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Friday, July 4, 2014

The Most Important Thing to Remember When Ordering a New Dress

Over the last few posts I’ve been focusing on ordering custom dresses and a couple months ago I did a series on how to get a ballroom dress on a budget. The processes for both can be similar, as there are some steps that remain the same regardless of who makes the dress. One of the most important parts of ordering a dress, regardless of if your dress costs $7000 or $200, remains the same: make time for mistakes, alterations, and other unexpected delays.

Something I’ve noticed, regardless of which designer I use, is dress companies rarely get things done as quickly as you expect. Of course, some companies can do a rush order for an extra fee, but it’s better to order with plenty of time to spare rather than to be waiting for your dress to arrive at the last possible second. Worrying about a dress arriving on time is stressful, and the stress becomes worse when you know that the fit is not guaranteed. For this reason, I recommend you order your dress several months in advance. It’s better to have your dress much too early than to stress at the last minute over wondering if your dress will arrive on time, or even worse arrive a day too late (this happened to a friend of mine). Even if your designer promises to have your dress delivered by a certain date, it’s better to give her a date a few weeks ahead of when you actually need it, because you never know when there could be unexpected delays in the production of the dress or with shipping.

To give you guys a little perspective on how easily delays pop up, the last two times I’ve ordered a dress both dresses were not completed until several weeks (or months) past their expected delivery date. The first dress in this category was a nightmare dress from start to finish, mainly due to the unprofessionalism of the designer, and when the designer got a rush order for another dress, she put mine on the back burner, so my dress arrived in March when I thought I would have had it in January. The next dress wasn’t quite such an extreme delay, but it did get delayed four times: the first delay was because the fabric from Chrisanne and Crystal Clover got delayed in the mail, which means the designer couldn’t start construction as early as expected. Then, because the dress turned out to take longer to construct than expected, the dress was delayed twice more. Finally, once the dress was ready to ship, the designer sent me photos to approve before shipping; unfortunately, the designer had made a couple mistakes that had to be amended, delaying the dress even fuller. This dress was supposed to arrive in mid-June, and it’s now July and I still don’t have my dress. Also, keep in mind that there is a reasonably high possibility that the dress will need minor alterations, therefore further prolonging the process.

In short, it’s better to be safe than sorry when ordering a new dress, so order it several months before you think you’re going to need it. Personally, I really like to order a new dress when I’m not planning for anything in particular, or when what I’m planning for is at least half a year away. If it’s your first dress, order before you need it. If you’re just adding to your collection, try to order a new dress when you already have a couple dresses you don’t mind wearing to your next competition or performance, just in case the new dress doesn’t arrive in time.


  1. Have you by any chance heard of Kaka Dance Dress Factory? The website is - I really like some of their latin dresses, the prices are very good, and I'm still just collegiate silver so it doesn't really matter that they're probably not the best quality. However I've never heard of them before and I don't know of anyone who's ordered from them, so I'm not sure if they're actually a good store or not. Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Emily,
      I have never heard of this site before, but that doesn’t mean that others may not have had great experiences with them. They’re definitely one of the cheaper Chinese retailers, so I would really encourage you to look at the posts I did discussing those companies and their dresses before placing an order. Also, make sure to give yourself several months for your dress to get here if you order a dress from China – I’ve had several friends have to rent dresses because their dress did not arrive from China in time for their competition. Speaking of renting, have you considered renting? It will cost about the same, perhaps slightly more, but you will be wearing a $5000+ dress rather than a $200 dress; you can really tell a difference on the floor. Plus, keep in mind that the dresses from China, like the ones on this site, are not going to last long – the materials they use just do not hold up well, and usually the dresses do not fit quite right in the first place. If you do decide to go the Chinese dressmaker route, I would advise you use one of the sites I mentioned in my post, because there are a few reviews of those in the comments, so they do have a history of being delivering orders. Another option might be to purchase a used dress – you can really get a good bang for your buck with used dresses. If you want, shoot me an email and I will send you some suggestions of rental companies and I can help you look around for an awesome used dress. Hope this helps!