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The 16 Best Places to Buy Dresses Online and In Person

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Written by Jenna Cartusciello
Best Places to Buy Dresses Online and In Person

What are the best places to buy dresses? Whether you’re shopping online or in-person, looking for wedding or office styles or just refreshing your closet, there are a few things to keep in mind. Specifically, we think it’s important to know the styles that appeal to you, your size, how much you’re willing to spend, the store’s refund policy and your budget. If you don’t have the time or bandwidth to check out all these factors on your own, don’t worry — we’ve done the grunt work for you.

This comprehensive list of the best places to buy dresses — online and in person — is based on the array of dresses available, product testing, reviews, quality, sizing inclusivity, sustainability, customer service and returns/exchange processes. I’ve also included my personal experience with many of the companies below so you can get a first-hand account of a store’s pros and cons. While not every store will tick all of these boxes, you’ll be able to find just what you’re looking for if you focus on two to three priorities.

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Finding the Best Places to Buy Dresses

It happens every season: You think you already have the right dress for that occasion in two weeks, then realize you need something new. When this happens, it’s helpful to have trusted stores in mind before doing any shopping. Otherwise, you may make a purchase that becomes a headache — you didn’t realize that the store has a poor refund policy, for example, or that your chosen dress is see-through.

You may already have a few favorite brands in your back pocket (most of us do!), but it’s always helpful to expand your repertoire. That way, you’ll find more interesting styles that excite you and add flare to your closet when you need it the most. So, how do you know what makes for a good store? Check out the factors you ought to consider before trusting a brand with your hard-earned cash.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Places to Buy Dresses


How much are you willing to spend on your dress? Generally, the baseline for a high quality piece is at least $30, and you’re more likely to spend between $50 and $90 for a dress you’ll enjoy. If you prioritize high quality fabrics like silk instead of satin, or you want to shop at stores that focus on sustainability and fair labor, you’re more likely to spend between $100 and $200 on every dress you purchase.


Though a company’s carbon footprint is easy to forget when you’re shopping for cute pieces, the environmental problems associated with fast fashion will continue to get worse. Thus, it’s important to shop sustainably when it’s available and makes sense financially. Sustainable brands we love include Quince and Reformation.

Return/Exchange Policy

It’s far too easy to purchase a dress without thinking about the refund or exchange policy, which can unfortunately lead to headaches and money spent beyond your initial budget. Fortunately, all the brands we recommend are transparent about their refund and exchange policies, though some are better than others. The best refund policies we’ve come across have been those of Quince and Revolve.


Sizing inclusivity is an extremely important factor if you need petite or tall-length dresses, or if you’re a size above XL. While many brands offer at least a few petite or tall-length dresses, you often have to hunt for those styles. Unfortunately, finding inclusive sizing is an even bigger ordeal — most brands don’t offer sizes above XL. We’ve discovered that some of the best brands for inclusive sizing include Asos and Curve Girl.


What’s the occasion? While many stores sell dresses that cater to a variety of events, from cocktail to business, others specialize in just one or two styles. Here’s a quick “cheat sheet” to get you started: The best stores for weddings include Lulus and Baltic Born, and the best brands for work dresses include Love, Bonito and Ann Taylor. For cocktail attire, we love Beginning Boutique and ASTR the Label, and for prom, Windsor is our pick.

What Are the Different Types of Places to Buy Dresses?


Gone are the days when you’d spend hours at the mall shopping at every department store to find the right dress. Most dress stores are online, so you can find your favorite styles from the comfort of your own home. Online-only stores have a few downsides, though: You can’t try on items before making a purchase, and you may have to pay for shipping. The return policies for online stores also tend to be stricter than those of brick and mortar stores, though some online brands have excellent return and exchange policies.

Online and In Person

To keep up with the online industry, every department store has made the transition to at least some online shopping. (That includes brands like JCPenney, Ann Taylor and Abercrombie & Fitch.) The benefit is that you can create a hybrid shopping experience: You can purchase an item online, try it out that same day, and return it in-person if you want to expedite the returns process. The downside of these hybrid stores? Their online and in-person options are often different — so if you plan to visit a store and try on a bunch of dresses you saw online, you may have a hard time finding all those items on the rack.

In Person

Every major retailer in the US has an online website, so clothing stores that are in-person only are far and few between. If you want the experience of shopping at an in-person only store, your best bet is to try a consignment or thrift shop or a local boutique. You may not find exactly what you’re looking for, but it’s a great way to support small businesses.


Best Overall: Asos


  • Wide array of styles
  • Trendy and fun
  • Petite and plus sizes (up to size 28-30)


  • If you paid shipping, you won’t get a shipping refund
  • Some styles are sold on other sites for less money
  • Shipping usually not included

If you’re looking for flirty, trendy or sophisticated items, ASOS is the place to go. This online store brings in new styles every season so you never have to worry about wearing the same dress as someone else (though if you do, you can always snap pictures and make a new friend). We love that Asos offers petite and plus sizes up to size 30, and you can sort dresses so you only see items available in your size. The returns process is straightforward, too: Send it back within 28 days of the delivery date, and once the company gets the item back, you should receive a refund in 14 days.

While Asos has inclusive sizing, most of the styles are catered to people above 5’7” who wear sizes below a large. In addition, many customers have noticed that they can find the same items Asos sells on different sites for less money.


Best Budget In-Person Store: Macy’s


  • Sales are good deals
  • Styles from classic to trendy
  • Free returns within 30 days of purchase


  • Online returns have a $9.99 shipping fee
  • Some in-store items may be damaged
  • Availability of popular sizes is limited

On the surface, Macy’s might not look like a budget-friendly or trendy store, but the key is to look at the sale items and be choosy about when you shop. You can score some excellent deals if you take the time to peruse discounted items. Also, trendy items tend to appear at the beginning of each season, so make sure you shop in those first few months to find the good stuff.

While the quality of Macy’s clothing is usually excellent, some buyers complain from time to time about being sold damaged items. In addition, not every online style is available at every in-person store, and you may have a hard time finding your size in a dress you like — especially if you’re shopping at the end of a season.


Best Budget Online Store: Amazon


  • Affordable
  • Easy to sort items based on style, size and more
  • Wide array of styles for different events


  • Quality varies
  • Most brands are not sustainable
  • Not every dress is size inclusive

If you’re hoping to find an affordable dress without having to pay for shipping, Amazon is a great choice. The company sells dresses from a wide array of brands and covers all event styles, from casual to work to cocktail. Plus, most dresses have extensive reviews so you’ll know what you’re getting into before buying.

I haven’t always had the best luck with Amazon dresses since the quality varies and the fabric is sometimes not what I’d expect. However, you should have better luck if you stick to dresses that have at least a 4.5-star average rating. Not all dresses are size inclusive, but you can filter results to see only items in your size.


Best Splurge: Revolve


  • One of the best return/exchange policies
  • Easy to sort items based on your style
  • Wide range of dresses


  • Expensive
  • No petite sizing
  • A few quality complaints

If you really want to wow a crowd, go for Revolve; it has some beautiful pieces. The brand offers a blend of classic, trendy and sensual styles and allows you to sort items based on color, pattern, length, style, cut, size, neckline, and sleeve length. The best part of shopping at Revolve? You can submit a return for free within 60 days (assuming the price tag is still on) or get an exchange if it’s been 60 to 90 days. Send it via mail with a prepaid label or drop it off at a designated return center. We also like that sizing goes up to 4X, though there aren’t many plus-size options.

The brand doesn’t offer petite sizing, either, so women under 5’7” will likely have to get certain gowns tailored. A few buyers have complained that they received items that were poor quality, but the vast majority of reviewers love the quality and customer service.


Best for Wedding Guest Dresses: Lulus


  • Free returns and exchanges (within 10 days)
  • Chic, trendy styles
  • Wide array of items


  • Not many petite styles
  • No sizes beyond XL
  • Sizing is not always consistent

Those Lulus ads on social media finally wore me down this year when I purchased several Lulus dresses for fall weddings. And I was impressed; each of the four dresses I bought felt and looked high quality in person — there were no cheap fabrics! I also loved that shipping was speedy and the return process (for a couple dresses that didn’t fit right) was simple and cost me nothing.

However, Lulus doesn’t have petite sizes or sizing beyond XL. I also discovered a strange sizing issue: I purchased the same dress in two different colors (but the same size) and found that one fit better than the other. Other customers have had sizing issues as well. Plus, some buyers have purchased dresses that seemed low quality to them, especially items that are final sale.


Best Runner-Up for Wedding Guest Dresses: Baltic Born


  • High quality fabrics
  • Sophisticated feel
  • Unique styles


  • Styles may be too modest for your taste
  • Poor return/exchange policies
  • No petite sizing

Everyone is going to Lulus these days for wedding guest dresses (and with good reason!), but if you want pieces that are a little more unique, try Baltic Born. The dresses are made with high-quality fabrics and have a sophisticated feel that ranges from flirty to modest. Wedding guest dresses are the focus here, so you’re sure to find a dress that fits the occasion. I myself discovered the most beautiful, floral backless gown for a black tie wedding on this website in 2021, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

A few customers wish that there were more flirty and sensual styles in Baltic Born’s selection. I also wish there were petite sizes available and that Baltic Born had different return and exchange policies. The company only allows store credit and doesn’t cover the cost of shipping the return. If you need to make an exchange (for a different size, for example), Baltic Born won’t honor sale prices if a sale has ended.


Best for Plus Sizes: Curve Girl


  • Sizes 4 to 46
  • Trendy pieces
  • Affordable


  • No petite sizing (5’3” and under)
  • Complaints of slow shipping
  • Complaints of poor customer service

Tired of brands that claim to be inclusive then only sell clothing in sizes XS to XL? Try out Curve Girl instead. This fashion-forward brand offers sizes four to 46, and if you still can’t find the right fit, you can get a customized dress for an additional fee.

However, Curve Girl doesn’t cater to women who are petite (5’3” or shorter), so shorter women will have to get floor-length dresses hemmed. In addition, some customers have complained of slow shipping and poor customer service.


Best Affordable Store for Work and Business Casual Dresses: Love, Bonito


  • Free returns within 30 days of delivery
  • Timeless style
  • Clothing measurements available for every item


  • Sizing only up to XXL
  • International shipping may cause issues
  • Long refund process

One day, Love, Bonito will have taken over my entire wardrobe — and I won’t be mad about it. The brand originated in Singapore and soon spread across Southeast Asia, and it is now shipping internationally. It features elegant, timeless and business-friendly clothing at an affordable price (work-style dresses fall between $55 and $65). I also love that the brand always provides model measurements and clothing measurements, so you can buy the best fit possible.

Unfortunately, Love, Bonito business dresses only go up to a size XL or XXL. The international shipping may also cause shipping mishaps, delays and a long refund process. Fortunately, the customer service department is excellent.


Best Luxury Store for Office Dresses: Ann Taylor


  • Can sort by size online
  • Classic business-friendly designs
  • Free returns by mail


  • Not all dresses are size inclusive
  • Reports of poor customer service
  • Quality may vary

For classic, well-known business styles that you know and love, opt for Ann Taylor. The brand uses high-quality and comfortable fabrics, and specializes in classic sheath and pegged silhouettes (think straight, clean lines). We also like that Ann Taylor accepts returns via mail or in person within 30 days of purchase.

The downsides: Not all dresses sold by Ann Taylor are size inclusive. Some go up to XXL (about size 18) and some go up to size 20.22. Petite sizing only goes up to XLP (the equivalent of 16P). In addition, some buyers have reported that the brand sometimes uses poor-quality fabrics and has poor customer service.


Best for Prom Dresses: Windsor


  • Affordable
  • Wide range of prom styles
  • Free shipping over $75


  • Sizing only up to XL
  • No petite lengths
  • Slim return window

You don’t have to pay more than $200 for a prom dress if you don’t want to — Windsor offers youthful, prom-friendly styles at affordable prices. We love that sequins and party styles are celebrated here, and so are classics. You’ll find everything from body-con mini dresses to formal ball gowns.

What we don’t like: Sizing only goes up to XL and petite lengths are nonexistent. In addition, reviewers note that the quality isn’t as great as other brands, but still believe items are worth the price. The return window is also slim: Special occasion and formal dresses must be returned within 14 days of the original shipment date, and if the product arrived damaged or missing, you must make a report within seven days of receiving the package.


Best for Casual/Daytime Dresses: Quince


  • Best return/exchange policy
  • Elegant and classic styles
  • Ethically and sustainably made


  • Pricey for the style
  • Sizing only up to XL
  • Reports of some fabric being too thin

On the hunt for dresses you can wear to the office and then out to drinks? Quince exudes casual elegance with simple, classy and sophisticated styles. We like that they offer a blend of seasonal picks and year-round goodies. Plus, the brand prides itself on the ethical production of clothing made with sustainable materials. Quince has the most liberal return policy of all our recommendations: You can return an item for a full refund or exchange within 365 days of the purchase date, assuming the tags are still attached and the item is unworn.

Note that these dresses are pricey for what you get — prices range from $80 to $150, which is usually the amount most people are comfortable spending on formal dresses, not casual ones. However, we think the environmentally-friendly and fair labor manufacturing makes up for it. Quince also doesn’t offer sizing beyond XL.


Best for Women Over 50: JCPenney


  • Affordable
  • Classic, elegant styles
  • Easy online return and exchange process


  • Online styles are available in every store
  • Sizes don’t go beyond XL
  • Not many petite styles

There’s no such thing as dresses for mature women; women of any age can wear any dress they like! Still, it’s important to recognize that women over 50 often opt for elegant, sophisticated styles. (Not everyone wants to wear a gen-Z tube top dress to a wedding.) JCPenney caters to this shopper with classic and refined dresses that flatter the figure and never cause discomfort.

Keep in mind that the styles you see on the JCPenney website are not always available in store. In addition, JCPenney’s sizing only goes up to size 18, which is equivalent to XL. It’s not easy to find petite dresses, either.


Best for Petites: Abercrombie & Fitch


  • Petite lengths available on all dresses
  • Great for cocktail or business events
  • Good return policy


  • Sizes only up to XXL
  • Returns and exchanges may be denied
  • Reports of poor customer service

Abercrombie & Fitch hasn’t always been the most inclusive brand (and it’s still got work to do in the sizing department), but we love that every dress on the site is offered in petite, regular and tall lengths. The styles range from sweet and feminine to business-like and classy. Plus, the return policy is good: Return your item in person or via mail for free within 30 days of your shipping confirmation, and you should receive a full refund.

As we mentioned, A&F still isn’t as size inclusive as we’d like — sizes cap out at XXL. And though we like the return policy, it isn’t ideal in practice. Some customers have had their returns and exchanges denied even though they claimed they sent back items in unworn condition. A few buyers have complained of poor customer service.


Best Sustainable and Fair Labor Dresses: Reformation


  • Ethical brand working on its sustainability
  • Classic, modern and elegant styles
  • Sizing up to 3X


  • Return policy is only okay
  • Selection of plus-size dresses is slim
  • Many reports of poor quality

While Reformation isn’t the most sustainable brand out there, it’s making great strides in reducing its energy footprint. It also offers its employees safe and fair working conditions and living wages, which is why its dresses are expensive. We love that you can find classic, modern, elegant and romantic styles here — there’s something for everyone. Sizing goes up to 3X and petite sizing goes up to XLP.

What we don’t like: Not all dresses are made in every size, though we do like the selection of plus-size dresses. The return policy is only okay: Return shipping is free but only if you keep at least one item from your order. Returns must be submitted within 30 days of the delivery date. In addition, many customers have reported receiving poor-quality items.


Best for Seasonal, Trendy Styles: ASTR The Label


  • Latest trends and styles
  • Easy to sort by size, color, price, sleeve length and pattern
  • New designs every season


  • Sizing only up to XXL
  • No petite lengths
  • $5 fee on refunds

If you always want to stay on trend, shop at ASTR the Label. The brand offers classy, romantic and fashion-forward styles without pushing the envelope too much. It also cycles through styles every season, so you’re bound to find something unique.

Unfortunately, sizing only goes up to XXL and no dresses are offered in petite lengths. The return policy could be better, too: You’ll receive a refund if you return your item within 14 days of the original ship date, but you must pay a $5 fee. If you ship the item back between 15 and 30 days, you’ll receive a store credit instead.


Best Trendy Cocktail Dresses: Beginning Boutique


  • Affordable
  • Youthful, flirty styles
  • Trendy


  • Slim return window
  • Return shipping not included
  • Sizes only up to XXL

Looking for a fun, flirty number for a bachelorette party or night out? ASTR the Label has a party vibe and always features the latest trends and buzz-worthy dresses. Mini dresses are the brand’s specialty, but they also offer laid-back, full-length styles.

However, the return window is slim; you must return your purchase within 14 days (10 business days) of your delivery date in order to receive a refund, and the cost of return shipping is not included. In addition, sizes only go up to XXL.

People Also Ask

  • Q: What’s the best place to shop for dresses for women over 50?

    A:The best clothing brands and retailers that cater to women over 50 include JCPenney and Ann Taylor. We also recommend trying Reformation, Curve Girl, and Baltic Born.

  • Q: What is a good website for dresses?

    A:Our top pick for dress shopping is Asos, but Lulus, Baltic Born, Reformation and Quince are excellent picks as well.

  • Q: How much should I expect to spend on a dress?

    A:The minimum you’ll spend on a dress these days is around $30, and you’ll likely spend around $50 to $150 on a dress you really love.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

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By Jenna Cartusciello

Affiliate Commerce Writer Jenna loves recommending great products to her friends and family, so helping the rest of the internet on their quest to find the best stuff makes tremendous sense! Though she mainly writes in-depth buyer’s guides these days, Jenna still enjoys crafting the occasional health article. In her spare time, she loves immersing herself in creative writing. Her favorite authors (for anyone who is willing to geek out with her) include Neil Gaiman, Cheryl Strayed, and Jennifer Egan.

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