The ultimate guide to buying a new dress

Shopping for a wedding, formal, work, casual or party dress online? Here's how to make the perfect purchase.

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Finding a dress to suit your personal style, body shape and size could almost be considered a science.

We've done the hard work for you and created a comprehensive list of the best online retailers for dresses. We've also outlined all the different body shapes and how to find a well-fitted dress that actually hugs your assets.

So whether you're looking for a wedding, formal, work, casual or party dress, these are the stores that are going to help you make the perfect purchase.



THE ICONIC

THE ICONIC

THE ICONIC is Australia’s go-to retailer for all things fashion. No matter what kind of dress you need, you’ll be able to find it here.

  • Free and easy returns
  • Free shipping on orders over $50
  • Afterpay is available
Go to THE ICONIC

View coupon codes for THE ICONIC

ASOS

ASOS

British retailer ASOS can provide you with all your clothing needs - from casual to workwear to party-ready.

  • Student discounts available
  • Free shipping on orders over $100
  • Afterpay is available
Go to ASOS

View coupon codes for ASOS

boohoo

boohoo

If you need a dress but don’t want to break the bank, head straight on over to boohoo.

  • Afterpay, Zip and LayBuy is available
  • Frequent sales and discounts
  • Express shipping options available
Go to boohoo

View coupon codes for boohoo

NastyGal

NastyGal

NastyGal is a go-to shopping destination for the trend-savvy gals. If you need a dress, you can get it here.

  • Express shipping options available
  • Student discounts
  • Frequent sales and discounts on offer
Go to NastyGal

View coupon codes for NastyGal

White Fox Boutique

White Fox Boutique

White Fox Boutique is a bold, fashion-forward brand that stocks any kind of dress, no matter the occasion.

  • Free shipping on orders over $50
  • Afterpay is available
  • Student discounts available
Go to White Fox Boutique

View coupon codes for White Fox Boutique

Princess Polly

Princess Polly

Princess Polly is your one-stop shop for cool girl fashion. Find your next party dress here.

  • Afterpay is available
  • Free express shipping on orders over $50
  • Free and easy 30-day returns
Go to Princess Polly

View coupon codes for Princess Polly

Beginning Boutique

Beginning Boutique

If you’re looking for a dress that you’ve seen on Instagram, there’s a good chance you’ll find it at Beginning Boutique.

  • Student discounts available
  • Afterpay and Zip is available
  • Free shipping on orders over $50
Go to Beginning Boutique

View coupon codes for Beginning Boutique

Showpo

Showpo

Wedding dress, bridesmaid dress or work dress - you’ll be able to find it at Showpo.

  • Free express shipping on orders over $100
  • Student discounts available
  • 30-day returns
Go to Showpo

View coupon codes for Showpo

Cotton On

Cotton On

Cotton On is where you can find all types of casual, work-ready and party dresses.

  • Free delivery on orders over $60
  • Free returns
  • Student discounts available
Go to Cotton On

View coupon codes for Cotton On

Missguided

Missguided

Take your pick from all the different dress options available at Missguided.

  • Student discounts available
  • Frequent sales and discounts available
  • Express shipping options available
Go to Missguided

View coupon codes for Missguided

PrettyLittleThing

PrettyLittleThing

If you need an affordable dress, head on over to online retailer PrettyLittleThing.

  • Express shipping is available
  • Afterpay is available
  • Frequent sales and discounts on offers
Go to PrettyLittleThing

View coupon codes for PrettyLittleThing

Forever New

Forever New

Forever New is a go-to shopping destination for modest Australian fashion. You’ll love the dresses available here.

  • Afterpay and Zip is available
  • Free delivery on orders over $75
  • Student discounts available
Go to Forever New

View coupon codes for Forever New

General Pants

General Pants

General Pants is home to fashion labels like Neon Hart, Insight, Subtitled, Neuw and more.

  • Free delivery on orders over $50
  • 30-day returns
  • Afterpay, Klarna and Zip is available
Go to General Pants

View coupon codes for General Pants

Glue Store

Glue Store

Glue Store stocks fashion brands like Beyond Her, First Muse, Nude Lucy and more.

  • Free delivery on orders over $50
  • Click and collect is available
  • Afterpay, Zip, LayBuy and Openpay is available
Go to Glue Store

View coupon codes for Glue Store

SurfStitch

SurfStitch

Surfstich is your local online surf store, supplying you with all your casual fashion needs.

  • Free delivery on orders over $60
  • Free returns
  • Student discounts available
Go to SurfStitch

View coupon codes for SurfStitch

City Beach

City Beach

No matter what the occasion is, you’ll be able to find a gorgeous dress at City Beach.

  • Afterpay and Zip is available
  • Free shipping on orders over $75
  • Student discounts available
Go to City Beach

View coupon codes for City Beach

David Jones

David Jones

David Jones is Australia’s fashion destination for home-grown and international brands.

  • Free express delivery on orders over $50
  • Free returns
  • Free click and collect
Go to David Jones

View coupon codes for David Jones

Myer

Myer

Myer stocks all of Australia’s favourite fashion brands, including Cue, Tokito, Miss Shop and more.

  • Afterpay and Humm is available
  • Easy returns policy
  • Free shipping on orders over $49
Go to Myer

View coupon codes for Myer

Farfetch

Farfetch

Farfetch is a global destination for designer fashion, stocking all your favourite luxury brands.

  • Free returns
  • Fast shipping
  • International click and collect
Go to Farfetch

View coupon codes for Farfetch

NET-A-PORTER

NET-A-PORTER

NET-A-PORTER stocks over 800 international designer brands, from Chloe to Balenciaga to Saint Laurent.

  • Easy returns policy
  • 24/7 live chat service
  • Express shipping options
Go to NET-A-PORTER

View coupon codes for NET-A-PORTER

THEOUTNET.COM

THEOUTNET.COM

If you need to get your designer fix, THEOUTNET is the place to shop.

  • Free shipping on orders over $250
  • 24/7 customer care
  • Easy returns policy
Go to THEOUTNET.COM

View coupon codes for THEOUTNET.COM

MATCHESFASHION

MATCHESFASHION

If you’re hunting down a designer dress, there’s a good chance you’ll find it at MATCHESFASHION.

  • Free delivery on orders over $300
  • Free returns
  • Sign up to the newsletter for exclusive content
Go to MATCHESFASHION

View coupon codes for MATCHESFASHION

Which of these retailers offer free delivery?


Different types of dresses:


How to determine your dress size:

Let’s start from the beginning, get to know your size.

For the perfect measurements, reach for your tape measure and pen and paper. Jot down your bust, hips and waist and see where you fit on the table below. Keep in mind that size varies brand to brand and also internationally. When it comes to retailers that offer free returns, sometimes it’s best to shop a few different sizes and return what doesn’t work.

Size

6810121416

Bust

78cm83cm88cm93cm98cm103cm

Waist

63cm68cm73cm78cm83cm88cm

Hips

86cm91cm96cm101cm106cm111cm


Determine the shape of your body

Generally, women's body shapes are grouped into one of five categories: pear, wedge, rectangle, apple and hour glass. Each one of these categories have a corresponding dress design that fits perfectly. If you find a dress that looks good on a model or mannequin, don't rush to buy it until you identify your body shape.

  • Pear-shaped bodies mean that the woman has a wider lower body compared to her upper body, the hips are wider than the shoulders. Dresses that fit this shape should emphasise the women's shoulders, torso and stomach.
  • Strawberry-shaped is the flipside to a pear-shaped body. The woman generally has a broader chest, wide shoulders and narrow waist. Look to dresses that emphasise the lower part of the body.
  • Rectangle-shaped bodies are when the hips and shoulders are approximately the same width. Dresses should focus on the arms and legs to match this shape.
  • Apple-shaped bodies means that the back, ribs and shoulders are broader. Dresses should emphasise the midsection of the body to match this shape.
  • Hourglass-shaped bodies mean that the waist is tinier, while the shoulders and hips have similar proportions. Dresses should focus on the curves.

What's your body size.


More fashion inspo

Main image: Getty Images

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