The Ultimate Guide to Ball Dress Shopping PART 3: TO BUY ONLINE OR INSTORE?

Thursday 29th January, 2015


Shopping for your school ball dress is exciting and many girls eagerly anticipate the process of looking around for that perfect ball dress for their formal. So it’s obvious to explore all the avenues where ball dresses are available. Online shopping sites are often a point of consideration when looking for school ball dresses. Shopping for prom and formal dresses can be expensive so it’s fair that looking online for the best possible deals is a possibility. There’s no shortage of online stores selling formal dresses and at cheap prices but in this guide we wanted to share with you a few pointers on shopping safely for your ball dress with online boutiques and stores.

There are lots of counterfeit websites out there that use the real brand’s dress photos as their own to bait you into purchasing and thinking it’s the real product, with the price only being a fraction of a proper prom gown value. Unfortunately the beautiful product photos combined with the attractive price makes it winning combination to make girls hit the buy now button. From there, it’s just a nightmare! There are so many horror stories our customers have shared with us on their purchases prior to buying their ball dresses from us. The stories vary from girls ordering their dresses only to receive an almost unrecognizable dress when it arrived. The gowns resembling nothing like the picture, the colour was off, the stitching was messy, the style being horrendous. For some of the girls, they were scammed completely of their purchase in the sense that they did not receive their ball dresses at all. Even after trying to contact the company to get a response, no such luck. There was no way of getting a refund!

Here we share some of our customer’s online shopping horror experiences for their ball dreses.

Here is Julie’s story.

“I was super excited to look for that perfect ball dress for my final high year school ball. My friends and I had been talking about school ball dresses for over four months and when it came closer to the date to look for ball dresses, we could hardly wait to start the process! We were all on a relatively tight budget (less than $250) and after looking around at the local boutique stores we weren’t able to find anything within our price range and styles we liked. We then decided to go online and look at what the online stores had to offer. To our delight we came across this one website and fell in love with all their styles immediately! Their designs were so beautiful and I had a hard time choosing only one dress! Their ball dresses were priced within our budget and the one I was looking to buy was just a little short of $250. Without thinking twice I clicked on the buy now and paid for my dress. I was notified with an email that I would receive my dress in two weeks’ time. A fortnight passed and I still didn’t receive my dress but I persisted to wait a few more days before contacting them. When I tried to contact them, they were rather rude and said I was being too impatient and the dress would arrive soon enough. A month later, the dress hadn’t arrived and when I contacted the online store again, I was once again given a very rude reply. The following week my ball dress arrived and to my complete disappointment and shock, the dress was NOTHING like the picture or how I’d imagined. The beading was loosely sewn on the dress, the dress had scruff marks, there were loose threads on the dress at the seams and the fabric was utterly appalling. I took one look at “my dress” and I knew I had been scammed. So I was left with an unwearable ball dress that I eventually threw out as it was just too ugly to give away or do anything else with it.” – Julie, Bunbury, Perth, WA.

Here is Maddy’s story.

“I have always been an avid online shopper so it came as second nature to shop for my prom dress online. I knew the basics about being prepared and allowing time when ordering online due to long shipping times, especially from overseas websites. I ordered my dress for a website I came across while searching for a strapless ball dress. The site had a good range and I found a red strapless ball dress that I really liked and ordered it immediately. The dress was quite cheap, being only $160 but the shipping cost a bit more, $92.50. Although the shipping was a bit expensive the website stated that it was for express shipping so I didn’t mind. I was quite upset as ended up waiting for two months to finally get my dress. During the waiting time I tried to contact the seller but I never even one reply! I tried again for another month but I had lost hope that I would get anything from them back. As expected, I never did. This has taught me a valuable lesson to do a more research into my online purchases. Better to be safe than sorry but sadly in this instance for me, it was unfortunately sorry. – Maddy, Fremantle, Perth, WA.

These are our customer stories however there is no shortage of other customers who have shared their stories online about their experiences with having a nightmare ball dress buying experience.

ball-dress-buying-online-horror-stories   prom-dresses-horro-stories

It is unfortunate our customers had to go through such a bad experience before coming to us for their school ball dresses. It’s upsetting to know these counterfeit companies exist and pry on innocent customer whilst giving legitimate online ball dress boutiques and businesses a bad rap.

If you do decide to go down the path of getting your formal dress online, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Do a bit of research on the company’s background. Do you have customer testimonials? Do they have social media accounts? Do they reply to you promptly and professionally? These are just some of the basic points to note when dealing with online sellers.
  • Check the product image that it does not belong to another store. You can go to Google images and do a quick search if there is another picture that looks similar to the dress listed on the website. Generally if the website is overseas and have contact details from China, be sure to be vigilant about your purchase. There have been many reported incidences where the Chinese websites don’t have any actual or real photos of their dresses on models but they take photos from original designers and owners of the photos to use for their site. They claim to sell the exact same style (or even offer to let you customize your dress with sizing and colours).
  • Be aware of the shipping costs. The dress may be listed for a very low price but the shipping costs can be two to three times the amount of the dress! Don’t justify the expensive shipping for the cheap dress as an overall cost because it’s just a scam waiting to happen!

While there are a lot of dodgy websites out there selling evening gowns and dresses, there are also legit online boutiques that are authentic retailers and carry a range of beautiful and affordable ball gowns. You just need to do a bit of background research on them such as check out their contact details and where they are located. Remember to be cautious with giving out your credit card details over the internet and if the dress or deal is too good to be true, it probably is! Trying to save some money in this instance is just not worth being completely conned! Counterfeit websites have been reported but there are still many out there still operating and continue to rip people off. Online website, Top Prom Websites has enlisted a comprehensive list of prom dresses websites that have been reported as scamming sites so check out the page for a list of dodgy websites and avoid buying your ball dress from any of those listed websites.

There are benefits of shopping in store for your ball gowns. First of all, you are in local vicinity which enables you to know they are a legit operating business. This means you are able to see the store, employees and importantly, the dress before you commit to purchase. You will also get to touch and feel the quality of the material and see the craftsmanship of your potential ball dress. All these things are important in the process of choosing and buying your dream ball gown.

We hope Part 3 of this ball dress shopping guide has enlightened you on the subject of whether to buy your dress online or in store. We offer our ball dresses online or at our shop, however we have found many customers prefer to make an appointment with us directly to discuss and buy the formal dresses in person. We do also encourage customers into our store as we are able to provide one on one customer attention and help to select the right ball dress and also ensuring the perfect fit.

We also have in house tailors with over 30 years’ experience who are able to make alterations to your evening dresses as required. We stand by every ball dress we sell from start to the end. We design all our dresses, recruit specialist dressmakers to make the dresses and have tailors with long standing dressmaking and alterations background that have the ability to make your dress fit good to perfect. In a nutshell, ball dresses are our specialty and we want to bring you only the best and enable you to buy your perfect ball gown conveniently and happily. Get in touch with us today and see our range of school ball dresses at our shop in North Perth.


This wraps up Part 3 of our school ball shopping guide so stay tuned for Part 4: Finding The Best Bra for Your Ball Dress in our guide series of The Ultimate Guide To Ball Dress Shopping.

If you have missed our previous guides, Part 1 details ball planning and a checklist while Part 2 is about selecting the right ball gown style for your body shape.  

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