It wasn’t long ago that shopping for a dress required browsing through racks and racks at your local department store. However, thanks to the internet, you can now look for a dress for any event and aesthetic while lounging on the couch in your sweatpants. Google, thank you.
However, with so many possibilities, finding the perfect dress can be difficult. “These days, the dress category has a lot of variation. “With so many different designs, lengths, and fabrications to choose from, it can be difficult to know what’s best for you,” says Whitney Keefe, a stylist at Stitch Fix, an online shopping service that offers personal styling advice. “A-line or wrap dresses are wonderful options if you want to emphasize your curves because they fit snugly to the body through the waist and flow away at the hips and thighs.” Try a Fairy Aesthetic Dress if your hips and thighs are more straight. I’ve recently discovered that a midi-length dress flatters all body shapes. They’re easy to dress up or down, and they’re comfortable.”
These are the greatest places for shopping for gowns online, regardless of your budget, occasion, or personal style.
Overall winner: Lulus
When it comes to internet buying, you may know exactly what you want. Sometimes all you want to do is look around and be inspired. Customers can choose between the two possibilities thanks to Lulus. By allowing you to filter by trend, color, style, and specifics like sleeve length and neckline, the site has mastered the search engine. You know you want something more “feminine,” but would you opt for puff sleeves, ruffles, or both? They also recommend similar styles with slightly different elements if the first dress you click into isn’t quite suitable. You may simply stock up on a couple styles you like because most dresses are around $100.
Revolve is best for special occasions.
Revolve, like Asos, has a wide range of brands and dress designs, but at a somewhat higher price point, catering to those occasions when you want to splash out a little extra, such as a special vacation or elevated party. However, the fact that they offer free two-day shipping in the United States is music to our ears. While free shipping is becoming more common, free two-day shipping remains a unicorn. Returns are also free because a pre-paid label is included in the package. In other words, Revolve is a terrific place to shop if you need a dress quickly and want to try on a few different styles and/or sizes without having to deal with the headache of returns. Revolve has all of your party identities covered, from minis to maxis and everything in between.
Nordstrom’s best perks
Purchasing anything from Nordstrom online is a seamless and pleasurable process. Dresses are especially simple to find because to Nordstrom’s carefully selected collection of brands at various price points; however, you can rest assured that even the lower price points are of exceptional quality and value. Filter by occasion, size, and more to find a variety of selections that are right for you. Plus, with Nordstrom price matching, you can be sure you’re getting the greatest deal on that item across all major retailers. Not to mention that their return policy is extremely liberal and flexible—to the point where they don’t have one at all. “We handle returns on a case-by-case basis with the ultimate goal of making customers happy,” Nordstrom said.
If the dress you ordered is exactly what you wanted but may use a few tweaks, take it to your local Nordstrom for free alterations and tailoring (note: you must be a Nordy Club member to receive this service, but joining is free). You may also shop Nordstrom Rack for inexpensive dresses from the same brands that are available at Nordstrom.
Asos has the most variety.
Start with Asos if you want every sort of dress and brand at your fingers. Asos, which functions as fashion’s own internet search engine, offers a diverse selection of major brands, price points, sizes, vibes, and trends. At modest pricing, you may get anything from flirtatious cutout dresses to classic shirt dresses—and even some designers. They also sell athletic wear from Adidas and Nike. If you were saddened by Topshop’s bankruptcy, remember that you can still shop the brand on Asos (and Nordstrom, for that matter).
As someone who utilized Asos to dress up for all of my college functions, I can attest to how simple the return procedure is (just print the free label and drop it off at your closest UPS). Most of the items also have a video of a model wearing the item, which can help you decide which dress to buy and in what size. When you factor in the expedited shipping, Asos is ideal for last-minute event purchasing.
Most Long-Term: Reformation
We were already smitten by Reformation’s beautiful flower dresses and silk gowns ideal for garden parties, but when we learned that they are a carbon-neutral company (meaning they produce zero carbon emissions), we were completely smitten. Since 2009, the Los Angeles-based label has worked to combine sustainability with design by reusing scrap materials, focusing on local manufacturing, and limiting chemical usage. However, their conservative manufacturing does not imply a limited range; you may find everything from your next wedding gown to your next sundress here. With structural features like high slits, square necklines, and puff sleeves, the company focuses on a minimalist style. Who says sustainability can’t be fashionable?
While Amazon does provide some designer and higher-end selections, it’s the place to go for the biggest bang for your money when it comes to clothing. Not only are there a lot of affordable options, but Amazon also has the most reviews and star ratings, so you can get a good idea of the product’s quality. Of course, Amazon Prime members enjoy free two-day shipping, which is superior to most other merchants.
Amazon Prime also has a newish feature called “Try Before You Buy,” which allows you to try on different sizes and colors for seven days and only be charged for what you keep (it also includes free returns). This is especially useful if you’re shopping for new gowns, as professional fittings with several sizes are frequently required to find the best fit for your occasion.
Anthropologie is the best for weddings.
BHLDN by Anthropologie is a terrific site to shop for all your wedding fantasies, whether you’ve decided to buy your wedding gown online or are just looking for some inspiration. Their bridal gowns range in price from $150 to $3,000 and are both traditional and contemporary. They also have a large selection of bridal party and mother of the bride dresses, so you can dress your entire wedding party. You are welcome to browse the selection online before trying it on in store or scheduling a virtual appointment from the comfort of your own home.
Nasty Gal is the best for going out.
While fast fashion is not the most environmentally friendly option, its low prices and cutting-edge designs make it suitable for one sort of dress: the evening gown.
1 It’s the dress you put on for the night, fully expecting it to be ruined by spills and sweat. You don’t mind wearing it only once to that party or club since you want it to be stylish and inexpensive. So you go to Nasty Gal, which has an encyclopedia of current trends at ridiculously low costs. They also have a plus, petite, and maternity line, and new collections are released frequently. We can’t grumble about the fact that there’s always a sale going on.
Eloquii is the best plus size.
Eloquii makes choosing the perfect dress easy for all shapes and sizes, with plus sizes ranging from 14 to 28. From sweater dresses to sequin slips, there’s something for everyone for casual, formal, and everything in between. Whether you prefer sequins, lace, or simple colors, the pieces are on-trend. They even provide a rental service, allowing you to have a different outfit for every day of the week.
M.M. LaFleur is the best for work.
M.M. LaFleur, a women-led business founded by a management consultant and former Zac Posen head designer, is all about empowering in the workplace through useful, comfortable, and fashionable clothes. The dresses in this collection tick all the boxes for business wear: right length, soft fabrics, and classy hues. These aren’t the stodgy styles you’ll find in your department store’s work section; instead, you’ll want to wear the streamlined silhouettes after happy hour. Best of all, all of the brand’s items can be machine washed, saving you money on dry cleaning.
Pink Blush is the best Maternity.
Pink Blush presents elegant, sophisticated maternity attire with the slogan “not your mother’s maternity clothes.” The clothes are meant to be worn before, during, and after your pregnancy, and trust us when we say that you’ll want to keep wearing them. The brand has everything you need for any event during your pregnancy, from form-fitting knit dresses to fun tiered numbers. You can even find dresses designed for tiny or tall women. The designs are inexpensive and deserve to be purchased in every hue. It’s worth noting that their sizing extends largely from XS to XL, making them less size-inclusive than others on this list.
Best Choice: Shopbop
Shopbop is for you if you enjoy discovering new and upcoming designers as well as a visually beautiful e-commerce experience. The site is simple and editorially focused, with thorough edits and extensive gift guides at various price points. What’s the best part? Because Shopbop is part of the Amazon family, Prime members get a lot of perks, like free two-day shipping and returns.
Moda Operandi is the best designer.
You’re missing out if you love designer fashion and haven’t signed up for Moda Operandi’s newsletter. With their breakdown of new trends and stylish trunk displays, their emails feel more like a magazine than a retail site. They routinely host trunk exhibitions of new collections from fashion designers such as Balenciaga, Carolina Herrera, and Emilia Wickstead, including swoon-worthy garments, to encourage fashion discovery. Their dresses, which lean towards the extravagant, are ideal for holidays and dazzling nights out. The best thing is that you can read the site’s Edit, which provides insider tips on all the latest trends and how to wear them. Whether you spend the money on the outfit or not, you’ll walk away with some invaluable fashion knowledge.
Best Custom: Notoriety & Associates
Do you believe you must shop for a custom dress in person? Please reconsider! Fame & Partners is changing the way people shop online by allowing you to personalize a variety of occasion gowns based on your dimensions and heel height. You may get a custom-fit dress delivered straight to your house, whether you’re the bride, bridesmaid, or prom queen. By generating less stock and making everything to order, the company reduces its environmental effect.
If you just want to save money without all the trappings, you may shop the site’s outlet, which has fashions marked down up to 80%. It’s vital to remember that all things on sale are final sale.
Uniqlo is the best for basics.
You can’t go wrong with Uniqlo’s utilitarian designs and reasonable costs if you’re searching for simple, no-nonsense dresses for working from home and running errands. When working from home, a hoodie or T-shirt dress is unquestionably the best option. However, the simplistic designs can also work well in more formal situations. During my senior year of college, I needed a simple dress to go to interviews, so I chose their stretch short sleeve flare dress in black (see at Uniqlo) and added accessories like necklaces and blazers depending on the level of formality. What’s the best part? The outfit had pockets built into it.