What is the difference between ordering a dress or buying off the rack?

posted 3 years ago in Dress
Post # 3
37 posts
  • Wedding: November 2013


Off the rack dresses usually have been tried on a lot.. So they might be a little dirty or some of the beading may have fallen off or sometimes lacey gowns can be ripped towards the bottom. You just have to make the inspections before purchasing it. 

Another thing is finding a sample in your size can be difficult so alterations can be more expensive. 

But off the rack are so much cheaper and I know so many people who have had luck doing it! 
Is there a reason you want to wait to start looking? 

Post # 4
3394 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

It depends on what you’re referring to. If you mean off the rack as in, buying a dress from a department store where they have a range of different sizes in stock, then usually the styles are less complicated, less structured with less details like beading, corsetry etc. You can find nice bridal-appropriate gowns that are off the rack at places like BHLDN, Nordstrom etc.

Otherwise, if you’re talking about bridal salons…they will have a sample of each gown that brides will try on and then order in their size. Some of the samples will have some wear from being tried on, others might be pristine. Sizing really depends on each salon but you’ll have a better chance of finding a sample gown that fits if you’re on the smaller side. And some salons won’t sell their samples until closer to the end of the season, but again it depends. 

Post # 6
237 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

When you go,  check out Jinny’s Bridal in HB on Goldenwest. I had heard they had off the rack Maggie Sotteros so I went there for my dress. I was open to off the rack and ordering. In the end,  I fell in love with a Sottero that was on the rack,  and was able to haggle the price way down.  Yes, it had some wear and tear,  but nothing serious.  I’m a size 8, and the corset back dresses didn’t need to be altered, so I didn’t have to have all the major fitting sessions apparently many brides have, and several dresses I tried were like that.  So I say off the rack is a great option.

Post # 7
1608 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

If you’re buying off-the-rack just make sure to look it over before buying it. I bought mine off-the-rack and had no problems with it and it was a good deal 🙂

Post # 8
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

It’s not just the dress size, but other things that you can order.  My dress could not have been taken up, I had to pay extra to have the correct length.  You can also do things like pick sweetheart or not, sleeves, etc.

Post # 9
1400 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@cuppeeecakes:   I’m getting my dress custom made by Revamp Vintage in downtown LA, and the pricing is very reasonable, and she’ll be able to make it in less than 4 months. Since she specializes in vintage clothing, she could make you a beautiful corset, fitted just to you from the beginning, so everything will sit just right. The dress she’s making for me, with plenty of structure and ruching, will be about $1200 if I go with a very simple skirt, or $2500 if I go with a very complex one. I know that’s quite a range lol, but some skirt designs use a ton of fabric! The owner of the shop was very friendly and helpful, and if you wanted something very simple with just those requirements, she’d be able to knock it out of the park. I found the place because another bee posted about it, and her dress was only $800 🙂 The way she works though is that you go to buy the fabric yourself, but she can guide you in that process.

Post # 10
5160 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

I bought my dress off the rack (I had a 5 month engagement, so it was my only option) and it was fine.  At first I was nervous that no one would be sellign off the rack, but most stores have a section that they can sell from.

If you are flexible with what you want (I just wanted something that looked awesome, wasn’t too heavy and was reasonably priced) buying off the rack can work well.  It was actually nice to have the options narrowed down since wedding dress shopping can be pretty overwhelming.

Post # 11
128 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I went to one store that sold off the rack dresses and another that just had samples and ordered the dress to fit the bride.  I had much better luck ordering the dress than I would have buying it off the rack, but as was mentioned in this thread, off the rack dresses are far cheaper.  Most off the rack dresses are going to require two or three alterations in order for them to fit properly, and because they’ve been tried on before, they might not be in mint condition.  When you order a dress, the shop will usually send your measurements directly to the manufacturer and they’ll construct the dress to fit you, so you aren’t likely to need as many alterations.  I bought my dress with plenty of time to spare, but keep in mind that if you order it, you’ll need to do it at least 6 months before the wedding, if not more.

Post # 12
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

this is my off the rack Watters. Originally 1,500, got it for $599. Its actually in really good condition. I am having  it altered to a sweetheart. Finding a dress off the rack was pretty easy for me because I am a size 10 in bridal (typical sample size, apparently.)

Leave a comment

Sent weekly. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Find Amazing Vendors