Has anyone else trained themselves to avoid any non UK-based websites when online shopping? After a few too many experiences where I’ve been surprised with a massive customs charge and not even liked the item once it arrived, I’ve somehow managed to filter certain brands out. Of course, this isn’t helped whenever I catch someone in an amazing dress or using a foundation colour that you can only get abroad. I’ve somehow not managed to make it to America in over five years (sob) so when GoSend asked me to test out their shipping service, I thought it was a great way to put my ordering skills to the test. I find that you have to alter your mindset somewhat when buying from any overseas website, so I thought I’d share a few tips (and mistakes) I’ve made along the way!
The Ordering Process
One of the most important things is that you can get an estimate of the customs charge before deciding to release products (there’s a 50:50 chance that your shipment may get flagged). Another bonus is that you can make use of any free-shipping deals when you shop, before consolidating all your items into one shipment. GoSend also repackage your shopping so it’s lighter and my items arrived a week later after using the cheapest shipping service.
My Tips For Shopping Across The Pond
- Know your size – Make sure you’re familiar with all the sizing differences of the particular brand and be honest about your current measurements. You’re better off ordering something a little larger and getting it altered, rather than going too small and having to send it back on that cross-Atlantic journey. Reformation is not known for the most boob-friendly styles (luckily they provide matter-of-fact descriptions with each item), so I thought I’d size up. I’m a UK 10, so the jumpsuit fit perfectly in a medium, but the size 12 dress pulls a little at the bust. I’m hoping to alter it a little (or find some kind of magical minimiser).
- Swot up on construction & fabrics – I tend to predict how items will look on me by comparing it with similar items I already have in my wardrobe. I looked at where the waist-placement was on the jumpsuit, decided it was high enough and knew that it was a style that suited me. Also double check the fabric content to try and gauge how it might fit your body. As a rule, cottons and linens can be quite stiff, whereas polyester and viscose will drape more depending on the style.
- Take calculated risks – Now’s not the time to be ordering a hot pink, off-the-shoulder maxi dress if you’ve never tried one in your life. It’s probably best stick to things like jackets, tops and dresses rather than denim if you’ve never bought from the brand before. When it comes to beauty, look at YouTubers with your skin tone (Jackie Aina seems to be a close match for me, plus she’s hilarious too) to see whether things like palettes and even foundations can work. Temptalia has a handy swatch gallery, so you can compare shades to what you currently have.
- Triple check everything – Did I tell you about the time I once ordered a dress and only realised that it had a netted underskirt when it arrived? Reread the descriptions, check all the images of the item and try to imagine yourself wearing it in at least three different ways. I’ve searched forums and asked friends but sometimes you will end up having to bite the bullet. Just remind yourself that it’s cheaper than a flight!
- Be strategic – If you find one thing you like, then it’s worth looking around for other bits and bobs to make the shipping cost worthwhile. I think that GoSend is a useful service if you want to repurchase certain beauty items or if a sale comes up and you spot the kind of bargains that don’t make it over here.