Considerations and Tips when Buying a Dress
Your formal wear selecting depends on the occasion and your role in it. Formal occasions include:
. Weddings: Other than the bride and groom, formal wear is required for bridesmaids, best men, flower girls, and ring bearers. Wedding guests usually dress formally also.
. Proms: Both boys and girls.
. Homecoming and other formal parties.
. Quinceañeras: The birthday girl, her Damas and Chambeláns.
. Baptism and First Communion occasions.
Semi-formal occasions such as a cruise ship trip, a Las Vegas vacation, a night out to the ball room... would be good times for you to dress up as well.
Here are some general considerations:
. Forms and Shapes:
Silhouette or Shape of the Dress: Depends on the lady's figure. For example, some figure flaws can be hidden with an A-Line style: It has a slimming shape, vertical seams from the shoulder down, and ends with a flared skirt, resembling a letter A shape. A more traditional style, the Ball Gown - a dress with a full bodice with natural waistline and a full skirt - is elegant on most body shapes and helps to make your face, neck, and waist stand out while covering difficult hips. But if you are proud of your curvy body, then check out the Mermaid, a narrow style with tight body and a skirt that flares at the knees. This style is less comfortable than the others. For the same body-fitting but more comfortable silhouette, the Sheath, similar to the Mermaid, closely follows the body line, and has no defined waistline. This style well accommodates shorter ladies, because its clean, horizontal line helps to create a taller image.
Note that bridesmaid's dresses don't necessarily need to exactly match the bride's gown style, but they must not be too contradicting.
Neck Line: The dress neck line supports and gratifies your shoulders, chest, upper back, and your neck. There are many neck line styles:
Halter (which comes with a sleeveless gown with a high choke neck),
Jewel (which circles the base of your neck),
Portrait (with a shawl collar),
Queen Anne (with a high rising collar),
Sabrina (with a high scoop neck),
Spaghetti Straps (thin straps), and
Wedding Band (with an elaborate band fitting on the neck); just to name a few.
Sleeve Length: There are 3/4 length, long, short, sleeveless, spaghetti straps, and strapless, etc.
. Dress Length dictates the distance from the bottom of your dress to the ground. In general, the more formal your occasion is, the longer dress length you need to choose.
A dress length is somewhere between Floor-Length (hemline is 1/2-2in from floor), Tea Length (8-10in from the floor), Ballet Length (hemline falls just above the ankles), and Mini Length (the shortest, with hemline falls just above the knees). Remember to take account of your shoes when you choose the length.
. Dress Train Length determines how far the train on the bottom of the dress extends. Although a short train is suitable for any formal level, longer train lengths are more formal. If your occasion is outside, you probably wouldn't want a Monarch, which extends 3 yards from the waistline, because it'll get dirty on the ground. Instead, pick something shorter such as the Sweep, a short train 8 to 10 inches from the floor. Other trains include the Chapel (extends 1 1/2 yards from the waistline), and the Semi-Cathedral (2 1/2 yards). Some dresses have detachable or bustled train to be unloaded at the end of your main ceremony.
Your dress color is what catches people's eyes first. Choosing colors, of course, is a matter of taste; but you should follow some general guidelines:
. Matching Skin Tone: In general, people tend to choose the dress color to match their skin tone. A darker-skinned lady may prefer to wear a black dress. But on the other hand, a lighter-skinned lady might also go with the black dress which helps contrasting her skin. Remember that, what looks great on another person may not be your choice at all, and vice versa.
. Matching Other People's Dress Colors: For occasions like weddings, if you are one of the bridesmaids, then you must follow the group's theme. The bride picks out a theme from a store, and registers the names of her bridesmaidsand and maid of honor. You will get your dress with the same theme (style and color), from that same store.
For Quinceanera dresses, the traditional color is pink; but other colors, especially white or light colors, have become popular as well. Bottom line is, it is YOUR big day, so pick the color YOU LIKE best. Your Damas' dresses should follow a common or similar theme too.
. Formal dresses may be decorated with pearly beads, ribbons, and flowers, etc. Although many elaborate styles are beautiful, the simple ones can be very elegant.
. Your dress size should fit tightly to show your beautiful curves, but not too tight to breathe. Most formal wear shops offer alterations such as hemline changes and other minor modifications (we do too).
. Manufacturers sometimes make dresses slightly longer than average, to accommodate taller people. But it is no big deal if your dress is a bit long for you, because it can be altered. Most formal wear stores provide this service, either "free of charge" (but in fact it is hidden in the dress' price), or available for a small cost. Up front, you will need to pay for your dress in full or to make a deposit. Expect a few days, up to 2 weeks to get it back (We Party Cloz offers quick, full alterations).
7- Prices and Where to Buy
. You should pay attention to independent retailers, whose prices may be significantly below those of the chain stores. Why? These smaller businesses typically avoid spending big budget for commercial advertising and for large personnel. But they, of course, must compete with "the big guys" by keeping lower cost and therefore offer more attractive prices, for the same high-quality products.
. Are you tired of calling a company but got the message "Your call is important to us"? This is when your local store saves your day. Small businesses give you the personal attention which you don't get from the large corporations. They develop a closer relationship with their customers, perform better customer services, and provide faster turn-around services.
. If you are short on cash, ask for hold or layaway. A store will hold your dress aside for a few days without charges. Layaway is for longer terms (a few weeks to a few months); when you pay some money up front, then later make additional payments when you can (or on a schedule), and receive your dress when it is paid in full. Although each store has their own policies, make sure that they do not charge interests or fees for layaways (we sure don't!)
. For your important occasions, you must shop early, from half a year to 9 months ahead, to allow sufficient time for researching.
. If you are to select dresses for a group, make sure the store has enough sizes in stock for all of you, or you can order them in time.
. Special Orders and Mail Orders: A shop may need 1 up to 8 weeks to get your order in. Sometimes express orders are available for faster deliveries.
. You should shop at stores that are specialized in formal wear (like us Party Cloz and Brides Dreams!) The shops that sell both casual wear and formal wear probably do not have a large selection as a formal wear shop does.
9- Matching Apparel Accessories, Wedding Accessories
. Formal wear stores and bridal shops usually carry accessories that match their dresses and gowns, such as veils, tiaras, petticoats and hoops, scarves, gloves, garters, and dress shoes.
. You might as well ask for other items like flower baskets, cake-cutting knife, etc.
(WE OFFER ALL OF THE ABOVE).
10- Online Shopping
Before making your decision, pay attention on concerns such as shiping and handling charges, and the time it takes, in addition to pricing and quality concerns. At Party Cloz and Brides Dreams we do not charge handling fees, just the actual UPS shipping costs.
Latest Update: December 06th, 2012 - © Party Cloz & Brides' Dreams, Inc.TM