How to Buy the Perfect Jacket Online

Want to buy a jacket without the hassle of going into a store? Camping & Hiking expert Jessica LaPolla shares her tips for buying the best jacket online.

A man with a red jacket faces away from the camera in a forested landscape.

Photo by Simon Migaj

I don’t know about you, but online shopping has become more than just a hobby in my household. Over the last year, I made more online purchases than ever before, with everything I needed just a click away. Buying online can be convenient, fast, and fun. It has also been the safest option for most people during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are some online purchases, however, that are more complicated than others.

Purchasing a jacket online can take a lot of consideration, especially when deciding on what size to buy. You may be confused by the size chart and measurements or feel daunted by making such a big purchase without seeing the item in person. You may not know where to start, but don’t worry; I’m going to go through a few simple but important tips to help you find the perfect jacket online.

Look at the Size Chart

This may sound straightforward, but the first step you should take when deciding on a jacket size online is to consult the manufacturer’s size chart. This will give you a few different pieces of information, such as the type of sizing the company uses and how it is determined. It will also sometimes tell you what type of fit the jacket is (for example, whether it’s oversized or slim).

When consulting the size chart, look for the corresponding list of measurements and see if they are listed in centimeters or inches. Usually, jacket sizing is based on chest and waist measurements, though arm length and hip measurements are sometimes included as well. If you’re on the taller size, definitely look at the arm length measurements if there are any. Some brands also carry “long” sizes, which are usually longer in both the sleeve length and torso length.

Many brands also carry petite sizes and plus sizes, so be on the lookout for those specifications and seek out brands that accommodate your body type. You can do a bit of research on this beforehand to narrow down your search for the perfect jacket.

Know Your Measurements

It is important to know and understand your measurements when making a clothing purchase online. If you don’t know them, break out the tape measure, take your measurements, and then write them down so you have them handy for future purchases. Here’s how to take some common measurements you’ll want to look for when buying a jacket:

Chest

To take your chest measurement, wrap a tape measure around the widest or fullest part of your chest. Make sure the measuring tape is level for accuracy.

Waist

To measure your waist, you’ll want to find where your natural waist is; usually just below your ribcage. To be certain, bend slightly to one side and look for the crease in your waist. Wrap the tape measure around you where the crease is, keeping it even on both sides.

Hips

For your hip measurement, measure around the widest part of your hips, using the same technique as before. Make sure to keep the tape measure level.

Arms

To measure your arm length, place one of your hands on your hip so your arm is bent. Place the start of the measuring tape at your collarbone or the base of your neck and run the tape measure all the way down your arm to your wrist. This will tell you the length that your jacket sleeves should be.

These measurements can be difficult to take by yourself, so it’s best to find a friend or family member to help you out. After you have your measurements, consult the size chart again and look for the size that best matches your measurements. But wait! Before you select a size, there are a few other factors to consider.

Two rock climbers wearing jackets sitting at the bottom of a rock wall prepping for their climb

Photo by Curated expert Connor Hult

Size Up When Buying a Jacket

It is important to consider the purpose of the jacket you’re buying. Is it a fitted jacket to be worn over a single layer? Or is it an outer layer that you want to put over several other pieces of clothing? If it is the latter, you will want to go with a size larger than what your measurements call for. This will ensure your jacket fits properly over other layers. If the jacket is meant to be fitted, select the size that is closest to your measurements, if possible. If you fall between sizes, go with the larger size to be on the safe side.

What Is the Jacket Made of?

Something else to consider when buying a jacket online is what materials the jacket is made of. This usually determines how much “give” or “slack” the jacket will have and whether or not it will stretch. Synthetic materials like polyester can sometimes be less giving than natural fibers like wool or cotton.

Men’s vs. Women’s Jackets

Unfortunately, there aren’t many gender-neutral or unisex options out there, so most people choose a jacket from either the men’s or women’s sections available. When deciding on which to purchase from, consider a few things: men’s jackets will inherently run larger than women’s but may actually be tighter in some areas. Women’s jackets usually accommodate for wider hip measurements, while men’s jackets tend to taper off or narrow at the hips. Men’s jackets usually have wider chest and shoulder measurements in comparison to women’s jackets. Lastly, you may have to size up or down, depending on what type of jacket you decide to go with.

What Else Can You Do to Find the Right Size?

At this point, you have what you believe to be the perfect size in mind, but there is one more thing you can do to make sure you get the perfect fit: take a look at the customer reviews and look for notes on sizing. If the majority of reviews are telling you that the jacket runs small, go up a size, and if it runs large, do the opposite. If someone says the jacket is really long and you are on the shorter size, consider going with a petite option.

Last but not least, when buying a jacket online, make sure the manufacturer or store you are purchasing from takes returns. Check out its shipping and return policies to make sure you will have time to send the jacket back if it doesn’t fit. Remember to wear different layers when trying on the jacket at home to make sure you have selected the right size, and don’t rip the tags off in excitement before you’re sure. If you have any questions on finding the right jacket for your needs, please feel free to chat with me or one of my fellow Camping & Hiking experts here on Curated for free advice and recommendations. Good luck, and happy online shopping!

Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
Jessica LaPolla
Jessica LaPolla
Camping & Hiking Expert
Hi there! I have always had a deep love for the outdoors, having grown up on my family's horse farm in New Jersey. I began hiking and camping at a young age and started backpacking as a young adult. I now enjoy taking weekend backpacking trips with my dogs and rock climbing with my partner. This yea...
View profile

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy