more detailed than others but the pictures are good for the most part)

If you have an online denim buying experience you want to share or you have a favorite that wasn’t included on this list, email me and let me know.  I’m off to search online for the perfect dark, straight leg jeans!


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