Alert - Why Not to Buy a Dress from China - Personal Experience

The dress I wanted

I got it for $105 and free shipping last year.  I see it listed for $169 now with a list price of $498
I got it for $105 and free shipping last year. I see it listed for $169 now with a list price of $498 | Source

Shopping for a Wedding Dress

I was looking for a simple Wedding Dress to wear. I was going to be 19 weeks pregnant on my wedding day and had no idea what size to buy. We decided to get married quickly in fear that I would be too big and uncomfortable if we waited too long. I only had 2 months to shop for a dress. I did NOT want to go into a bridal salon nor did I think they would have enough time to get me a dress.

Not knowing where to go - I searched online to find the perfect casual white dress. I found many websites with great selections at amazing prices. I saw a few dresses that I thought could carry a baby belly. When I saw on the site that I could enter my measurements and have one specially made for me I was so excited! I had no idea there were places like this! It was a dream come true. The prices were extremely affordable. I was lured in.

Below is the dress I chose. I chose it because it was elegant yet casual and looked like it could have some room for a belly if it was made correctly. When I saw it was made and shipped from China I got nervous. Would the dress fit and would it arrive on time?? I searched and searched online to find other dresses but found that they are ALL made in China. I could not find dresses made in the USA with the same styles and variety. I reasoned with myself because I wanted to believe that I could get a great dress at a great price. Aren't most of our clothes made in China now? Clearly they know how to make clothes and dresses? Why not buy directly from them?

Before I bought the dress I did some research online to see what the reviews were for their dresses. I then realized that there are many different websites and urls that are from China dress makers. They go by many different names. www.lightinthebox.com and www.dhgate.com and just about any site that comes up when you search for wedding dresses. You can tell by the Contact Us information - says China and all of the sites look the same. They clearly have the market and Google ranking on wedding dresses. It is easy to find yourself in love with one of their dresses and their prices. I did find many reviews with people complaining about the quality and workmanship. However...the dresses they were complaining about were big wedding dresses with intricate lace and design. My dress was simple. I thought...how could they get that wrong?

They have a great chat service and are there to help you any time of the day. The customer service was really incredible. I had a woman tell me that she would personally make sure the dress was beautiful and would arrive on time. That convinced me and I figured for a little over $100 I could afford to make a mistake. I really wasn't sure where else to buy this type of dress with such short notice. So - I clicked the button and sent in my order!

The WAIT

When I ordered it was in the middle of the Chinese New Year so the work was delayed a few weeks. That made me nervous. They have a place on the site where you can check the progress of your order and you can see when it is in tailoring. I felt better when i saw my dress was in tailoring. As it got closer to March (my wedding date was 3/19) I got nervous that it hadn't shipped yet. Doesn't it take a while to ship from China? I checked online and found a lot of complaints that dresses were held up in customs. I could only imagine my dress showing up the week AFTER the wedding.

In the mean time I was looking for other dresses. I found that Macy's had many white dresses and if you ordered over $100 (which was easy) - it shipped free and I could return at the store. I bought about 10 dresses over a few weeks. They were just OK. I ended up returning all of them once I found the dress I wanted online at Lord & Taylor. The dress fit great and was only $169. The look and feel of the dress was elegant yet casual. It fit my belly very nicely. (I would have normally been a size 2 but needed a size 8 to fit my belly!) Now I had a great backup dress if the one from China turned out to be bad or didn't turn up at all. I still excited for the China dress although I was really in love with the back-up dress.


keep in mind I am pregnant in these pictures and am wearing boots.
keep in mind I am pregnant in these pictures and am wearing boots.

The Outcome

Shortly after I found the alternate dress. The dress from China shipped and to my surprise they shipped it Express Mail at no charge! I was so impressed. The dress got to me in a few days. I received the box and was a little nervous as it was in a tiny parcel. I opened it with care and knew right away I didn't like it. The quality of the material was awful. It felt like a cheap communion dress. The beading was not luxurious but cheap and craft-store like. When I tried it on it was even worse. It fit horribly despite the specific measurements I provided. I looked like a woman in an ugly communion dress. I immediately thought it would have a use as a Halloween costume. You can view the pictures below. This is not a dress a woman wants to wear on her wedding day despite how casual she wants it.

The Dress I Wore

Lord and Taylor Dress - no longer available on-line (so no link)
Lord and Taylor Dress - no longer available on-line (so no link)

My Advice

Based on my experience I would not recommend taking the chance on buying a wedding dress (or any dress for that matter) from China. I was willing to take the chance and I lost out on some money. I had a backup plan and, had I not, it would have been very stressful and tragic. Although many people who saw the dress commented that it wasn't that bad. Most agreed that it wasn't wedding dress material and did not look as elegant as the picture on the website.

I felt the need to write about this and post the pictures as their websites are alluring and it is easy to fall into the temptation of buying a beautiful dress direct from China. The low prices can make you really want to believe but PLEASE DON'T! If you want to shop online save yourself the disappointment and check out the location of the store before you search through the dresses. Don't get lured it.... if you see China - run....



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