Wedding and prom dress buying guide: Why you should book a bespoke dress fitting
PUBLISHED: 12:21 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:24 21 February 2019
Struggling to find the right wedding dress or don't know how to properly shop for your dream prom dress? Appointment-only, one-to-one dress fittings may be perfect for you
When you have a wedding or prom coming up, your first thought may be to look online for a good deal or to head to a well-known High Street store.
These traditional shopping experiences are typically defined by hassle and unreliability, however, so many people are now turning to bespoke, one-on-one dress fittings to find precisely what they need in a relaxed environment with no hard sell.
There are a few things you’ll need to think about before you book your appointment and this guide will help you with choosing the style of your dress, when you should book your appointment and who you should bring.
When considering the style, fit, size and colour of your dress, having an open mind is crucial. Even though you may have envisioned your dream prom dress or wedding dress beforehand, it is important to come into your fitting appointment with a flexibility and willingness to try on a variety of gowns.
Carla Lynch, owner of appointment-only boutique Dress Code Nine near Kelvedon, advises you to ‘go out of your comfort zone’ when trying on a prom dress or bridal dress.
You should make an effort to ‘try a style or colour you wouldn’t normally wear as you may well be surprised,’ while also bearing in mind the location and time of year of your occasion.
As it’s best to bring family and friends along, they can also look for bridesmaid dresses or wedding guest dresses – a great chance to bounce ideas and thoughts off each other.
Online marketplaces do give you a large selection of cheap wedding dresses and occasion dresses but many sites are unreliable. Before you click that order button, remember there’s no guarantee that what you see in an online picture is what you get in real life.
Carla has said that she’s worked with clients who have experienced these exact problems: ‘Customers have come to me where they’ve bought a dress online and it’s completely the wrong material as described, it hasn’t come in the right sizing and it’s completely different to the pictures.’
The one-on-one approach of bespoke fittings allows your measurements to be taken in a relaxed, hassle-free environment so you can be sure that the dress you order will be the ideal size and fit for you.
Sometimes alterations are needed and the personal nature of appointment-only fittings means you can specify precisely what you need. Dress Code Nine have three seamstresses that work close to their rural boutique and they will make any necessary amendments for the perfect fit.
Carla says: “When I take the measurements I will order the dress in the nearest size that will fit them best, sometimes it’s perfect and sometimes it does require a slight adjustment. If I can’t get it to be perfect then the seamstresses can make slight alterations to make it fit perfectly.”
With a fitting you don’t have to worry about the hassle of repackaging a dress to send it back to an online shop or the inconvenience of returning it in store.
Booking the right date for your appointment is easy. As soon as you know when your prom or wedding is, book straight away to allow for delivery delays and alterations.
Set aside an hour or two for the fitting as this will be plenty of time to cover your measurements, try on dresses and answer any questions you may have.
Appointments at Dress Code Nine typically last 90 minutes. In that time you’ll be able to have a few drinks to keep you refreshed for trying on dresses.
“The sooner they come to see me, the sooner they can get the perfect dress,” says Carla. “Once they’ve found that perfect dress, that worry is out of the way.”
There are a few elements you should consider prior to the fitting but an open mind is once again important. The location of your wedding or prom in particular will guide not only your choice of dress but also of your shoes and underwear.
This consideration of location is particularly important to Carla: “Is it abroad or is it in the UK? That could determine whether you go for a heavyweight or a lightweight dress or whether you have to pack it in a suitcase.”
Don’t forget to consider your expected weather conditions: as a bride there may not be much value in looking at summer wedding dresses or thin lace wedding dresses if you’re having a winter wedding for example.
Having family and friends pick out some dresses for you to try on again gives you the opportunity to try something you may otherwise not have thought about. Their second opinions may also be crucial in your final decision as a bride or prom-goer.
As opposed to a bridal shop, wedding dress shop or prom dress shop, fittings at Dress Code Nine take place in a relaxed, unpressured environment with parking right outside the door.
As you and your party are the only ones in store you don’t have to worry about what you wear to the fitting or any other thorough preparation, just simply come to your appointment and try as many dresses as you wish until you find the perfect one.