Saturday, September 6, 2014

How to Leave an Online Review

I do a lot of online shopping, both inside and out of Lolita. And it is the bane of my existence to be searching for information...any information on a garment strictly available online, only to find one or two sad little one line "reviewers" that leave me even more confused than before. I have wasted a lot of time and money purchasing and altering clothes and shoes that can not be returned.  Many times however, these types of mistakes could have been avoided if those who chose to review had the foresight to do so properly. So, partly as an instruction manual and partly out of my need to rant, here it is:

How to Leave an Online Review

image from

1. List your measurements: And yes. I do mean ALL your measurements. Nothing is more infuriating than reading:

"This fit great! I ordered a size Large and though it was a little oversized it wasn't too baggy and hit me write at my knees."

That's fantastic...except I have absolutely no idea how tall you are. And I'm not being facetious here, you would be surprised just how many people expect others to be psychic in knowing their size. For all I know the reviewer could be 5' of 5'9", and that really does make a HUGE difference if I'm trying to decide if a size large will work for me or not. What could hit someone at the knees in a Large size might hit someone else mid-calf and someone else high on her thigh. With a review like this however, she'll have a difficult time figuring that out.  Here's another example:

"I'm 5'4" and 130 lbs, I ordered a Medium and it was too big. Definitely order a size down!"

In this case the reviewer left her height, which is fantastic....but her weight tells us very little. She could be a muscular, athletic 130 lbs, or she could be a svelte, super slender 130 lbs, or a softer, untoned 130 lbs. Maybe she's an apple shape and carries a lot of weight in her tummy, or pear shaped and bottom heavy or maybe she's very large chested with slender hips. We don't know because all she told us was her basic height and weight. We can line up ten individuals of the same height and weight and every single one can be built drastically different, and while some might need to order a size Small like the reviewer, others might need that Medium or even a large based purely on how her body is built.

So, if nothing else, PLEASE list your measurements. At the very least, please include your height, bust (both cup size as well as an actual measurement in inches are extremely useful) and waist measurements. Keep in mind, because every store (and country) is different, telling us you're about a "medium" or a "size ten" mean absolutely nothing. If you're feeling generous it's never a bad idea to include other sizes such as shoulder width if you're reviewing a blouse, or calf circumference if you're discussing the fit of tall boots. Remember, the word average means absolutely nothing. Numbers are what count.

2. List the garments' size : I know this seems like common sense, but you don't know how many times I've run into a review like this:

"I'm 5' and have a 28 inch waist. This hit me just about an inch above my knee and was about an inch too big on me, but it's easily fixed with a belt. Super cute!"

......Okay. But what SIZE did you order? When the options available range from XS-XXL, am I just supposed to make an educated guess? Depending on where the garment is from, a 28 inch waist literally could be sold as a size XS all the way up to an XXL. Yes, hopefully the website selling the item would have a size chart to go by, but I'm sure I'm not the only way to experience the intense disappointment of ordering something that should have fit according to a size chart, only to realize it's about four inches too short and one size too slim to ever fit.

Additionally, it's also quite helpful to list a few basic measurements of the garment itself, such as its length and width. It's not necessary to delve into every excruciating detail, but if something seems particularly strange (the crotch of a pair of pants feel oddly low), it's best to make a note and explain it as accurately as possible.

3. Fact v. Opinion: So it's pretty much a given that any review is going to have some opinion of the reviewer included and that's fine, but don't forget facts as well! It's fine to say you think the shoes delivered are ugly and cheap looking, but don't forget to explain WHY. It's useful, especially with negative reviews, to give clear reasoning (were they scuffed up and dingy? Not the color as advertised? Falling apart at the heel?) as to why you feel the way you do, or else one can simply chalk it up to personal taste when there could genuinely be something defective or misleading about the product that other people should probably know.

4. Photos: Lastly, photos are always nice. These can be of the garment itself, and detail shots are especially useful. Photos of the item actually being worn is also quite handy for those who might appreciate a visual. Of course at times taking a photo of the garment may not be possible, but of the four this particular point I find the least important as long as it is thoroughly described, including specific detail in any flaws or unexpected details (such as hidden pockets, no lining on a skirt, etc.).

I know no one is perfect. We're all human and make mistakes, and I too have made my own share of mistakes when leaving reviews. But I think we can all agree that a few snapshots of a dress or skirt and the exclamation of "It's so cute! I recommend everyone buy one!" hardly counts as a review and shouldn't be labeled as such. Especially in the world of Lolita, where so much is bought  sight unseen, there's no denying that the more information there is out there, the better it is for all of us to make informed choices. 


  1. Oh goodness, this post is so on the mark! Vague reviews are positively maddening! I'm sure my own reviews could be a little better (I actually went through them recently to add more measurements), but I have honestly seen reviews where people list no measurements whatsoever, or just talk about how cute they think something is without going into any details. They take no close-up shots, or use grainy photos, or don't take photos at all to illustrate all of the points they've made!

    A lot of the time, I think it might be a case of people not understanding the difference between a haul post, and an informative post.

    1. Haha thank you, I'm glad you agree! I admit, this was a little bit of a venting post after I searched the internet high and low trying to find ANY further information about the sizing on a dress I wanted to purchase. I simply can not understand what is so difficult about listing so basic measurements!

      But you're right, sometimes people just want to write a haul post and show off their pretty new things. It's easy to grow irritated (especially when a good sum of money is on the line), but I know I should learn to let things go once in awhile. We're all human after all!


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