Finding the right dress can be romantic and fun. It can also be stressful, time-consuming and costly. Especially when you have a teenage daughter! Below, I’ll go over what to look for when buying a formal dress online and give you five of my favorite budget dresses we’ve come across so far.
It’s not just my daughter. I often find myself needing formal dresses for work events. The first time I needed a dress it was fun dress shopping for something. But as time went on and I kept having to find new dresses it began to be too much. So, I started to search for dresses online. SCARY!
Shopping for clothes online can be a daunting task. I once ordered a sophisticated purple dress that showed up and was bright bubble gum pink and barely resembled its online pictures. Admittedly, I got what I paid for. So, when it was time to take my daughter dress shopping for a formal dance I decided to go back to the old-fashioned way. We went to every local shop and left with nothing!
Everything seemed low quality and overpriced. We kept seeing the same exact styles over and over again. So, once again we decided to be brave and try to look online. Here is what we’ve learned:
5 Budget Dresses to Buy Online for Under $50
Looking for the right dress for the right occasion? Here are a few that should be near the top of your list. Whether you’re looking for a bridal, Valentine’s Day, bridesmaid, or prom dress, you can definitely find it online! For modest formal dresses we recommend here.
As I mentioned above, the key to finding the right fit is to read customer reviews and look at their pictures.
A Good Under $50 Bridal or Prom Dress
Can you say sequins? Oh my! I am absolutely in love with this full-length sequin bridal or prom dress!
Kate Kasin Women’s Long Evening Dress
The Kate Kasin Bridal KK199 comes in gold, silver, black, red, and the ever so popular rose gold which makes me swoon. It comes in sizes 2 to 16.
There are a lot of people who’ve added pictures online with this as well as their experience. So, you should be able to get a good idea of how it will fit.
If you want a show stopper, this is it! I can just picture myself wearing this fabulous dress to a gala with my prince charming aka husband by my side. It is perfect for prom, bridesmaids, or any formal event.
Ever Pretty Double V-Neck Cocktail Party or Bridesmaid Dress
This flowy knee length dress my daughter wore to a summer wedding as a bridesmaid. It is ever so flattering with its crisscross design on top and fitted waist. It is very simple and perfectly elegant. The flowing skirt gives it a whimsical look.
One thing we’ve loved about it is that it can be dressed up for a formal event or down for everyday wear. The Ever Pretty Double V-Neck comes in multiple colors making it perfect for weddings that don’t want bridesmaid in the same color or for a spring formal.
A Prom or Valentines Day Dress Online for Under $50
Be my Valentine! This dress from Ever Pretty offers a unique ¾ high-low design with a bright pink on black floral design, which is gaining popularity. It’s fitted top and sequins around the fitted waist add just the right amount of elegance. It can be work alone strapless or it has places to hook straps in.
Ever Pretty Floral Print Evening Prom, or Valentine Dress
My daughter opted to wear a small black jacket with it for added coverage to a winter formal. This Ever Pretty Floral Print did run slightly large but quickly exchanging it for the next size down was a breeze. We opted to pair it with glittery silver shoes to really make the sequins around the waist pop.
A Good Budget Dress for a Winter Formal, Valentines Day, or Bridesmaid Dress
Winter formal anyone? This full-length dress is a deep mat red and offers modest cap sleeves, making it perfect for a formal dance, Valentine’s or as a bridesmaid dress.
Ever Pretty Cap V-Neck Evening Gown
This Ever Pretty V-Neck Evening gown is simple, elegant, modest, and unique with its unique lace back. It’s made of 100% polyester.
I love that this dress is timeless and can be easily dressed up or down with accessories. It also has a stunning bead and lace pattern across the upper back.
For the price, it goes just over our under $50 mark but is well worth it!
Ever Pretty Grecian Style Prom Dress
If you want to look like a Greek Goddess the Ever Pretty Grecian Style model 08697 is what you want! It is simply stunning with its slightly capped sleeveless sleeves and v neck design. I absolutely love the elegance that the gold around the waist adds. It offers the perfect amount of flattering fit with a long flowing skirt.
It also comes in almost every color you can imagine from blue, white, green, lavender, and every color in-between.
It’s available in sizes 4-16 and stays relatively true to size. With 12 colors and a price tag under $50, it’s definitely worth a look!
Tips and Tricks for Finding the Perfect Dress Online
#1 Where to Look
If you decide to look for a dress online I suggest you start at Amazon. I know this isn’t the typical place you’d look for a formal dress, but I’ve found there are more and more clothing companies who offer high-quality formal wear on Amazon. You can search through many dresses and even save the ones you like to later compare before making your final purchase. Amazon also makes it easy to exchange and or return your dress if needed.
There are other places you can look online for dresses. While many of them have low prices they often send you items that are very low quality and not as described. I once ordered a white lacy top and got sent a white old fashioned maternity shirt that looked awful. I was stuck with it as it was not worth the cost of returning.
#2 Read Reviews
After my bubble gum pink dress fiasco that resulted in me having to run out and spend more last minute, I never purchase a dress that has not been reviewed. Look for reviews that mention the fit, color and if the dress arrived looking like its pictures.
It’s also nice when reviewers give their size and measurements to help you get a better idea of how it will fit you. Pictures of reviewers wearing the dress are a huge bonus; then you can actually see the fit.
One thing that I ignore in reviews is when they mention the dress being wrinkled or needing to be steamed. Why? Because you are ordering a dress online that will be shipped to you. Expect it to be wrinkled and needing a good steaming before you wear it. Lastly, reviews can help you notice brands that receive better reviews than others. One brand I’ve found on Amazon that consistently received good reviews is Ever Pretty. As a result, I sometimes even shop just for the Ever Pretty brand on Amazon.
#3 Measure Yourself
Many dresses manufactured in other countries outside of the US do not use the same size charts. For this reason, DO NOT GO BY DRESS SIZE and instead go by your MEASUREMENTS. How do you do this? Most dresses will have an image of their size chart with measurements for the chest, waist and hip areas. Make sure to measure yourself across these same areas and order the coordinating size that best matches your measurements.
My daughter once talked me into ordering her a dress stated it was 1” smaller in the waist than her measurements. Sure enough when it arrived it would not zip up past her waist as it was exactly 1” too small and there was no give in the dress. Save yourself the time of needing to exchange for a smaller or larger size and stick to ordering the size that matches your measurements. If there is not a dress that fits your measurements exactly decide if the dress will be worth possibly needing to have altered before you make your purchase. We have found many dresses that we saved enough money on that having them altered was well worth it!
#4 Read the Description
Most dresses will have a description listed where it will share what fabrics it’s made out of and if there is any stretch or not. No stretch means there is no stretch or give. For myself, I prefer dresses that have some stretch as they can be slightly more forgiving, but many dresses my daughter prefers have offered no stretch. You can also find out in the description if there is a built in bra and additional lining sewn into the dress or not; this will help you decide if you will need to purchase additional items such as a petticoat, padded bra and or Spanx.
#5 Leave a Review
Once you’ve found your perfect dress make sure to leave a review to help others searching in the future. As a BONUS some sellers will also give you a coupon for leaving a review with a picture of the dress, saving you some extra money in the future. Always be honest in your review. Share your measurements (if you are comfortable), the size you ordered, how it fit and how it compared to online pictures (some dresses come in multiple colors; specify the color you purchased).
The only way we dress shop is online. My daughter loves having dresses that no one else has. One she got bombarded with questions about; everyone wanted to know where she got it and if they could borrow it. As a bonus for shopping online, I have never paid more than $99 including shipping. This is a great savings considering many of the dresses we have liked in local stores have ranged in price from $150 to $499! CRAZY! Go use these tips to save yourself time and MONEY finding your perfect dress! Avoid the stress store shopping can bring and have FUN dress shopping online!
There’s always a risk when you buy something online. However, if you order early enough and understand the sizing, you can get a great deal on a formal prom or homecoming dress. Now go and have some online shopping FUN! It is as simple as read, measure and review!