Should You Buy Prom Dresses Online? Here's How To Do It Right

Picking that one special prom dress can mean slaving over magazines and the Internet for days (and maybe even weeks). But if you've found the perfect dress on a cool website and are wondering, "Should you buy prom dresses online?" I'm happy to report the answer is yes! However, since you're forgoing the safety of a dressing room and the chance to totally see what the gown would actually look like on your bod, there are a few things to consider. 

First and foremost, I would definitely urge you to dodge those super, super cheap websites where all the clothing prices seem way too good be true. Refinery29's Alyssa Coscarelli put together a great piece, "Here's What Happened When We Bought Clothes From Those Sketchy Online Sites," and the results were far from encouraging. From the five sites Coscarelli ordered from, not a single item matched the picture. Consider yourself warned. 

Beyond wanting to make sure you will in fact get what you ordered, below are all the the things to consider when buying your prom dress online. I'm personally a huge fan of e-commerce since it means I can snag something from anywhere on the planet, but I've definitely learned a few important lessons for success!

1. Read The Return/Exchange Policy Closely

On the off chance something doesn't fit like you'd hoped, make sure you're buying from a place that will let you exchange or return with minimum hassle. 

2. Take Your Measurements 

Yes, get out that measuring tape to properly measure yourself from head to toe. Guessing your size is such a waste of time if you want to order something that actually fits!

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3. Factor In Your Shoes 

If you have to decide how long you want your dress before ordering, don't forget to think about what shoes you're planning to wear. Heels versus flats can obviously make a major difference in how much length you need on your gown!

4. Don't Shy Away From Indie Retailers 

Prom Dress Empire Waist, $180, Dress Kimbelina

I LOVE shopping for clothing on Etsy because not only am I supporting a small retailer, but what I'm getting is 100 percent unique. Plus, since I'm directly able to message the designer, I can add a few custom requests to get the style I'm after. Also, this can almost guarantee no one else will be wearing the same dress as you! 

5. Consider Renting 

Another epic benefit of online shopping is that it opens you up to the world of renting. With sites like "RentTheRunway," you can access thousands of designers for a dress you'd otherwise have to drop tons of cash on if you actually wanted to buy. Hello Chanel...

Best of luck fielding through all of those amazing prom dresses online! 

Images: Crew, Brooke Cagle, Samuel Stratton/Unsplash; Courtesy of Brand

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