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.
Which of these retailers offer free delivery?
- THE ICONIC: Free shipping on orders over $50
- ASOS: Free shipping on orders over $100
- White Fox Boutique: Free shipping on orders over $50
- Princess Polly: Free shipping on orders over $50
- Beginning Boutique: Free shipping on orders over $50
- Showpo: Free shipping on orders over $50
- Cotton On: Free shipping on orders over $60
- General Pants: Free shipping on orders over $50
- Glue Store: Free shipping on orders over $50
- SurfStitch: Free shipping on orders over $60
- City Beach: Free shipping on orders over $75
- David Jones: Free express shipping on orders over $50
- Myer: Free shipping on orders over $49
- Farfetch: Free shipping on orders over $100
- THEOUTNET.COM: Free shipping on orders over $250
- MATCHESFASHION: Free shipping on orders over $300
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.
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.
Main image: Getty Images
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