Where Can You Buy a Designer Prom Dress

There are five main places where you can buy a designer prom dress; boutique, department store, online, catalog, or have it made to order. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, choosing which is best will depend on what you’re looking for, budget and the level of service you require. Here’s a run-down on what you can expect.

No matter where you buy a designer prom dress you should allow plenty of time; leaving it late runs the risk of not having enough time to make any alterations needed, buy those all important accessories or, at worst, not receiving the dress in time for Prom.


This is a popular choice for many. The owners and people who work in these specialist stores are usually very knowledgeable about the gowns they stock and will be able to offer advice on what dress will best complement your figure. They won’t have every dress in a designer’s collection in the shop; there simply isn’t room but you’ll get a feel for the general style and quality of the designer’s garments. Many boutiques have their own website (more about online shopping later) and it’s usually a good idea to take a look at this before you go along to the store.

The main advantages of buying from a boutique are that the dress may already be in the shop so you can try it out before buying. Also, most boutiques will carry accessories that you can try on as well. The sales people are very knowledgeable. Any alterations can be done straight away.

The disadvantages include; not all dresses will be in the store. Also, many designers have their own boutiques and don’t release their entire gown collection to retailers and their own boutiques aren’t in every town. Jovani and Jessica McClintock prom dresses are two examples of manufacturers with their own boutiques.

Department Store

Time was, when buying a prom gown from a department store meant buying a cheap gown. But, things are changing. Prom is big business and many department stores know that the average teenage girl is pretty savvy to what’s out there. These stores are now producing good quality prom dresses off the peg.

The main advantage with buying from a department store is price; you can get beautiful gowns at very reasonable prices. The also will have many accessories so you can buy everything together.

The main disadvantage is that many department stores won’t have the really exclusive designer gowns.


Buying this way is not as popular as it once was. Many design labels simply won’t allow their collections to be sold this way, so you end up with ‘no brand’ garments that aren’t always as cheap as buying one from a department store.

They do have the advantage of allowing payment to be made in monthly installments.


Buying designer prom dresses online is becoming more and more popular. The main reasons why it’s so popular are choice and convenience. The choice is vast with every style and size of gown on offer. It’s convenient because one can quickly find what’s in fashion for this season and then buy it. As stated, most boutiques and authorized retailers have a website so you can buy with confidence. The information about each dress, what it’s made from, colors available, delivery schedule is comprehensive. Also, just about every site has a size chart to ensure you buy a dress that fits you. Many even have a list of recommended accessories for each dress.

The only real disadvantage is that, while the pictures are of good quality, there’s no substitute for seeing it for real and trying it on. What looks great on a model may not look so flattering when worn by you.

Made to Order

This is a good choice as it will guarantee the prom dress is unique. A custom dress can be made by a dressmaker, a talented relative or even yourself. With a made to order dress you can also be sure it’s going to fit perfectly; there’ll be no last minute alterations. While the cost of having one made by a dressmaker can be expensive, the cost of making one yourself can be a fraction of what you’d pay for a designer prom dress. If you are going to use a dressmaker, you should ask to see samples of their work, this way you’ll feel confident that the finished gown will look as good as it should.