How to Avoid Prom Dress Nightmares

Image of 2 dresses being compared.

Shopping for a prom dress can be just as exciting as shopping for a wedding gown. With prom season here, girls all over are on the hunt for the perfect thing to wear, from head to toe.

But gather round folks, for we have some cautionary advice for young ladies who’ve begun their quests to find their dream dress. Beware: the road is fraught with nightmarish, hideous monstrosities that can be avoided with a bit of smarts. Inside Edition drops a nugget on dress shopping in the video below.

Teenage prom-nistas who can afford (or whose parents can) to spend hundreds of dollars on their outfit do well at local boutiques. Others rent their dresses. But some girls who bargain hunt online have been running into swindlers that sell counterfeit merchandise. An interview with designer boutique Sherri Hill revealed that copycats lure buyers in with super low prices and stolen photos.

Good deals are to be had if you know how to look. However, there are some dubious companies that stage their websites to make it look like they are offering high quality dresses. When someone buys one according to the picture, they receive a cheap knockoff replete with poor workmanship and shoddy materials.

What should be a dream come true for young ladies turns into a nightmare, causing them to scramble for a last minute dress. A side-by-side of one of Sherri Hill’s dresses and a copycat version is compared in the video, showing the huge differences in material, beading, and overall craftsmanship. The inferior version is obvious! Sloppy stitching and low-end sequins were slapped together to make a garment likely to fall apart.

Joy Cutrone was also a victim in one of these online scams. She purchased a dress from one of those sketchy retailers and received a counterfeit. She said that it arrived dirty! Not only that, but loose threads are visible. She was stunned and hurt because she bought it as a birthday gift for one of her dance students, who ended up disappointed.

In Joy’s case, Inside Edition and the Sherri Hill company helped to make things right for the 16-year-old girl. To find out how, watch the video below.

The sad thing is that many of these creations come from overseas where legal recourse is usually nonexistent. You are stuck with what you pay for. Worse than losing the money is having a heartbroken girl who’s anticipating their special occasion dress.

Though many savvy shoppers find high-quality, great deals online, it’s important to be aware of red flags. For one, pay attention to the prices. If you see a price pattern for a dress that ranges around $200, but find a deal for $50, be wary. Also, know who you’re buying from. If possible, research the company and see if you can find reviews. That goes for web shops or brick-and-mortar businesses!

On the web you’ll see loads of pics and stories about prom dress purchases gone wrong. Girls share their stories about ugly dresses received in the mail, but they usually end up with a solid replacement.

What about you? Have you ever had a prom dress fiasco and were forced to go to plan B? Did you ever buy something online and end up with a knockoff? Tell us in the comments!