Plus size dresses

wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
I just got engaged but, as we're hoping to get married this summer, I've been told that I need to start thinking about dresses. I'm plus sized and on a tight budget (I'm hoping under $500) so I know that I'm difficult. I keep being told that I just need to go to David's Bridal and buy something there but nothing on their website wows me. I've seen things that I love from other sites that are very affordable but I'm oddly nervous about buying a dress online.

So my questions are:

1. Has anyone bought a wedding dress online before? How was your experience? Any recommendations?
2. Are there other shops in the area besides David's where I can try on reasonably priced plus size dresses?
3. Any recommendations for the dress-buying process?

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Re: Plus size dresses

  • Well a few things are key here: what kind of dress are you looking for (super formal? casual) and what size are you exactly? Are you true plus size 16+ or under that? Because you will have an easier time the closer you are to a 12 - 16. 

    And if you are comfortable with sleeveless you will have a lot less of a problem!.

    I bought a couple of dresses online to "try on" but did not like, if you buy online MAKE CERTAIN you know the return policy and stick to the rules so you can get your money back. If you cannot return from the buyer,  I would be cautious to buy online.

    I am a true plus size and was looking for a less formal dress without a big train. yes, I bought a custom made dress online from Etsy for $200 that did not fit, despite the fact I sent in very specific instructions and measurements. It was a gamble, I knew it and I lost. I would use extreme caution with this method on a limited budget.

    I bought another dress from Sonsi bridal collection, I did not like it so I returned it. Bought another from SWAK and did not like it, returned it.

    Whatever you do don't go to Eva's bridal, They say all over their website they have a lot of plus size dresses to try on but they don't. I made an appointment and they assured me they had a ton of dresses IN MY SIZE and the style I was looking for, that I could actually try on, but it wasn't true at all. I wound up in a dressing room with a super pushy sales associate named Judi who told me to just hold the dresses up in front of me so I could IMAGINE what they would look like on in my size. And then she acted totally PUT OFF when I wouldn't buy a $2000 dress I could not even try on. AVOID.

    I wound up buying my dress at David's bridal and it was more formal than I originally wanted but am extremely happy with it. Their new 2014 dresses JUST came out so there are a few new ones there you may not have seen yet. I may be an easy bride, looking for a simple dress, so it could be just me. but I loved their customer service and they really treat their plus size customers well.

    Good luck!

  • You will have to go either David's Bridal or a non-traditional route like Etsy or a non-bridal store fancy dress, like KayDeee says. That's only because of the budget you're setting (and I wish I spent that amount!).

    If you want to try on some fancier styles to see what you like, although out of your price range I would highly suggest Volle's in Lake Zurich. I am a street size 16-18 and my wedding dress was a 20 - I got it at Volle's and they had a LOT for me to choose from. I was able to try on a size 14 and up (just can't lace up or zip close, but you can still get an idea for shape and design).

    Volle's was my eighth store and I told my mom that if I didn't find something, I was taking a dress break after that. It was mentally hard on me to feel yucky and be in my underwear in front of a stranger trying things on, I was not excited for the dress part AT ALL going into it. Volle's was good to me and I felt comfortable with their salespeople and their seamstress.

    My suggestion is to wear a Spanx-type top so the dresses slide over you quickly and more easily. It helped a lot! But David's will have a lot for you to try on in your sizes and price range.
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    Thank you both!

    I'm pretty sure that I want something fairly casual. I've seen a lot of bridesmaids dresses in white that seem my style. I'm wearing somewhere around an 18 lately and am having a miserable time finding things that fit anywhere.

    I'll avoid Eva's and book an appointment with Volle's. I'm going with my mom and sister in a few weeks to David's and House of Brides. David's because, well, everyone goes and House of Brides because they carry the bridesmaids dress that I think I love.

    Good call on the online shopping tips. I've been scared to order online for just those reasons. I had bad experiences with eShakti years ago that worry me about custom. Plus, they take so long to ship that I worry about missing opportunities to find dresses elsewhere.

    I'm not a naturally very super-girlie type and somehow this is becoming the most stressful part of getting married. I'm hoping that I fall in love on my first shopping day so I can be done with it all!
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • I hated the dress process too - I still was happy (not that ridiculous gushy "I found the one" shit but still pretty damn happy) when I found it. Mine was beautiful and I didn't have to compromise my style because of my size. I even went to some stores alone just to get them over with - so not my kind of thing.

    Good luck! If you need any tips or other help let us know, I really feel this innate need to help other plus size brides since I know it was such a frustrating part. My only frustrating part of the entire wedding actually.
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    The dress shopping happened today.

    House of Brides downtown was a horrible experience. I went in because they had a bridesmaids dress that I fell in love with and wanted as a wedding dress. I told them this when I made the appointment and they seemed to be on board. When I got there, the woman seemed very unhappy about what I wanted to see. In the end, 1 dress in the entire store that fit me (and it was hideous), a very pushy salesperson, and overall a miserable experience. I left ready to cry.

    After that, we went for lunch (Forno Rosso - amazing!) before an appointment at the David's Bridal in Norridge. I told her what I was looking for and she kept pulling out amazing dress after dress. I ended up falling in love with a dress that was on clearance and bought it today. It was everything I thought I didn't want (lace, beading, a full skirt, a train, etc.) and I've never felt so beautiful in my life. Jean, the sales clerk, was amazing! Better yet, the only alterations needed will be to turn the train into a bustle. I'm so excited! I was hoping I could get away with a $200 or less dress but at $500 (for something that was originally $1300), I still feel pretty great!
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • Glad it worked out for you! Cross it off the list and enjoy!
  • Dolly Couture makes vintage style shorter dresses that look great for plus size and they're super-nice to work with.  The company is small and located in LA but there's a local rep who can show you some styles.  I would rather have my toenails pulled out than visit a bridal store to be sneered at by judgmental salespeople.
  • Just a word about Dolly Couture. I contacted them and they assured me the local rep would be in touch with me. They NEVER emailed, called. Nothing. I followed up again. Nothing.

    I was very interested in using Dolly Couture but they could use a lot of help.
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