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Old May 22nd, 2010, 12:51 PM
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Default How to save big $ on your next formal dress

(Forgive me if this has been discussed before. I didn't see a topic so I thought I'd start one)

I love to shop and wear pretty dresses on formal nights, but I am also a bargain hunter. Since I only get to be fancy on cruises, I loathe spending a ton of money on a dress for one night.

For our last cruise, I ordered a nice satin sheath dress from a catalog only to receive it and find the fabric was awful and very thin. Needing to find another dress, I wandered into Macy's and hit the formal dress section only to find that many of the dresses I loved were more than I wanted to spend. Regardless, I tried them on. I found a couple of brands I loved and made mental notes of the sizes that worked best for me in each line (I also took some blurry photos with my phone).

I promptly went home and hit eBay searching for the designer/size combinations I liked. Lo and behold, I found two of the dresses, in my size, brand new for a MUCH reduced price. One dress retailed for $170 and the other for $160ish. I paid $35 plus $7 shipping on the first and $15 (!) plus $8 shipping on the second! Both arrived as promised and just needed pressing.

Here is an example:
Dress at Nordstrom - $128 + shipping (and taxes if applicable)
Exact dress on eBay - $49.90 + $4.90 shipping

Tips:
1) If you have your heart set on a specific style/color, you need to shop early, but there are never any guarantees that anyone will have what you are looking for.

2) You can save searches on eBay with specific key words ("Maggy London dress 12") and they will email you as often as you wish when matches come up.

3) Brand new styles will be harder to find on eBay. Popular lines/designers and styles will be far easier to locate.

4) As always, check feedback before bidding to ensure the shipper is trustworthy and will send in a timely manner. Also, unless you are a true gambler, make sure the dress is listed as either new with tags (NWT) or new without tags (NWOT). Don't expect to receive anything fancy - one of my dresses arrived folded and packed in a USPS Tyvek envelope.

5) Order as far in advance as you can so that if something goes wrong, you still have time to shop.

Hope this was helpful!
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 01:27 PM
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Charity shops....shhh!
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Old May 24th, 2010, 01:55 AM
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It is gorgeous! A good fabric choice as well as being really on trend! It has black lace, a good example of the gothic romance trend of this season, seen on the catwalk at both Lanvin and Chanel (amongst others) and seen on Alexa Chung.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 10:20 AM
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If you are not dead set on a certain style, color, or fabric, consignment shops have great prices on formalwear.

The eBay tips are great!
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Old May 24th, 2010, 11:28 AM
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Also, go dress shopping right after the holidays, some great barbains in the department stores.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 11:30 AM
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classy, elegant dress, and a great deal to match, good for you.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 06:27 PM
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Cruuuzer,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You View Post
(Forgive me if this has been discussed before. I didn't see a topic so I thought I'd start one)

I love to shop and wear pretty dresses on formal nights, but I am also a bargain hunter. Since I only get to be fancy on cruises, I loathe spending a ton of money on a dress for one night.
I regard formalwear as a good investment. Since I cruise as often as possible, I typically have several occasions per year to wear it.

Since one typically does not encounter the same fellow travellers from cruise to cruise, there's no problem with wearing a dress on as many cruises as it takes to wear it out. Just be sure to choose classical styles, as trendy styles tend to grow dated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I promptly went home and hit eBay searching for the designer/size combinations I liked. Lo and behold, I found two of the dresses, in my size, brand new for a MUCH reduced price. One dress retailed for $170 and the other for $160ish. I paid $35 plus $7 shipping on the first and $15 (!) plus $8 shipping on the second! Both arrived as promised and just needed pressing.

Here is an example:
Dress at Nordstrom - $128 + shipping (and taxes if applicable)
Exact dress on eBay - $49.90 + $4.90 shipping

Tips:
1) If you have your heart set on a specific style/color, you need to shop early, but there are never any guarantees that anyone will have what you are looking for.

2) You can save searches on eBay with specific key words ("Maggy London dress 12") and they will email you as often as you wish when matches come up.

3) Brand new styles will be harder to find on eBay. Popular lines/designers and styles will be far easier to locate.

4) As always, check feedback before bidding to ensure the shipper is trustworthy and will send in a timely manner. Also, unless you are a true gambler, make sure the dress is listed as either new with tags (NWT) or new without tags (NWOT). Don't expect to receive anything fancy - one of my dresses arrived folded and packed in a USPS Tyvek envelope.

5) Order as far in advance as you can so that if something goes wrong, you still have time to shop.

Hope this was helpful!
Those are some really great tips!

Norm.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Burlington Coat Factory has nice formal dresses. I spent under $50.00 for each of them. Also is prom season so these dresses are plentiful this time of year.
Personally I like to try on my dresses versus eBay what looks good on the hangar may not look good for me in the dressing room. One designer size 10 may be more like a size 8 or like a size 12 so trying on is important. Also style, color and length is personal choice.
Don't laugh bring the shoes you are wearing for formal night to the store to try it on with the dress. My friend who cruises way more than I do does this.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 09:50 PM
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Cool B argain shopping

Right after New Years Eve parties is also a great time to hit the dept. stores and I found two "steals" on a rack in a clearance section the end of winter. My recent "steal" was a pair of orange sandals marked down..I remembered I had orange capris. Th problem now being I have enough "formal" clothes for an entire week at least of formal nights.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 04:36 PM
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Sandra,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You View Post
Th problem now being I have enough "formal" clothes for an entire week at least of formal nights.
That's not a bad problem to have. Formalwear does wear out, eventually, plus it's nice to have some variety to wear for galas at home.

Also, cruises do go to different climates that really demand different fabrics and styles, so it's always good to have a selection. A velvet dress would be a bit heavy for a "formal" evening in the tropics, while a pastel chiffon dress would be rather inappropriate for a cruise in temperate climes during the "shoulder" seasons or a cruise to the arctic. I originally bought a white dinner jacket outfit for cruising in the tropics, then ended up adding a tuxedo to my wardrobe when a cruise took me to the Mediterranean in the October-November time frame where the white dinner jacket would not have been appropriate. You gals have a similar situation.

Norm.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 03:17 PM
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If sailing out of Galveston, I would recommend stopping somewhere in Houston or Galveston at Ross Dress for Less. I just returned from my first cruise, of which is the only time I have need for formal dress, and was desperately searching for formalwear on the drive to the ship. I stopped at this store, about 20 miles from the port, and was pleasantly surprised at the selection. Do not go in there looking for something particular. Have an open mind and look for something that you would never wear. I found 2 dresses, plus-size, that I would have never pictured myself wearing but was remarkably surprised that I had pulled it off. I am now prowd of myself for the purchase and planning my next cruise ASAP!
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Old June 21st, 2010, 12:25 AM
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Overstock.com often has the same dresses as Nordstrom (sometimes a few months later). If I try something on at Nordies, I'll always check O before I buy it; I've saved hundreds on some dresses!

J
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Old September 10th, 2010, 11:37 AM
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Default Me TOO!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna View Post
Also, go dress shopping right after the holidays, some great barbains in the department stores.
We always do the "after holiday" clearance. I shoot for black, since I can coordinate it with 2 different looks easily and I go for a cocktail dress instead of long formal. Works perfect on formal night and wrap one night, little sparkly jacket the next and I have both formal nights taken care of with one clearance sale dress. Major department stores always have loads of little strappy dresses left over after Christmas and they are on clearance racks. Perfect timing. I always go after Labor day sales for clearance on swimsuits, cover-ups, shorts, sandals. I just went to Kohls (coupons in hand) and bought 2 Nike swimsuits for my 16 year old grandson for $3.80. The swimsuit started out at $46.00. They were marked down to $13.80 on the clearance rack. I had 2 $10 off coupons in young men's...oh and a 20% off coupon so they were less than $3 each. I got a little dress that started out at $79 for $9 and it will be perfect. It rolls up in a little ball and pulls out wrinkle free. I splurged on a little sequin jacket at $17 (also on clearance) for myself to go with the little black cocktail dress from last year. Now I don't even have to wait on the after holiday sale for formal night. I got a little cotton t-shirt dress for $9 and it will double as a swimsuit cover-up and allow me to go to the dining room, shop, etc., over my swimsuit. Cuts down on packing.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 01:10 PM
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wow, good for you, got some great bargains
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Old September 24th, 2010, 04:25 PM
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My wife shops at Goodwill Stores and other secondhand/thrift stores. She also makes her own clothes, and she always looks so great that it's common for her to receive compliments wherever we go!
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Old December 30th, 2010, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ojos View Post
My wife shops at Goodwill Stores and other secondhand/thrift stores. She also makes her own clothes, and she always looks so great that it's common for her to receive compliments wherever we go!
Ahh yes. I have a closet full. We Goodwill shoppers can keep up with the best of them. The items are not trash like some people think. I pick items when I see them for the "just in case". Sometimes it's hard to choose which items to bring.;-)
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