It's a great time of year for online shopping. Stores are getting ready to reveal sales and discounts as they prepare for a busy back-to-school season and the prep for cooler weather. Summer clothes and swimsuits will start going on sale soon, meaning it's a great time to take advantage of lower prices.

Personally, I like shopping in physical stores, but with over 27% of people shopping for clothes online, it's definitely a booming business. There are so many cool indie stores, independent business owners, and international brands that offer their wares online, which has made shopping for cute, unique, and affordable fashion more in-reach than ever.

Generally, I don't like to order things online, but there are some stores only available online or just super cute styles that I can only purchase online. I always try to look at the sizing charts provided to ensure I am ordering the correct size and go by the sizes I normally wear. I also try to use past experiences with the brand or style of clothing to determine the size I need to order.

A few months ago, I made my first online purchase from a brand called Valfré, which for the most part, is only available online. I had been following the brand for a long time and finally saw something that I loved. After checking the sizing chart, scrutinizing the picture of the model, and reading reviews, I opted for the size that I thought would fit best.

When the shirt arrived, I was pleased to find that it fit just fine. Actually, the shirt was a little bit too big. I cropped the bottom of the tee myself to fit better. It's still a little bit bigger than I normally like, but I am still pretty happy with it.

Recently, I saw a new collection launched on Valfré's site that I was really excited about. Again, I reviewed the sizing chart and the pictures provided to determine the size. The size chart provided for this item was the exact same as the one provided for the last shirt. So I decided that even though the shirt was a different style, the last one was so big and long that this shirt should fit really well in the same size.

When the shirt arrived and I tried it on, I was very disappointed. It didn't fit at all as expected and was not flattering. I decided the best bet would be to return it. However, I am really frustrated with the whole experience. I redeemed rewards points to use towards my purchase and wanted to find out if these points are added back to the account upon return (I assume the answer is no, but I wanted to ask because the points were worth $20). I emailed their customer support five days ago and have not yet heard back, so I'm already pretty annoyed. The experience does not make me want to return as a customer.

Before packaging the shirt back up for return, I wanted to compare its size to that of the last shirt I bought from the company. On the tag, both shirts are the same size, however, the difference in physical size is pretty big.

Here are the different shirts as they appear on the models on the site:



According to the site, both models are wearing the same size shirt. Their bodies must be very different because the white tank top is much smaller than the other shirt.

Here's what the shirts looked like in comparison with each other. Keep in mind, the black shirt is actually longer. The white top is intended to be cropped and I manually cropped the black top myself, so the length appears even.

Paige Ryan

Again, the white top is intended to be more of a summer crop top (even though that's not really apparent in the pictures on the website) so the length/neckline is not the issue. There is just a lot more fabric and width to the black top. Even if the white top is intended to be tighter fitting, there are several inches of difference in size. To me, these two items should not be listed as the same size. There's no way to know how much smaller this top will be just by looking at what the site provides, such as the models' photos or the sizing chart. Even if you've ordered from this company before, you would find that the white top is not going to fit the same way.

While I understand how these types of differences can occur across brands, styles, and different types of fabric, these shirts are the same brand and the same fabric. If the fit is intended to be so radically different, this should be reflected on the sizing chart or in the pictures showing the product.

We all know women's clothing is hard to shop for. When you're buying online, it's even harder to find the right fit. I believe companies should work harder to be more transparent to their customers and give them a better shopping experience. Even though I really like the style of this brand, I find it hard to picture myself shopping for clothing from them in the future based on this disappointing experience.