Anyone buy a dress off the rack? Got any tips? Advice? Secrets?

posted 3 years ago in Dress
Post # 2
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I’m also about to do this bee, dont fret! Just try things on in your size or larger, but be prepared for the hidden cost of getting things altered. You might get lucky and find one that fits perfectly though!
Just like any other dress shopping, wear proper undergarments, preferably what you’ll be wearing on the day.
And be excited that you can take your dress home!

Post # 4
119 posts
Blushing bee

I bought my dress off the rack and I loved it. I think the most helpful thing is not being too picky. I knew the silhouette I wanted but was open beyond that. My dress was on sale and fit all except length which was an easy enough fix. 

Post # 5
671 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think what off the rack means is you take it home that day (because it’s in stock or a sample). You will probably still need alterations for whatever dress you buy, even if it’s from Nordstrom or J crew. So keep that in mind! If they are samples make sure you check them everywhere for stains, tears and imperfections!

Post # 6
7350 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

Are you looking at used sample dresses or new dresses? I ask because I bought a sample and forgot to work the cost of cleaning it into my budget. It wasn’t terribly expensive but I wish I had taken it into consideration!

My dress was also a few sizes too large so I knew alterations were a must. I didn’t think to wear specific undergarments but if you’re planning on wearing shape wear on your wedding day it might be a good idea to bring it along. Also, if you’re hoping to avoid alterations altogether, maybe wear your wedding shoes or shoes off a similar height?

Good luck!

Post # 7
949 posts
Busy bee

Off the rack means you buy the exact same dress and take it home with you, no waiting for it to be ordered and made to your size. 

Check for problems as the dresses might have been tried on many times and ask them to fix if there are any issues. Also wear the undergarments you will be wearing on your wedding day to make sure everything fits perfectly. If you can, bring the accessories you’re thinking of wearing too so that you can make sure the whole look fits. Have fun!

Post # 9
1588 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Wear the right undergarments and if you plan to wear your hair up, pull it up. If you plan to wear makeup, put on some makeup. Don’t have to go all out, but trying dresses on while looking put together really changes the look. And be open to alterations. It is highly unlikely that you find a perfect fit right off the rack (especially used that may have already been altered to another bride and samples that may be a bit stretched), though more power to you if you do. But yes, buying off the rack means the dress you try on is the dress you go home with. Good luck and have fun!

Post # 10
2185 posts
Buzzing bee

desertgypsy :  Definitely look through the consigment gowns! My dress was actually a custom order that the bride changed her mind on and ended up going with something else. It would have been well out of my price range to try to buy new, and someone else’s dress regret happened to fit me almost perfectly.

For narrowing down what you want, it really helps if you have a knowledgable consultant who can give you practical advice about fabrics and dress shapes and how they will function IRL at your wedding (a tulle ballgown will gather a lot of twigs and bugs if you’re getting married outside at a summer camp, etc). 

I also kept in mind a list of goals for a dress–for me it was light and breathable, silky/satiny fabric, within budget, pockets if possible. Having a limited criteria to keep in mind helped narrow down what I picked to try on. It also helps to take pictures. Obviously iPhones aren’t identical to what a pro would use, but some gowns certainly photograph better than others, and that might be a consideration. 

Post # 12
460 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2006

I bought mine off the rack. It was the second dress I tried on but the first I tried that day. Lol! It  fit perfectly and I didn’t need alterations which was a huge plus! And because I got it off the rack, they threw in the crinoline for free. I was happy!! It was only $299! Back then my friends weren’t into finding perfect gowns etc so I had no idea what I wanted, I was just excited to have something fit like a glove and make me look like a bride. Just be open and have fun!

Post # 13
170 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I bought mine off the rack and it fit perfectly like it was made for me. I’d suggest being open minded and remember to relax and have fun with it. Good luck bee

Post # 14
1248 posts
Bumble bee

I bought mine off the rack and it was quite a savings price-wise. It needed to be altered slightly which I had done elsewhere by someone my Mom knew. Try to be open to many styles and try on anything in your size because you might be surprised byt what suits you best. I went in looking for an elegant but simple sheath dress but they all looked hideous on me. The sales consultant suggested other dresses and one was all beaded with a train and I was like “no way” but I tried that sucker on and I didn’t want to take it off. Go figure.

Post # 15
4235 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2015 - Hotel Ballroom

I bought mine off the rack. My dress was actually a floor lenght white evening gown I found in a fancy dress shop quite by accident!

My advice is to not limit yourself to bridal botiques when shopping off the rack. Nobody will know where you bought your dress unless you tell them! 🙂

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