Let’s face it. It can be very stressful trying to order a formal dress online. It can be difficult even knowing where to begin. With so many online dress stores popping up, the task can seem daunting. Which stores are legitimate, and which ones are only interested in your money? When should you order your dress or dresses? How do you go about determining the appropriate size to order? Why should you even consider purchasing a formal dress online?
Why Order Online?
The challenge that most dress shoppers will tackle first, is whether they should order their dress or dresses online or in person at an actual boutique or dress store. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages and it all really depends on your personal preference.
Ordering a formal dress at a physical store or boutique will give you the benefit of trying on the dress before purchasing. This is highly advantageous, especially if you’re in a rush. You don’t get this option if you’re ordering online. There are several ways to work around that pesky detail, but for now, let’s just say that if you need a dress fast, ordering at a store is going to be a better choice for you.
However, there are some disadvantages to ordering at a store as well. Formal dress shops or boutiques will typically overcharge their customers because they know they can get away with it. They’ll open up a store in a small town, preferably in a place where they won’t have any competition, and charge $600, $700 or $900 for a dress that should cost maybe $150 at best. Online shopping is ultimately going to be a lot easier on the wallet. Online dress shops have a higher incentive to compete for your business because there are a lot more stores out there vying for your attention.
Another advantage of ordering online versus at a store is that most formal dress shops and boutiques only carry certains styles of dresses. If you want something that’s unique and causes those heads to turn, your local shop probably isn’t going to be able to help you. Online you have a wide range of selections to choose from. If there’s a dress you really like at a dress shop or boutique, then go for it, but don’t tie yourself down to styles that don’t express your uniqueness and class. Breakout and be bold!
In the end, shopping for that special dress requires reasonable pricing, as well as a wide selection, both of which are fully accommodated by online stores. While a physical store may give you a few minor perks, in the end both your wallet and your sense of style will thank you.
Beware of Scams!
We know that the internet can be a cesspool of dirty dealings and shady business. Now that you’ve decided to order your formal dress online, it’s important not be taken in on any scams. Here are a few things to be aware of, that might help you avoid being suckered into a deal that will only cost you money, time and headaches.
I highly recommend that if you’re trying to get a formal dress, it’s best to stay away from places that ship from and are based outside of the country. Some of these websites might appear to be legitimate, but many of them are scams. A lot of them don’t even have the dress ready-made, and some can take anywhere from 2-3 months to put the dress together, and even then, because they’re making it from scratch, it may not look at all like the dress you saw in the picture. I could tell you horror stories of customers who called me in a panic because some overseas company sent them a dress that wasn’t like anything they had ordered.
Look for dress companies that are based in the United States. Many of these companies either make the dresses here in the U.S., or work with a supplier that provide the dresses. The dresses, themselves, can still come from overseas, but you’re trying to avoid is a long ship time. The longer it takes for them to ship the item, the less time you’ll have to make any alterations or exchanges, if that becomes necessary.
If you’re not sure whether a company is based in the United States or not, simply call and ask someone. Legitimate dress websites will have an easy way to reach them, such as a phone number or email address. Find out where their dresses come from and how long it takes to ship out an item. Also ask them if they have to make the dress or if the dress is already made and ready to ship, as well as their return/exchange policy. The technicalities and semantics may seem pointless, but it will help you plan how, when and where you should order your item in order to avoid as little stress as possible.
Sizing and Other Fun Things
So let’s talk about sizing. Most online dress shops will have a size chart and it’s important to make sure that the size chart you’re looking at is for the specific dress you want to purchase. Some dresses are made by different designers, so make sure you always use the size chart that is specifically attached or located on the listing that you are viewing. Do not use a size chart on another listing on a dress from a completely different listing. The dresses may be made by two different designers and you’ll end up getting a dress that really doesn’t fit.
Using the size chart can be a little challenging if you’re not sure what to do. Many people find themselves in between sizes, and this can present an issue. Always ask for help if you’re having a hard time with sizing, but as a general rule, if you find yourself between sizes, start with the size that covers all of your measurements, and then alter the dress down to fit your specific size. Most formal dresses require a little bit of altering anyway. Also, if the store you’re working with allows exchanges (much like us at The Dress Outlet) be flexible and ready to make exchanges should that become necessary.
- - -
If you don’t remember anything from this article, remember this: the more time you give the store or seller, the more they’ll be able to help you. If you give us a few days before your event to get you a dress, we’re not going to be able to help you as much as if you had given us a month. While we’re more than happy to work with any customer, and get them a dress as quickly as possible, there are limits to what we can do.
The reason that time plays such a factor in online dress orders is because you’re not here to physically try the dress on. While it’s always highly recommended to use the size chart, it’s important to remember that it’s never going to be exactly on the dot. Your body type and the way the dress lays on you has just as much to do with which size will be more suited to you.
If you receive a dress that doesn’t fit, don’t panic. Get in contact with the sellers and online stores. Let them know that the dress doesn’t fit and that you want to exchange it. Most legitimate online dress stores will happily let you exchange your dress for a different size.
We at The Dress Outlet have been selling formal dresses online for quite a while. The time we’ve spent online has given us a lot of experience and a firm grasp on the best way to ensure your shopping experience is stress free. This article is a sort of guide to help you safely navigate the “treacherous waters” of online formal dress shopping. While it may not solve every problem, if you follow these guidelines, you’re sure to have a much more pleasant shopping experience and will be more likely return to an online forum to purchase future dresses. Let’s start by asking a very simple question: Why should you even consider ordering a formal dress online at all?
We want you to have the perfect, and we will do our very best to make sure you get it. If you follow these guidelines, you’re sure to have a pleasant shopping experience with very few bumps along the way. Now that you have an idea as to how to shop for formal dresses online, why not take a look at our selection? Put those newly learned skills to the test and go with a dress by The Dress Outlet.