Beauty & Fashion
Fashion Lifestyle Trends

What to Look for When Shopping for a Dress Online

Shopping for a dress online is fun until the multitude of options available out there end up bogging you down. Not to mention the many instances of fraud (according to Statista, “online shopping scams accounted for 38% of all reported scams worldwide!) online shoppers face every year.

But once you know exactly what you’re looking for, have a budget in mind, and learn the basic rules of safe online shopping, your journey becomes a breeze. Here, we’ve rounded up 10 solid steps to help you have the best possible online shopping experience and ultimately find the outfits of your dreams.

Consider the Occasion and the Type of Dress You Need

Being super clear about the occasion you’re dressing for, and the dress type you’ll be dazzling in narrows down your search to a great extent. Attending a wedding as a guest? Pick an elegant full-length dress. Planning your prom outfit? Ball gowns, mermaid silhouettes, A-line dresses, and even short dresses are a few fantastic choices! Looking for a cute Easter Sunday outfit? Go for pastel colors and flowy dresses.

Know Your Measurements, Body Type, and Style

At a physical store, you can always try an outfit before purchase to get the sizing right. But the same doesn’t hold true for online stores. So, take your measurements using a measuring tape. The three of the most important measurements include your bust, waist, and hip. Then, align these measurements to the shopping website’s size chart before dropping the items in your cart.

Ask yourself, “What’s my preferred style?” Do you feel comfortable in mini-dresses or would you rather go for a knee-length piece? Do you love your look in a body-hugging dress or are you a fan of chic, flowy dresses? Finally, always keep your body type in mind. For instance, If you’re a size medium with a big bust, you might want to go for a piece that is one size up.

Know Your Budget

Knowing your budget narrows down your search even further and makes your shopping experience less overwhelming. For instance, if you’re looking for a high-end designer dress without having to burn a hole in your pocket, look for places that offer big discounts on cheap evening gowns. If you’re looking to build a versatile wardrobe, then choose high-quality dresses that can be easily mixed and matched with other items.

Start Shopping Early

If you’re planning an outfit for an extra special event, it’s best to start early. Wedding dresses, for instance, must be ordered 6-9 months in advance. Prom and other formal dresses must be planned 2-3 months in advance. Why? Because delivery and alterations take time. The sooner you start, the more time you have to compare prices on different sites and finalize the piece you truly love.

Read Reviews of Both the Manufacturer and the Seller

Your outfits are an investment that will last you for a long, long time. So, it only makes sense to purchase the absolute best. This is where reviews come in. Many buyers will leave reviews of their purchases on several online platforms. Hunt for them on retailer sites, social media pages, app stores, and even Google before making that purchase. Look at reviews that include pictures from customers, talk about the size and fit of the dress, and discuss the fabric quality.

Research the Fabric

The type of fabric your potential purchase flaunts is another important thing to consider when shopping online. Knowing the fabric type and quality will help you understand how the dress will look, feel, and fit. Researching the fabric is also important to know if a piece will stretch, or shrink, and whether it will keep you comfy during the event.

Understand the Delivery, Return, and Refund Policies

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), sellers must ship items as per what they promise in their ads and if there is “no promised time,” the seller still has to ship the item within 30 days of purchase. Make sure your seller offers tracking options to know exactly where your dress is and when you’ll receive it.

Understand the seller’s refund policy before ordering the dress in case you ever want to return it. Look for answers to questions like: Will I be able to return the piece for a full refund? When can I return it (most stores allow you to return an item within 28-30 days of purchase)? Who pays for the shipping? Will there be any restocking fees?

Consider the Shipping Costs

To ensure your dress fits well within your budget, always consider the cost of shipping it. While some stores offer free shipping if you hit a certain purchase price, other stores might require you to pay for shipping. This is especially true if you plan to order from a retailer operating in another country.

Use Your Credit Card for Safer Transactions

Your credit card has your back if anything goes wrong with your purchase. Credit cards have better fraud protection than debit cards, making your online payments more secure. Whether you’re asked to pay for items you didn’t order, pay for the same item twice, or receive a defective item – you can ask your credit card company to “temporarily withhold payment while it investigates.” In addition to using credit cards, make sure the retailer’s website uses encryption to keep your data protected during transactions.

Buy Only What You Need

We get it: no number of outfits is ever enough. But instead of buying things you won’t particularly look forward to wearing later, be strategic about your purchase process. The goal here is to either get items that you can mix and match with your pre-existing wardrobe pieces or get statement outfits that look magical all on their own. So, once you’re done adding outfits to your cart, take some time to edit down your selections until you arrive at a selection of pieces you truly need.

A Final Word

Online shopping can be a great experience if you know exactly what you’re looking for, perform your transactions securely, and understand your retailer’s delivery, return, and refund policies. Make your search easier using flexible filters that can help you narrow down your options based on size, fabric, silhouettes, discounts, color, and price. Now that you’ve become the online shopping wiz you’ve always wanted to be, it’s time to look for your favorite outfits!

Author Bio:

Jonah Levine is the Creative Director of was launched in 2018 as the go-to online source for amazing designer dresses at affordable prices. With 10 years of experience in the industry, Jonah works daily to scour the markets to find the hottest styles and negotiate the best prices for special occasion wear on the internet.


Practical Guide to Buying Dress You Need to Know

4 tips for ordering dresses online

Tips for Buying Dresses Online


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