How to shop without trying anything on

In this strange time, one of the unfortunate realities, at least here in the UK, is that when you’re out on the high street, you can’t go into a fitting room to try anything on. All the fitting rooms have a sign that says ‘fitting room closed’.

Darn you Covid-19. Trying on clothes is half the fun of shopping.

We’re all in the same boat with this. So how do you buy something when you can’t try it on?

This is where knowing your size and body shape come into play. Bearing in mind that no two shops size the same (hello size 8 in M&S and size 12 in River Island) even this can be of little to no help.

However, a good starting point is to look at your existing wardrobe. What cuts and colours do you already own? Chances are that there’s a formula running through your clothes that you might not even be aware of. Identify this, and you’re off to a good start. Look for items of a similar cut and style. That way, you’ll know they should fit you and suit you.

Next, think about what shops you know you can rely on. I know I can wander into M&S and pick up any item in my size and it will fit. Ditto Primark. Where do you usually shop? Stick to your favourite stores and you should be able to find what you’re looking for.

Whipping out a tape measure is a fairly crucial step as well. Measure the important bits and check the shop size guides on their websites. One thing I would recommend is that if your measurements sit between two sizes, go for the larger one. It’s better to buy too big than too small. You can always take the item in or stick a belt on. And oversize always looks good.

Remember as well that many shops have extended or amended their return policies during the pandemic to allow shoppers more time to return items. Same with online shops. Don’t be afraid to send stuff back if it doesn’t fit or look good. We live in interesting times, rules are being waived or bent when it comes to returns.

Or you could do like the girl I saw in Primark a few weeks ago, and just try stuff on in the middle of the shop floor… she was thrown out, thank goodness, and everything she tried on was spirited away into the stock room. I mean just… I was totally stunned. Who does that?!

And a final note about shoes. Some shops aren’t allowing customers to try on shoes at all. Some are, but you must ask for assistance before you do. The shoes are then fully santized after you’ve tried them on, if you don’t buy them.

It’s a strange world out there. But we have to adapt, don’t we?

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