How to Avoid Becoming a Hit-and-Run Fashion Fatality Online

When I used to live in the city, I would use my lunch break from work to shop one-day sample sales. This had the dual advantage of keeping me slim (no lunch) and getting cool clothes at a bargain. Of course, there were no dressing rooms at these things and I still live in fear of the day a hidden camera tape surfaces on the internet of me ripping off my top in the middle of a showroom to try on a sample shirt.

Once we had kids and moved to the suburbs, however, my sample sale days came to an end, which was a good thing since the sight of me getting shirtless in public would probably have scarred my children for life.

Then I discovered online sample sales. On the plus side, no showroom disrobing. On the downside, you can’t really tell size, cut or quality until you get it home and find out you either bought a dress for a doll or a pair of clown pants.

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Fortunately, I have figured out how to avoid this disappointment by sticking with my Top 10 hard and fast rules for online shopping:

1. I do not buy anything that is called a frock. In reality, a frock is just a dress. But If they call it a frock, you know they are trying to make it sound better than it really is and probably would only look good on your pet poodle or in a revival of “The Sound of Music.”

2. I do not buy anything that is called a smock. When I was growing up, we wore a smock to protect our “good” clothes when we did art projects. That doesn’t bode well for the hipness of a smock.

3. I do not buy anything they refer to as Boho-chic. It’s either Boho or it’s chic, but it can’t be both. Look at the pictures of your mom from Woodstock. That was Boho. But was it chic? I don’t think so.

4. I do not buy any jackets called puffers. If it starts out puffy before I even put it on, I have no doubt I will look like the Michelin Man in it.

5. I don’t buy rompers. Five-year olds wear rompers. I will not look like a 5-year old if I buy a romper. I will just look like a really stupid 50-year-old.

6. I don’t buy jumpsuits. See point No. 5.

7. I don’t buy any dress described as babydoll because the sight of me in one would certainly scar my children almost as much as the sight of me shirtless in a sample sale showroom.

8. I do not buy any jeans that are described as high-waisted. Unless you are a Victoria’s Secret model, they are mom jeans, plain and simple, and they will make my butt look so big astronauts could see it from the International Space Station.

9. I do not buy anything described as a miracle. Even if it cinches you in one area, all that fat has to go somewhere and chances are, it’s gonna make some other part of you look twice as big as it really is.

10. I do not buy anything covered in faux animal prints. Giraffes look good in reticulated spots. Me? Not so much. Especially if it is an animal-print frock.

For more Lost in Suburbia, follow Tracy on Facebook at or on Twitter @TracyBeckerman.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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