As a very short girl (under 5′), I’m not exactly sample size. Consequently, the fitting room is a close personal friend. I prefer to try things on multiple times before making a purchase—much to the annoyance of those I’m shopping with. Sorry, but garments that work well for the vertically challenged are tough to find!
So, what converted this reticent cyber shopper?
Retailers and e-commerce companies like Amazon have seriously upped their game with fashion-forward options for bodies of all shapes and sizes. Add to that super affordable prices and highly detailed sizing information—including reviews and photos from real customers—and it’s hard to resist.
I particularly enjoy purchasing Amazon dresses for work, as do many news anchors. I’ve tried four styles so far and had to return only one (I have detailed reviews on each four below). However, it’s not a complete love affair. If you’ve never shopped Amazon fashion before, here are four things to know BEFORE buying.
Sizes fluctuate with Amazon fashions, but trend small. If you are looking for a work-appropriate fit, I highly recommend sizing up. A lot of Amazon dresses are unlined, so a fit that skims your figure rather than hugging it will be most flattering. I lean heavily on sizing charts and reviews, especially customer photos, when making my choice. Know your measurements and take them carefully.
You could also give Prime Wardrobe a shot. I recently discovered this try-before-you-buy service. It essentially brings the fitting room to you. Unlike Rent The Runway Unlimited or Stitch Fix, it’s not a subscription. You pick your items and only pay for what you want. It is still in its testing phase and available only to select Prime subscribers, but you can now request an invitation yourself.
This sounds like a given, but is SO important. If you see an item that has no reviews, I wouldn’t take a chance on it. No one likes to be a guinea pig! When I shop, I look for items that have at least four stars. Consider everything reviewers are saying and look for photos that show how the dress looks on women with a similar body type. People usually comment on dress length, color, fabric quality and fit. Read enough reviews and you should be able to order quite confidently.
Make sure to read any notes about the item you are considering very carefully. This V-Neck Amazon dress is an example of that. As you can see above, Amazon links to a sizing chart. However, it is NOT the correct chart for this particular garment.
Is your iron ready? It’s easy to be thrown off a bit when you pull a wrinkled dress from your shipping bag. Unlike shopping in stores, where you take home a pressed and pristine piece, Amazon dresses often arrive a little rumpled. Resist judging the item until you have properly ironed it. Sometimes a dress that looks ill fitting, just has an awkward crease from transit.
Amazon fashions will arrive in a resealable bag. Make sure you keep it in a safe spot with all of the original packaging, until you have decided if you plan on returning your item. Amazon offers free returns on many of its dresses and makes the process fairly simple. You just print a label at home, stick your item in the resealable bag and drop it off at a USP location.
First up, the blue V-neck dress pictured above. I consider it a real winner. The fabric is much thicker and more forgiving than most Amazon dresses. It has pockets (who doesn’t love that) and a figure-flattering waistband that whittles your waistline. This dress feels equally at home in the office or for casual day time wear with sandals and wedges. Size wise it runs a bit larger than other Amazon dresses I’ve ordered and is more true to standard sizes. I ordered the small and typically wear size 0 or 2 dresses in other brands. It was rather long on me. I took it up 2 inches, so if you are taller you will love this.
This printed sheath dress is my new favorite. You can’t beat the $23.99 price. I was a little concerned it would be see through, as it is unlined. Thankfully, the fabric is thick enough and—with proper undergarments—quite flattering. I recommend sizing up for a work-appropriate fit. You can see additional photos in this blog post. I didn’t need to do any hemming on this, so it’s petite-friendly. Taller ladies may find it a bit short.
This peplum pencil dress was a no for me. I found the color quite different from the online pictures. In addition, the fabric felt cheap and thin compared to other Amazon dresses I have ordered.
The peplum detail was too exaggerated and felt costume-like on my petite frame. If you are taller, it might work better for you. I ordered the small.
Last up, this lovely collared dress. It was my very first Amazon dress experience and once I tried it on, I was hooked! It was so unique and flattering, almost reminiscent of what former first ladies have worn. I love finding things that have a vintage and historic feel. In addition, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality, considering it is under $30.
It runs small, so you will want to size up. The fabric has quite a bit of stretch and will hug your curves nicely. Keep in mind, it is unlined. It was quite long on me, so I hemmed it up 2 1/2 inches. Got questions about Amazon fashion? Please let me know in the comments below and I’ll answer as best I can!