Remember when shopping for that perfect dress meant visiting endless shops, with tired feet, queuing for the fitting room, queuing at the till, then queuing for the bus. Shopping online has changed all that, while there are definite advantages to shopping for dresses online – faster, much more choice, and often cheaper too – there are some points to remember to make your shopping experience that much better.
I was sceptical about online fashion shopping at first, and while no online photograph is ever going to give you the true feel for a dress that you’d experience in a real store, I now frequently buy online, as the process has improved so much in the past few years. If you’re looking for dresses and evening dresses online, vintage or new, here are some of my golden rules for ensuring that you’re never disappointed when that package arrives on your doorstep.
If you’re buying new, then I highly recommend shopping at online stores that offer a hassle-free, no-questions-asked return service. A growing number of retailers are getting wise to what we want from online fashion shopping – namely, it should be quick, convenient and painless. Coast is a great example of an online store that gets it just right – they offer free returns on all of the evening dresses online (including some real showstoppers like the Lysle Maxi pictured below), also allowing you to select your own delivery date, track your delivery and nominate a day for collection – whether it doesn’t fit, doesn’t suit, or you just don’t like the colour.
Make the Most of Tech Innovations
More and more online stores now give you far more than a simple photograph of the dress in question. 360-degree views are great, but sites that offer video clips of dresses being modelled for you are a godsend. They allow you to get a real feel for the look of the dress, the true shape, the way the fabrics lies, and more.
The Perfect Fit
The most obvious downside to shopping for evening dresses online is that you can’t simply slip into it to see if it’s the right dress for you. But careful measurements, from both you and the seller, can ease the process. If you’re buying vintage, it’s essential to get precise measurements from the seller, as vintage sizing is so different to the sizes used by stores today, and can vary depending on the year, as well as the country in which the dress was made. There’s a great guide to vintage sizing and how to take accurate measurement here.
As a tip, as well as taking your own body measurements, measure a dress that you already own and love, that fits you perfectly, and use this as a benchmark. If you fall in love with a vintage dress online that doesn’t quite match your measurements, remember that a good tailor can work wonders. Where possible, try to buy bigger, or longer, as a dress is far easier to shorten and nip in than to lengthen or let out.