How to buy dresses online (and not have to send them all back) (2023)

How to buy dresses online (and not have to send them all back) (1)

Buying dresses online can be a stressful task, especially if you are usually looking for a dress for a specific event.

Luckily, having lots of options on your doorstep super fast has never been easier.Modetalked toDer New Yorker Stylist Calvy Click, who has worked with dozens of celebrities and brands to find out which retailers to turn to when she has a last-minute event. The wide range of price points, designers and sizesNordstromthe best option for this year.

As well as some of the larger online providers, Click has checked out a few brands that will absolutely blow your mind with your options. Don't worry, we also have her tips for ordering the right size, washing delicates and even a few tips for choosing styles.

if you wanthop on a trend-ifSlip-Kleideror Cottagecore, or you're shopping for a specific event, these are the best places to shop for dresses online.

What we love:The wide range of sizes, prices and designers.

What we don't like:The best shipping options are limited to people who have a store nearby.

At this point, Nordstrom is almost notorious for its relaxed returns policy, which is great news for those of us who are hesitant about the task. There's no time limit, but if it's been a while, they can issue a refund in the form of a gift card. That being said, they now offer curbside returns in addition to mail-in and in-store returns if you set them up in advance. When it comes to shipping, Click loves Nordstrom because it offers expedited options and even allows you to reserve things in-store the same day if there's a location near you.

Now let's get to the good: the choice. Nordstrom stocks a variety of brands online, including other well-known retailers such as ASOS and Lulu's. Their price range sets them apart from other high-end retailers as they allow you to categorize dresses from $50 and under up to $7,000. They also offer a wide range of sizes and even maternity dresses. They offer on-site alterations and basic options (like hems or strap adjustments) are even free for Nordy Club members.

Shipping terms:Free USPS, Rush Available |Return Policy:Anytime |Sizes offered:XXS-4X in women


How to buy dresses online (and not have to send them all back) (3)

View on Amazon

(Video) Woman in shock after buying dress online small enough to fit a ‘DOLL’

What we love:We love low prices and fast shipping.

What we don't like:Quality and size can be unreliable.

Look, everyone knows that Amazon is pretty much the best when it comes to getting things cheap and fast. One of our favorite aspects, especially when it comes to dresses, is the fact that they offer a great keyword search that makes it easier to find exactly what you're looking for, such as dresses, dresses, and dressesprairie dresses. You can collect as many keywords as you like and you will most likely still have over 100 different options to choose from.

Then there's the price. You can always search for specific price ranges, but in general, finding an option for less than $50 is very easyluxury shopsYou can also get high-end designers like Rodarte and Elie Saab, but most of these don't come with Prime shipping. However, Amazon seems to find the lowest prices available even with luxury designers.

Shipping terms:Free for a day or two via Amazon Prime |Return Policy:30 days for a full refund |Sizes offered:All of them (yes, all of them)

What we love:We love the range of bright and glitzy options, from Las Vegas nights to daytime.

What we don't like:There is only one option page when you select XXL sizes.

Revolve is one of those sites that you can seriously spend hours scrolling on. They stock so many brands that I even spotted many on their website (oh hi, Faithfull the Brand and Loveshack Fancy). However, the best part and the part that makes them a go-to place for those looking for the best dress for a night out is that they have divided their selection of dresses into so many fun categories. From bohemian to embellishments and sequins, everything is included. Looking for one shoulder options? Check over. Something super sexy, like a bustier? You have a whole department.

Of course, you can also sort by price range, duration, occasion, and more. While they have many price ranges to choose from, the majority of the dresses range from $150 to $500, which may be out of budget for many shoppers. That being said, they offer a ton of sales.

Shipping terms:Free two-day shipping |Return Policy:60 days for a full refund, 90 days for exchanges |Sizes offered:XXS-XXL

What we love:You have a wide range of styles and brands available.

(Video) Watch this before returning your clothes // what happens when you return online purchases?

What we don't like:Many of the brands are prohibitively expensive or large.

Bloomingdale's has a huge selection of cocktail dresses - we're talking 14 pages of looks. You can choose between styles, lengths, colors and sizes. The best part is that they have options to accommodate many different events, formal or informal, with cocktails. For summer, styles offer more sleeveless and low-cut options, while winter dresses are made of heavier fabrics with embellishments. Be sure to sign up as an online loyalist to always get free shipping.

Finally, Bloomingdales has a wide range of brands. Modern and timeless pieces from brands such asmily, to more whimsical liquid looks fromTRIED, there are many design aesthetics to choose from.

Shipping terms:Free for purchases over $150 and for website loyalists |Return Policy:90 days for a full refund |Sizes offered:XXS-XXL

What we love:The fabrics are of high quality and offer a range of designs for different occasions.

What we don't like:They charge for refunds and shipping.

Eloquii really specializes in plus size clothing that fits super well. The fabrics are thick and of high quality and offer a variety of styles and lengths. The best part is that they really do offer fashion options in larger sizes and take into account things like adjustable straps and waists.

While they have plenty of neutral options for dresses, they also offer tons of bold patterns and colors. After all, they sell accessories, like necklaces and bracelets, in sizes that fit and styles that are absolutely perfect.

Shipping terms:Free for purchases over $125 |Return Policy:30 days for a full refund, less a $5 non-refundable fee |Sizes offered:14-28

What we love:We love the well-crafted look and timeless qualities of each piece.

What we don't like:They charge for refunds and shipping.

Known for their well-made staples, M.M.LaFleur is a great choice for those looking for office wear that can be dressed down or dressed down. Not only do many of the items look utterly timeless, but they also list the body types that work best in certain dresses. These options range from "big friendly" to "breast friendly".

Many of these silhouettes flatter many body types and prioritize A-line cuts that are fitted but not revealing. Since these are office dresses, it's worth noting that the dresses come in a range of neutral and dark shades that would look just as good with an after-work drink.

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Shipping terms:Free standard shipping, expedited shipping available |Return Policy:21 days for a full refund |Sizes offered:0-18

What we love:The prices and the variety of styles.

What we don't like:Quality may be poor and size may not be reliable.

Finding good maternity clothes can be a chore, especially if you don't want to pay designer prices. ASOS Maternity offers a wide range of dresses from cozy t-shirts to prom dresses. They also have a nice selection of office-ready maternity dresses.

Prices rarely go above $170 and things usually go on sale quickly. Because there is such a wide variety, you'll definitely want to tailor your search to the occasion, but it's also a fun site to look at.

Shipping terms:Free for purchases of $50 or more; Rush options available |Return Policy:28 days for a full refund |Sizes offered:0-16

conform to fashion

How to buy dresses online (and not have to send them all back) (9)

What we love:The large selection of brands makes it easy to discover new things.

What we don't like:Prices are also designer.

Matches has over 650 designers and you can buy them all online. As well as super luxury brands like Gucci and Prada, they offer smaller designers whose items may be new to you.

The site also divides its offerings into many categories to make shopping easier within your price range, style, and brand preferences. In addition to sizes ranging from XXS to 4XL, there are fun categories like embellishments, sundresses, and off the shoulder options to choose from.

Shipping terms:UPS urgently available |Return Policy:28 days within the purchase |Sizes offered:XXS-4XL


How to buy dresses online (and not have to send them all back) (10)

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What we love:You have a wide range of designers and price ranges to choose from.

What we don't like:Most brands are on the more expensive side.

A quick scroll through Shopbop's "Beach Ready" section (which, by the way, contains 12 pages with 100 products) gets you ready for the sand between your toes. The choice is absolutely huge, with some brands going up to 3XL.

The best thing about beach dresses is that they come in such stunning bright fabrics. From lightweight sheets to elaborate crochet, there's something for every holiday style.

Shipping terms:Available for free with rush options |Return Policy:30 days after purchase; 15 days free shipping |Sizes offered:XXS-3XL

What we love:You can get designer clothes in excellent condition without buying anything new.

What we don't like:Because inventory is based on what users are currently selling, we cannot guarantee sizes and styles will be available.

TheRealReal is a vintage lover's dream come true and to be honest it's great if you're also looking for designer finds from more recent releases. Although they have a website, the app is easier to use and allows you to browse clothing options based on designers, prices, colors and patterns, and condition.

There's also an Editor's Picks section, which makes it so much easier to find the most desirable brands and unique pieces to top any list. You can sort by size, occasion, and price, and while the prices are still high by most standards, they're a fraction of the original price tags.

Shipping terms:Free standard shipping with expedited shipping available |Return Policy:Must be ordered within 14 days of purchase |Sizes offered:Dependent

What to consider

Shipping Terms

This is an especially important aspect to consider when working on a strict deadline. Most places offer rush or express options if you're willing to pay the price. However, if you have a few days, many of the options above offer free standard shipping with a guaranteed arrival time of 5 days.

return policy

It was shocking how much this varied for different stores. I've found that larger stores are much more likely to accept returns or offer credit if you miss the return deadline. Smaller brands are more likely to charge for the return label. Of course, if you're in trouble, this might not even be a big consideration.

Your questions answered

How do you find the right dress size online?

You know the saying “measure twice, cut once”? That is certainly the case here. Click recommends that people keep a tape measure nearby. More importantly, he advises people to "beware of standardized size charts that span many brands." If you're shopping from a retailer that stocks many different brands, Click says it's best to go to the actual designer's website to make sure the measurements are accurate. Finally, be sure to read the reviews to see if the item is true to size.

Which fabrics are easier to machine wash?

While Click admits to hand washing everything thanks to his New York washing machine, which says he "happily devours anything less precious than a beach towel," there are a few fabrics to consider if you want something that's made for the washing machine is suitable. That is, cotton-polyester blends, but if you want the garments to hold their shape, be sure to skip the dryer. If you have linens, it's probably best to hand wash and dry them or opt for spot cleaning if possible. For silk: dry clean, baby!

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How to shop for clothes online efficiently? ›

How To Shop Online For Clothes: 8 Best Tips To Actually Love What You Buy
  1. Know Your Personal Style.
  2. Know Your Body Measurements.
  3. Check The Retailer Size Guide.
  4. Buy Two Sizes and Return One.
  5. Shipping and Returns.
  6. Read The Customer Reviews.
  7. Consider The Fabrics.
  8. Reliable Retailers vs. Retailers To Avoid.
Jan 27, 2022

What do stores do with returned clothes? ›

Returned products are handled in a number of different ways, he said. Retailers take back merchandise from the customer, evaluate it, and if it's in good condition put it back on the shelf at the same or lesser price. They can refurbish damaged returns and sell them for less or offload them to liquidators to resell.

Which is the best online shopping site? ›

List Of Best Online Shopping Sites In India
  1. Amazon. Amazon has significantly altered the landscape of the internet business. ...
  2. Flipkart. Flipkart is an all-in-one destination for all of your daily needs. ...
  3. Myntra. ...
  4. Ajio. ...
  5. Pharmeasy. ...
  6. Nykaa. ...
  7. Snapdeal. ...
  8. Lenskart.

Why are things so cheap on Shein? ›

Their prices are low because they practice fast fashion, use cheap labor, and have a lot of sales and discounts. However, their clothes are usually of good quality, and you can always return them if you're not happy with your purchase. So if you're looking for affordable clothes, Shein is a great option!

What are 4 tips for shopping online? ›

How to Shop Safely Online
  • Always place orders from a secure connection. ...
  • Know the merchant and their reputation. ...
  • Avoid offers that seem “too good to be true” ...
  • If you are buying a Gift Card, read the Terms and Conditions. ...
  • Don't use an e-store that requires more information than necessary to make the sale.

What should you not do when shopping online? ›

10 Cybersecurity Tips for Online Shopping
  1. Skip the debit card. When shopping online it's best to stick to credit cards or payment services like Paypal. ...
  2. Shop secure sites only. ...
  3. Update your software. ...
  4. Outsmart email scams. ...
  5. Don't click on links. ...
  6. Beef up your passwords. ...
  7. Never give more info than needed. ...
  8. Don't go public.

Does target throw away returned clothes? ›

If a returned item can't be resold, we either donate, salvage, recycle or properly dispose of it if it's broken or damaged. And we never re-sell anything that is temperature controlled and has left the store (like milk).

Do stores throw away returned clothes? ›

Experts estimate that retailers throw away about a quarter of their returns. Returns and resale company Optoro estimates that every year, U.S. returns create almost 6 billion pounds of landfill waste.

Do clothes companies throw away returns? ›

Why returns end up in a landfill. One of the main issues with online shopping returns is that after going through this pollution-heavy process, most returned clothes end up in a landfill rather than being resold.

What is the number 1 online store? ›

What is the most trusted shopping app? ›

App App NamePublisher Publisher
2SHEIN-Fashion Shopping OnlineRoadget Business PTE. LTD.
3Walmart Shopping & GroceryWalmart
4Amazon ShoppingAmazon Mobile LLC
46 more rows

Which is the best app for clothes shopping? ›

  • ASOS. Download on iOS | Android. ASOS is a fashion shopping app home to over 850 brands and 85,000 products across categories like clothing, makeup, shoes and accessories. ...
  • Instagram shopping. Download on iOS | Android. ...
  • RetailMeNot. Download on iOS | Android. ...
  • Shopkick. Download on iOS | Android.
Sep 20, 2022

What was the scandal with Shein? ›

Shein launched an investigation after U.K. Channel Four documentary Untold: Inside The Shein Machine alleged that workers were subject to 16-hour-long days, got one day off a month, and earned wages of around 4,000 yuan ($572) per month to produce hundreds of garments for the online retailer each day.

Why do people keep buying Shein? ›

It's much cheaper to manufacture clothes in China than it is in the U.S. This is why SheIn can afford to set lower price points than other clothing brands can. At SheIn, you get what you pay for. SheIn uses lower-quality materials to make their clothing, which keeps costs down and prices low.

Why is Shein called Shein? ›

By 2016 the company had 100 employees, and had already established their headquarters in Guangzhou, China. The firm's name changed again in 2015 from "Sheinside" to "Shein," claiming that it needed a name that was simpler to remember and easy to find online.

Is it cheaper to shop for clothes online or in person? ›

Online shopping is often cheaper than in stores because online retailers may have fewer overhead costs. Online shopping also may come with the chance to apply more discount codes so you can save even more money. You may even be able to find cheaper gently or never used items on second-hand shopping sites.

How do you shop for clothes without being overwhelmed? ›

Give yourself time to shop slowly and seriously consider each item of clothing you find. Leave time to try on the clothes and imagine how you'd style them, or schedule a snack break between stores for a quick recharge. Know the signs of overwhelm and take a moment to yourself when they start to show up.

What is the most sustainable way to shop for clothes? ›

Buy clothing made with natural fabric fibers instead of synthetic fabrics. Natural alternatives to synthetic fabrics include cotton, linen, bamboo, flax, jute, silk, wool, and alpaca. Also look into low impact materials such as Modal and Lyocell. Avoid polyester, nylon, spandex and acrylic.

Where can I find clothes like Shein but better quality? ›

Cheap Clothing Websites Like Shein
  • 1.) Romwe. Romwe carries almost identical merchandise to Shein. ...
  • 2.) Zaful. Likewise with Zaful! ...
  • 3.) boohoo. boohoo is, in my opinion, geared toward a more youthful crowd. ...
  • 4.) PrettyLittleThing. ...
  • 5.) NastyGal. ...
  • 6.) LovelyWholeSale. ...
  • 7.) FairySeason. ...
  • 8.) Forever 21.
Jan 5, 2023


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