Online Shopping in India for Western Clothes & Make-up

First tip for online shopping in India for western clothes to be shipped to India: DON’T. The website will lead you to believe there will be no hassle on your end, but it is just not the truth so far for me.

Online Shopping in India for Western Clothes, My experiences


I am a huge fan of the dresses on this site. Although most are too scandalous for India, I can’t help but shop on here. My wishlist is longer than any Christmas list I had as a child. They ship internationally with DHL Global. FYI this is not a slow version of DHL express. This means that when my package(s) didn’t arrive within a month there was no tracking number. DHL Global only tracks until it leaves the country, and once it got to India it was thrown into the Indian local post.

That means it was at some airport in India waiting for someone to come pay taxes and fees on it, but how could I know which without tracking? After a lot of frustration I did get my orders canceled when the packages never arrived. If you pay express + the custom fees the delivery man will demand, you’re going to end up 100 dollars over the original payment. Oh, how I miss my free shipping in America.

 shopping online


Delivered from England to India via Express 2-5 day delivery. Fantastic! Except it wasn’t.

In the states I always used a promo code for free two day express shipping. After a week and no package, I tracked online to see that my package was in Delhi waiting for someone to pay taxes for customs. Upon calling customer care, ASOS informed me that once in India they switched to Blue Dart, who ALSO used a smaller carrier in Delhi.

In the end, I called a random man’s cell phone to go pay for my package AFTER I wired money to his account. Of course, there were no instructions in the ASOS email that I would have to hunt this package down instead of it showing up at my door. The package made it one week after the money was wired.


Yes I know I’m not in Jr. High School but Pacsun surprised me last year with some really cute beach clothes on the cheap! I’m told they have partnered with Urban Outfitters, who is to thank for the change). Pacsun’s international shipping claims “No money paid on delivery” I thought it seemed too good to be true, but at check out I paid 40 dollars upfront for taxes on a 100 dollar purchase to what I assumed was India. When the package was delivered (this one cleared customs without me calling), I had to pay more money to the deliveryman.

online shopping

So, where can you order from?

Since this, I have decided to only online shop with Indian websites. Flipkart and are good for iPhone accessories, hair products, etc.

Here I’ve written a post about some dupe Indian versions that are as good as the more expensive ones from Sephora. Some products you can choose to pay cash at the door. There are also independent beauty shops that deliver items like Bumble & Bumble.

Most things I want are priced higher because they are imported from America (Essie nail polish will run you 14 dollars and my Clinique moisturizer is 80 bucks. It’s tragic).

Mailing into India is another struggle.

My mom tried to send me clothes, make up, and food that was denied by FedEx due to Indian customs laws (which are some of the strictest). Beside the point, a package under 15 pounds from Ohio to India with FedEx express costs 265 dollars. I have found that express delivery is a must so that it clears customs and doesn’t sit around there for months.

All in all, you MUST pack extra for living in India.

Bring backups of all favorite makeup or hair products you can’t live without. I’ve made some moving packing lists that I use myself when I go home each year. And then wait for a friend to visit and send all your online shopping to him, and over in his checked bag (thanks, Vince). Because they were shipped in the US, I found promo codes at to get free shipping on all my orders (or you can wait until the store offers free shipping).

Therefore, paying 100 dollars to United Airways for an extra bag (up to 50 pounds) was a pretty good deal.

Luckily India has great local designers (Tia & Tan, the Saturday night market, Wednesday flea market, and the Ashvem boutiques) and tailors so I can shop here or have things made for me. As an expat here, I’m finally starting to take advantage of that!


Have you shipped clothing or beauty supplies into India from a western country? Any advice for me!? I’m dying to know if there’s somewhere that will ship with ease. 




About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Lisa December 31, 2013 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    Ah this sounds like a nightmare! I don’t know how you survive haha. I’m surprised ASOS wouldn’t have easier delivery especially as its coming from Europe. Do certain shops like Zara for example have Indian websites?

    • Rachel January 1, 2014 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      i knowwwww asos was the biggest disappointment. A friend from england came and brought clothes i shipped to him, and the nastygal stuff was 80 pounds custom charge, some stuff didnt fit or looked different than the site, but it’s not worth the price to ship it back! so I’m officially over it. home in may and i’ll stock up then!

  2. Paul Mattfield January 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Thanks Rachel for sharing this info. One of my friend is looking for some hassle free online shopping site for Indian product in USA. I will refer your blog to him. Thanks again.

  3. Harpriya Goyal March 21, 2014 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Very nice article with great information. These days online shopping is an easy of shopping especially for those persons who have very busy schedule. I also like to do shopping online.

  4. onab April 24, 2015 at 1:34 am - Reply

    Just in case, people are still looking for such info,
    Zara has stores in India has online shopping too for India.
    Mango has stores ships to India via DHL, customs paid! Note Mango for men is available only online
    Asos does ship now but customs duties, taxes etc are your headache.

    • amilin D July 26, 2015 at 3:24 pm - Reply

      shop from Forever21. Its Awesome. products are of high quality. :)

  5. Aditi January 19, 2016 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    This was a huge help since I was just trying to order from Asos! Too bad Indians can’t get it easily.

Like the Article? Leave a Reply