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Recently I wrote a guide on how to shop for lingerie online, but the purchase doesn’t end there. In store, you’d typically try a garment on and make your mind up then and there on whether you want it. When shopping online though, that decision-making process happens at home.

Once the goodies show up, it’s time to evaluate them, and here’s how to do it.

First things first

Don’t remove any tags until you’re absolutely certain that you want to keep the lingerie. Once they’re gone, the shop will probably refuse to accept the garment back. The same goes for any hygiene stickers that may be inside the gussets of briefs and bodysuits.

Now, check the lingerie for any signs of damage. Look for marks, torn lace or unravelling seams. Satisfied that things look great? Awesome. Now it’s time to check it fits…

Trying the lingerie on

Of course, you want to make sure that you don’t damage the lingerie yourself. Either you won’t like the set, in which case you’ll need it in perfect condition to return it, or you’ll love it, in which case you will definitely want it to stay looking gorgeous and new.

The best way to avoid any damage is to try the lingerie on when you’re fresh out of the shower, without any body lotion, deodorant, perfume or makeup on that could stain or scent the clothing. Try briefs and anything else with a crotch on over your own underwear because, yes, gusset stains are a thing and yes, those will definitely invalidate your right to a refund!

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Related: How To Buy Lingerie Online

So, will you keep it?

Don’t keep lingerie that you’re not in love with. If the fit’s a little off, or it’s not as comfy as you were hoping for, chances are it will just end up languishing at the back of your lingerie drawer.

Yes, you may have to pay to send it back, but the cost of that is usually only a fraction of the lingerie’s value. If it’s the size that isn’t quite right, most stores will ship a replacement in a different size out to you for free once they receive your first order back.

Yay, you’re keeping it!

You adore the lingerie; it fits great, makes you feel fabulous, and you couldn’t be happier with your purchase. Woohoo! High five! But wait – you’ve just yanked the tags off and torn a whopping great hole in your new favourite bra… Don’t let this heartbreak happen to you. Always snip the tags off carefully with a pair of scissors instead.

You probably can’t wait to wear your new lingerie set. However, a little patience is better here. You don’t know how many other people have tried on or handled the set on before you did, and even if it’s fresh-from-the-factory new, there will still be dyes and other chemicals in the fabric that could irritate sensitive skin. So I’d recommend to carefully wash the lingerie before the first wear.

There’s one last step that isn’t obligatory but is always appreciated – leave a review. If you love your new lingerie then this is a great way to thank and support the store that sold it to you, and you’ll be helping other customers like you to make their mind up about a purchase too.

Boohoo, you’re returning it

Sadly, even the most experienced online shopper will end up needing to return an item here and there. Especially with something that needs to fit as precisely as a bra does, it’s just impossible to get it right every time when you’re not able to try things on.

Now, if the reason for the return is the store’s fault (such as being sent the wrong size or lingerie that turned up flawed), drop them an email to let them know. Be polite! Mistakes happen, and I’ve even had lingerie stores offer to ship out a replacement without me needing to send the faulty product back.

Probably though, you will need to return the garment. However, any good lingerie boutique will cover the cost of sending it back where they’re the ones at fault. You may be sent a pre-paid shipping label, or you may need to pay the postage up-front which the store will add onto your refund. Ask the boutique to clarify this when contacting them, if it’s not made clear in their returns policy.

Related: The Golden Rules Of Online Shopping

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Whatever your reason for returning your lingerie purchase, even if it’s just that you changed your mind, be sure to follow these four steps:

 1.  Check if you need a return authorization number (or RA#). Some lingerie stores won’t accept a return without one, or may take longer to process your refund or exchange.

 2.  Write ‘returned goods’ clearly on the packet if you’re posting it abroad. This will avoid the lingerie boutique potentially being charged a customs fee (which could be deducted from your refund, or they may simply refuse to accept the parcel).

 3.  Package your return well, ideally in the same packaging you received it in. You’re responsible for the lingerie until the boutique receives it back, so if it’s damaged in transit – moulded cups get crushed, or a paper envelope gets wet, for example – that could affect your right to a refund.

 4.  Speaking of the lingerie being your responsibility until it reaches its destination, make sure you choose a postal service that’s trackable and insured. This way, in the unlikely event your parcel goes missing, you’ll still be able to claim a refund for it from the shipping company.

Featured lingerie:
Parfait Ellie Unlined Wire Bra P5082 | Parfait Ellie Hipster P5105 in Pewter/Nude

How do you evaluate a lingerie purchase you’ve made online? Do you generally find the returns process for bra shopping on the web easy and hassle-free? Let us know in the comments below!

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Estelle Puleston

Estelle Puleston is the founder of, a blog dedicated to her love of lingerie. She works full-time as a copywriter and digital marketer for the lingerie and swimwear industry, and when she’s not doing that, she’s probably sewing or enjoying a good cup of tea.

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