I wouldn’t say I’m a fashionista, but I do like new clothes.

When I used to live in the city, I would use my lunch break at 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 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, my sample sale days came to an end, which was a good thing because the sight of me going shirtless in public would probably have scarred my children for life.

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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 from a picture unless you really know the brand you are shopping. This has led to more than one impulse buy that ended with me at the UPS store mailing back something that looked great online but looked like an outfit for Burlesque Barbie in real life.

Fortunately, I have figured out how to avoid this disappointment by sticking with these Top 10 Rules for Online Clothes Shopping:

1. I do not buy anything that is called a “frock.” It’s either a dress or a long shirt. 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. 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; it can’t be both. Look at the pictures of your mom at Woodstock. That was boho. Is that 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.

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 will 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’s blog at lostinsuburbia.com.