I’ve received so many online shopping queries from you guys, I decided its finally time I put out a little info. Now we all know that I am a total online shopping addict! I buy everything from food (Woolworths) to underwear, books etc. Christmas shopping for me was made up of purchases from Kalahari, Amazon, Zando & Woolworths. I did not set foot in a mall until after Christmas. I love the convenience of the online world. No queues or snooty sales people who hate their jobs. Just me & my fingers clicking away.

Locally, I think many of you have adjusted to shopping online. We have so many options now: Zando, Spree, Style36, 5Rooms etc.  And this is really good for South African e-commerce. 

However, I gather that you are quite scared to venture into the international online shopping arena. Perhaps its fears of customs fees, or that you don’t trust that you will receive the correct parcel, or maybe even that you don’t know understand the size chart.

Here are a few TIPS & INFO from me to you. I hope they help put your mind at ease next time you shop online.

The Basics:
Aside from the obvious (a computer or smart device) you will need to have a credit card handy in order to make your purchase.  Now I know using a credit card on the web is a scary thing at first, but the trusted shops will always have a secure point of entry for your credit card info so that you are not a victim of fraud. Also, you could use PayPal. Many websites have a paypal form of payment. I use my paypal account for most things I do online. That means that whether or not I am paying for something on Asos or another site, it goes via my paypal account which is essentially the only place I actually put my credit card details in. The nice thing about paypal as well, is that it immediately shows you how much you will be paying in Rands. The Rand is very low at the moment, making buying anything in dollars/pounds very expensive. This is something you also need to look at when you make a purchase. I keep an exchange rate calculator open whenever I am shopping online.

Sizing:
I prefer to buy knit/jersey items as chances are you can get a way with it being a little small or big. Spandex helps here. I do know my sizing though. I am a size 6 /30 in South Africa. And when I buy from UK retailers, I buy a UK 6, but I can also get away with a UK 8 as well. 

With woven items, sizing may need to be a little more accurate as there is no stretch in them.  So, if you are unsure of your size, please use the size chart & keep a tape measure handy. 
Here is how you will need to measure yourself:


Bust: You will need to measure under your arms, at the fullest part of your chest. Stand up straight & even use a mirror to help you.

Waist: Measure around your natural waist. If you aren’t too sure where that is, it should be approximately 16cm below your underarm. Don’t make the tape measure too tight.

Hip: Measure about 20cm below your waist & this should be you hip.

Inseam:  This is basically the desired length for your pants/jeans.


Shipping:

While I have never had any issue with shipping, I have heard of people having their parcels lost. The truth is, it’s a reality & a risk. Take it or leave it. ASOS always has FREE SHIPPING which I love. Sometimes I even order 1 item just because Im not paying a shipping charge. I feel like when I have to pay for shipping, I want to buy more than 1 item just so that its not all added to my cost of the cost of 1 item. But that’s dangerous because you may end up buying things just for the sake of it, & you may not even like that item that much in the end. I’ve done this before, & let me tell you, its not worth it.


Customs:
With regards to customs fees, I honestly still haven’t figured out how they calculate this.  On ASOS, before the order goes through, a little disclaimer comes up saying that orders over R500 may incur customs fees. To me this doesn’t make sense because I never order for over R500 at a time via ASOS, & only on 1 occasion was I not charged customs.

Here are a few examples of transactions I have had:

ASOS (Order total R480) -> Paid over R160 in customs
ShopBop (Order total R450) -> No customs fees
Boohoo (Order total R300) -> Paid R148 in customs
ASOS (Order total R110) -> No customs fees

So, because I don’t fully understand how they calculate customs & because you just never know if it will be stopped or not; I have come up with a little formula for when I shop international online stores.

Cost of item + 50% of the item cost + Delivery (if any) = Is this item worth it?

And that’s basically how I look at each item. We will each value items differently so you make the call on the items whole value & decide if you are willing to spend that. Also, if you don’t end up paying customs fees then great. More money for you to spend lol.

I find that when shopping on ebay, I haven’t experienced having to pay customs fees. Perhaps it’s the sellers I have bought from, or the prices of the items, or maybe just luck.
Here are a few of my favourite online shopping destinations:



**Please note that what I have stated in the above post is my own experience with online shopping. Nothing I have said is law. Fashion by Brett Robson will not take any responsibility for any unforeseen costs you may incur when shopping online. As I have mentioned above, I use my own formula when working out the cost of an item. It works for me, but may not work for you.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, leave a comment below.