When I first moved here, I had major withdrawals from clothes shopping. Not that I was ever a huge consumerholic or a fashion victim, but I enjoyed window shopping and seeing city billboards plastered with new dresses or cool shoes.
There are no billboards in my town (which I’ve grown to appreciate), a few clothes stores and only one shoe shop.
Over the past eight years, my periodic cravings for new clothes have gradually lessened, but every now and then I just want something NEW. I don’t need it, I want it.
Of course, there are loads of gorgeous ankle boots online. Online shopping is your best friend and your worst enemy when you live in a country town. I succumbed to my craving the other night and bought some tan leather ankle boots with cute side zips. When they arrived, they didn’t fit (of course) even though they were ‘my size’. What’s with clothing and shoe sizes these days, anyway? They’re all over the shop.
So, I had to send my ankle boots back and it prompted me to encourage you to shop locally and support small business, but if you must buy online, here are a few tips:
1. Wine and online shopping don’t mix
Don’t go anywhere near the computer at night if you’ve had a couple of wines, because in your inebriated state you will imagine that pink tutu dress will look exactly like something Carrie wore in Sex And The City on you. But when it arrives in the morning mail three days later and you try it on, you will be sober (hopefully) and it will look totally ridiculous in the cold light of day, and you will have wasted 100 big ones (why doesn’t eBay give refunds for bad purchases under the influence?).
2. Location, location, location
You live in the country now (remember?) so you have nowhere to wear that one-shouldered tight black dress with the studs down the side (can someone have a party with an S&M theme soon so I can wear it? Otherwise, it’s collecting dust until my next trip to Sydney).
3. Yes, you can buy jeans
No really, you can. And I’m not someone who is straight up and down. But only buy them if they are really expensive well-cut designer jeans that have been heavily “discounted” (e.g. they’ve fallen off the back of a truck, like the ones I got from a guy with a Latino name from Miami). Make sure they have a lot of stretch in them, otherwise, they won’t fit no matter what size they are.
4. Swimwear is banned
Never, ever under any circumstances buy a bikini that looks awesome on that 15-year-old size 8 model in the photo. NEVER!!!!! Especially if it has cut-out holes in the side of the bikini bottoms that will squeeze your hip fat into golf balls.
5. Don’t be sucked in by the colour
Don’t buy a dress just because in the photo it’s a beautiful sapphire blue silk and although the design looks a little, um, ‘quirky’ you’re sure the right belt will fix it. If there’s only one front-on photo you can be sure that side-on, it’s going to look like a parachute and in no way is it something you will be able to fix, especially since you can’t sew. (That one is still hanging up while I decide whether to re-sell it, give it to the op-shop).
6. It’s all in the detail
There’s a reason why that fantastic leather bag is being sold so cheap: the design sucks balls. Sure, the leather is nice, but the bag is massive and has a tiny strap that belongs on an evening bag and even though it said “extendable strap”, they took poetic license with the word “extendable” so now you’re stuck with what is basically a leather rectangle that will most likely it will sit in the corner of your room until you get the shits and take it to the op shop.
7. Ignore the price
Yes, you read that right. You have no idea how many cute little tops and skirts I have clogging up my drawers just because I scored them for $5.00 when the person selling them told me they were originally $100. A good buy is not a good buy if you didn’t really want it or need it in the first place.
8. Cotton can be cool…or not
Just because something says “cotton” doesn’t mean it will be the sort of cotton you think it is. That dress with the really cool batik print that you imagine is an exotic Indian cotton, is actually daggy T-shirt cotton and probably came from Best and Less or K-Mart. And T-shirt dresses went out in the 80s.
9. Know your weights and measures
This applies to all jewellery purchases. Those beautiful dangly half-moon earrings could actually double as hand-weights but they don’t tell you that in the ad, you only find out when you put them into your ears and your earlobes drop to the ground. When it comes to jewellery, ask questions about the size and weight of them. If you forget to ask and end up having a jewellery mishap like me, just give them to your friends for birthday presents.
10. Sometimes, the cheapest shit is totally awesome
I took a punt and bought some invisible bra tape, totally convinced it would not work. But it worked like MAGIC! It was better than any bra I’ve ever worn, kept my girls in place under a skimpy top, and it was only $4.99 with free postage. Cheaper than a bra, but you wouldn’t want to get your gear off in front of your man wearing it (imagine if he took his pants off and his testicles were taped up….ew).