(Closed) new vs. sample vs. second hand- pros and cons?

posted 8 years ago in Dress
  • poll: what was your dress
    new : (22 votes)
    59 %
    sample : (11 votes)
    30 %
    second-hand : (4 votes)
    11 %
  • Post # 3
    2867 posts
    Sugar bee

    My dress will be new but by no means “designer.” I’m buying from overseas (CHEAP!!!).  Plus the vendor did a wedding dress for a friend and it turned out perfectly.

    Post # 4
    1254 posts
    Bumble bee

    I think it really depends on the sample or used dress you buy. There are samples that have been tried only a handful of times and don’t need cleaning. While other more popular dresses may require both cleaning and some stitching.

    If you are looking for used dresses, try to buy it from someone with measurements that are closest to yours. Many used dresses have already been cleaned by the brides who’ve worn them. If not, it’s just another bargaining point for you to make.

    Ask a lot of questions from the sellers until you are comfortable enough to commit. For me buying new is like buying the peace of mind.

    Post # 5
    7771 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2010

    I got a sample and saved $4,000.  However, it was ordered online, and I had to lose a lot of weight to fit into it.  It was not “perfect”- ie- it has been a little tossed around.  Plus, it had to be cleaned- or at least pressed- so that is $50-$100 more dollars.  I would have liked to have had the experience of trying dresses on, but that wasn’t in the cards for me.

    Post # 6
    2775 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2010

    I think that another thing to consider is the Dress Shopping Experience and whether that is important to you.  If you buy a used dress or a sample, you miss out on that a bit.

    When I got engaged the first wedding thing I wanted to do was go try on dresses.  I fantasized about sipping champagne in a cozy private dressing room with my mom, sister, and best friends while a doting consultant listened to what I wanted and brought me The Perfect Dress and everybody oohed and ahhed and cried over my bridal beauty.  Haha.  In reality the experience was nothing like that, even at very high-end salons.  But yeah, the process of trying on dresses and accessories and going for fittings was an important part of my bridal experience.  That’s part of the reason I bought a new dress and never really considered going the used or store sample route.

    Post # 7
    826 posts
    Busy bee

    i bought my dress from another bride. original price was $1800+ and got it for $800. It was dry cleaned and gave me the certificate of authenticity. The only think i have to do is get it hemmed and re do the bustle.   

    Post # 8
    2208 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2010

    I bought a new couture dress only after not finding what I wanted after months on the used wedding dress websites. I do however plan on selling my dress (very soon) so I have been thinking about the pros and cons and how to be both honest and a good salesperson.

    These are my thoughts to date, in relation to my dress.

    – One pro is that the construction is just far above what you can get off the rack. I bought the dress from a local designer, so there was no mark-up for name recognition, and I really paid for the quality of fabric and construction. It is impecible.

    – BUT, it is already hemmed, so a bride taller than me or wearing tall heels can’t use it.

    – Because the dress is really complex, it may be very hard to do any major changes. The individual pieces of fabric (it is a ruffled dress) would need to be redraped for a major change. This limits who can buy it to women roughly my size who are shorter with heels or my height wearing flats.

    – However, the buyer will get a really practical sense of how the dress works on a normal body, not on a model.

    – My dress is already bussled, and I will be able to report exactly how to bussle.

    – I will offer returns, though I will keep something between 10 and 15% to cover the cost of recleaning and relisting.

    – The discount will be pretty steep (at least half the price).

    Basically, thinking more generally, I think it is a GREAT idea to go used if 1) you can return in, 2) you want something really high quality but beyond your price range, and 3) you can find a bride selling what you want who has a similar body type.

    My dress should be for sale in August, so I’m sure I’ll post about that experience.

    Post # 9
    298 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    Even if you go the used route, you don’t have to miss out on the dress experience, you just may not buy your dress in an actual store in the end.  I’ve been to about 6 stores now, tried on maybe 25 dresses or so, am going to a few more stores this weekend, but in the end am very close to buying a used dress I have my eye on.  I just want to make sure I’ve exhausted all options before I buy the used dress.

    In regards to buying a used dress, you just have to ask questions, and go with your gut.  I think you can get a sense if the seller/dress is true to how it’s advertised.  The dress I may buy, I have no worries at all that it’s going to be anything but as described.  We’re even friends on FB now etc.  In her listing she did say no returns, but since we’ve been talking, she’s willing to send it with a deposit, so I can try it on.  I’ve already tried the sample on in the store so I know I love it, I just need to make sure the alterations that were already done will still work for my body.  I’d have a hard time buying a used dress though if they don’t let you try it on first.

    I think buying used is a fantastic way to get a more expensive/higher end designer for way less.  And if I do buy it, I told the seller that after my wedding I was thinking about having my mom make a baby blanket or something out of it (she’s makes the cutest stuff) and also make one for the seller too if they have a baby.  She loved that idea.  Granted we’d be cutting up “our” wedding dress, but I think it’s a fun way for your dress to still be a part of you.

    Good luck!

    Post # 10
    529 posts
    Busy bee

    I read that some salons are even “renting” dresses now…I can’t imagine. In general, I am looking to buy a used or sample dress. I went and tried dresses on, found one I liked, and got my size. I know that I will probably pay for alterations anyway, so I don’t mind doing this for a used dress.

    Post # 11
    2476 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    I got the best of two worlds: my dress was brand new from a local girl who never got to wear it.  I’m not sure if she was a 2-dress bride, or maybe her wedding was cancelled– I didn’t want to ask!  Anyway, I got a dress that retails for over $2100 for $800!  Score!  🙂

    Post # 12
    1046 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2010

    I bought a 2nd hand dress that had never been altered or worn–best of both worlds! The cons were that I didn’t have a dress shop to work with to do the alterations, suggest accessories, etc. But I saved a lot of money on the dress and feel good about the choice. Here in Seattle there is a consignment shop for dresses: they all get dry cleaned, inspected, etc and they also sell accessories. I think this is a great option too. I think used dresses are a great way to get the dress you want at a price that is more affordable.

    Post # 13
    1408 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2010

    After looking into all your options I went with a 4th option: I’m having my dress made for me by an etsy seller! I get the newness and lack of handeling, the satisfation of supporting a small business and new designer, its made to fit my exact measurements, and I got it for an excellent price! I also think second-hand is an awesome way to go though, if you can find one around about your size that you love! 🙂

    Post # 14
    541 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2011

    I bought a sample. I was hesitant at first because it was dirty and a little ripped in one place. BUT it was 50% off retail and not as common since it’s being discontinued. I also realized the dirt can be cleaned and the rip can be eliminated since it has to be taken in. I’m actually glad I got a sample only because it’s a better quality dress for less. I otherwise wouldn’t have been to afford it if it were new.

    Post # 15
    87 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: August 2011

    @beekiss2: may I ask which vendor you are using?

    Post # 16
    5263 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: June 2012

    I bought a used dress. I’m really happy with my decision. Overall, the pros:

    – I could afford the dress I wanted. Not everyone is willing/really wants to spend a lot on clothes, but the quality of the design and the dress were hugely important to me. I didn’t have a couture budget by any means, though, and so buying secondhand allowed me to get the dress I wanted at an affordable price. 

    – It’s green! Such a buzzword, I know. But really, I sometimes worry about how wasteful weddings are. This makes me feel at least a little better. 

    – Minimal alterations costs. I was lucky to find a bride with measurements very close to my own, which means the dress has already been altered and won’t need much work. 


    The only cons I really have:

    – I took a serious leap of faith. I had not tried the dress on before I bought it. It worked out for me, but I’m sure it doesn’t always. I would NOT have done this without measurements/a good idea of what fits my shape unless it had been cheaper. 

    The topic ‘new vs. sample vs. second hand- pros and cons?’ is closed to new replies.

    Find Amazing Vendors