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  • Writer's pictureClaire Ingram


  • OFF-THE-PEG – the dress you try on in the shop will be the one you buy, you usually can’t get one in another size or colour from the same shop as they are often ex-sample dresses that have been discontinued.

  • ORDER IN – usually dresses that are available to order in the size that’s best for you with short lead times (often as little as a week) as they are already made and sitting in a warehouse somewhere just waiting for you! I carry Bianco Evento wedding dresses that are a good example of order in as they arrive in around a week from order.

  • MADE TO ORDER – the dress will be ordered in your nearest size and generally not made until the order is received. They often take 12 weeks or can even take months to arrive.

  • MADE TO MEASURE – the dress will made to your exact measurements. Timescales can be similar to made to order, or sometimes longer.

  • OUTLET – another term for shops that mostly sell off-the-peg dresses that are available immediately, usually at a discounted price

  • EX-SAMPLE – the dresses that the ‘made to order / measure’ shops would have had in stock for you to try on before deciding and then ordering one made to your nearest size. As they become discontinued, the traditional boutiques then often sell them on the outlet shops.

  • SOLD AS SEEN – the dress you are buying may have minor imperfections such as loose beads or dust marks, from being tried on as a sample in a shop. It’s your responsibility to check the condition of the dress before you pay for it, as you cannot then get a refund on the basis of any imperfections you later find and are not happy with.

  • BESPOKE – a one-off dress / item made just for you.

  • FITTING – the process of a seamstress making your dress fit your perfectly.

  • CUSTOMISING – in addition to fitting, your seamstress can make changes to your dress to make it even more perfect for you, such as adding straps or sleeves, taking away or shortening trains, adding or taking away sparkle or filling in sheer panels so they are less see-through. Any many others - often the only limit is your imagination!

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