Thinking of buying 'off the rack'? Check out these tips to make the most of your appointment!
First off... what is 'off the rack'?
At Ever After we define our 'off the rack' section as gowns that are typically $1000 and under. These can include sale dresses, discontinued dresses, or simply just styles that we are no longer carrying in store in order to make room for new inventory. This section is perfect for brides who either have a close wedding date that makes them ineligible for reordering, or for brides who have a budget of $1000 or under.
Tip #1: Know the ins & outs of your budget
If you are a bride who wants to find a 'budget friendly' dress, make sure you take into consideration the extras that go along with an off the rack purchase. These extras commonly include alterations, accessories, garment bag, and steaming. It is very important to remember to factor in any extras that you may want/need before giving the consultant your budget range. This ensures that your consultant can pull a dress that is truly within your budget, and still leaves you room for the add-ons that will make your dress perfect for you.
Tip #2: Shop for your size
One of the most overlooked aspects of shopping off the rack is the simple fact that THIS will be the dress you take home, today. This means that obviously we are not able to measure and reorder a dress to fit your specific size. Why is this so important? Well, if there is an option of reordering to fit any size, a bride usually has the option of trying on anything in store, without worry that she will fall in love with a dress she cannot get. When it comes to off the rack, since the dress you choose is the dress you will walk away with, it has to be very close to your size, in order to minimize the amount you're spending on alterations after purchase. After all, if you are shopping to stay within your budget, the last thing you want to do is find out that the price of alterations needed is far exceeding what you wanted to spend to begin with. In that case, it would make more sense to go ahead and reorder a dress in your size that is a bit more expensive, but will cost far less in alterations. This makes shopping a little tricky, but far from impossible! The best way to tackle this when you come to your appointment, is to begin with providing the consultant with your street dress/jean size. Although every designer is slightly different, typically there will be a 'rule of thumb' conversion that will help narrow your size options. What this will sound like is, "if you are a street size 10, you are most likely a size 12-14 in designer X, Y & Z." Even this simple piece of information can help narrow your starting search and give you a window of dresses to start with that should be close to your size. From here, after a dress or two in each designer, your consultant can have a better handle on where exactly you're falling, and pull more suggestions that are perfect for you. Make sure you start your appointment discussing size, because the one thing we hate to see is a bride fall in love with a dress that is simply 'not doable' for their wedding date or budget!
Tip #3: Be realistic about your expectations
As a consultant, our goal is to find you the dress of your dreams, and shopping off the rack is no exception! We absolutely want to find you something perfect, even though our options are slightly more limited. That being said, there is always the situation in which a bride will bring in Pinterest photos of gowns that typically run upwards of 8-10,000 dollars, but are looking to shop within that under $1000 budget. There is nothing wrong with bringing pictures of gowns of all different price ranges for inspiration for both yourself and your consultant! However, make sure you remain flexible and realistic to the options that your consultant pulls. Remember that we are doing our best to match your style with both your size and budget, and that is one tall order! As long as you remain open-minded to trying options that may not look identical to what you pictured, but still fit the vision you are going for, you should be cruising through your appointment with success.
Tip #4: Remember seamstresses are wizards
When you are shopping styles that may be on sale, discontinued, etc., please keep in mind that they have more than likely been in the store for a while, and tried on a handful of times. The nature of shopping for a sample dress is that there may be a slight amount of natural wear and tear that can happen with any item being in store and handled over time. This can mean anything from a small tear in the illusion or tulle of a skirt, to a missing button or two. Although we would ideally like to sell you a dress in perfect condition, wear and tear does happen and often cannot be avoided. That being said, seamstresses are amazing! Remember that the discounted price you are being offered for the dress does take into account that there may be a few 'fix-its' that need to be taken care of during your alteration process. You will rarely encounter an issue that a seamstress cannot fix, and if that were the case, the consultant would not sell it to you in that condition. It is always important for you to discuss any concerns you may have with your consultant so that he/she can gladly clear those up for you, and even sometimes give you alteration suggestions or quotes from his/her experience.
Tip #5: Stay positive!
The last and most important tip to is to stay positive and remember this is supposed to be one of the most memorable and exciting experiences of your life! Even though it may seem a very big task to find something that is perfect for you, I promise that it can and will be done! Remember that we are here to help and support you, and will do everything we can to make your day as special as you deserve. Take a deep breath, and approach your appointment with the mindset that you WILL find your dream dress... because you will!