How to tell the difference between a high-quality wedding dress and a poor-quality wedding dress?
If you've started looking for your wedding gown, you're probably aware that there are many overpriced wedding dresses on the market that are advertised and sold as high-quality luxury dresses, but are actually mass-produced in a low-wage country. With the power of social media, it has gotten simpler over time to utilise it to create the appearance of a luxury brand and then use this brand to sell wedding dresses by deterring brides from considering the quality of what they are getting for their money. The majority of bridal boutiques assert, of course, that their products are of the highest quality. We encourage you to verify that you are receiving what you are paying for rather than accepting these statements at face value.
How to make sure your wedding dress is high-quality
Sometimes you can recognise a poor-quality wedding dress from miles away. Sometimes it’s pretty from afar, but far from pretty when you get a closer look.So how do you determine what is high-quality in terms of wedding dresses and how do you spot one that isn't? When you are shopping for your wedding dress, the attention to detail is the key that helps you tell the difference. Here are the two key areas you should pay attention to.
Fabrics and materials
Quality fabrics are usually pricey (there are some exceptions). Our chosen materials can run as much as £50 per meter. I would say any full-length wedding dress needs at least six meters of fabric so if the dress itself costs only a few hundred pounds, you can be sure either the materials aren't of good quality or the person who made the dress wasn't paid appropriately, or both.
High-quality wedding dress
- Has a lining.
- Is made of fabrics that complement the style of the dress. For example if the aim is to create a Grecian style dress, stiff fabric is not the best fabric to create that. You need a fabric that drapes softly.
- Natural materials are the best as they not only are more beautiful on the outside than synthetic materials but they also make you feel amazing when wearing the dress. Look for a high content of natural materials.
- Silks, bamboo, cotton, ramie, hemp, lyocell etc.
- If the materials are organic, even better.
- European made fabrics tend to be amazing quality.
Poor-quality wedding dress
- Might not have a lining.
- Has low cost materials like polyester satin, which doesn’t breath and hence makes you sweat.
- Is so white it looks cheap.
- Is made of a fabric that doesn’t work well in the design. For example, if the dress is cut on bias and the chosen fabric is the lightest polyester satin, it will show through every lingerie seam or little bump in your body and will be the most unflattering and cheap-looking dress ever. When trying on a dress, make sure you sit down and stroll around in it to ensure that the fabric is flattering and comfortable in all poses and situations.
TIP: Ask what the material the dress is made of. The answer cannot be satin. Satin comes in different materials. Read our recent blog post about fabric weaves and materials to understand this better.
Production and finishings
Bad and inexpensive assembly inevitably results in a low-quality appearance. Ask your bridal consultant where the dress was made and pay attention to how the dress's features appear in different positions (hugging your husband, sitting down etc.)..
High-quality wedding dress
- Seams pressed flat.
- Seams aligned.
- Pattern of the fabric aligned in the seams, necklines and waistlines.
- Beads sewn on.
- French seams.
- Zip bound or in between fabric layers.
- Hook and eye above the zip.
- Has under stitchings to hold the lining in place.
- Armholes bound or finished so that the seam allowance sits invisible in between fabric layers.
- Skirt and sleeve hem narrowly double turned, pin hemmed, turned with an invisible stitch or with a binding.
- Sewing thread colour and strength matches the fabric.
- No loose stitch or hanging thread.
- Neat and straight stitching.
- Has mostly overlocked finishings.
- Seams or details pucker awkwardly due to lack of pressing.
- Seams don’t align.
- Pattern of the fabric doesn’t align in seams, neckline or waistline.
- Bead glued on.
- Zip is not finished in any way.
- No hook and eye above the zip.
- Might have a stretched or gaping neckline.
- Might not have under stitchings.
- Twisting sleeve seams.
- Armholes finished with overlocking.
- Stitching might be loose, irregular or crooked.
- Unintentionally pleated fabric in the seams.
- Sewing thread colour or strength doesn’t match the fabric.
- Loose thread ends.
TIP: Look inside the dress to see the finishings. And not just inside but in between layers. Lift the hem and have a look at the seams and finishings. How are the armholes finished? What about the zip? Skirt seams? Hem? If the dress has beads, are they glued or sewn on? Is the pattern of the fabric aligned in the seams?
Obviously, finding one loose thread or a smal section of imperfect stitching doesn't mean that the dress is not high quality. It just means that these mistakes slipped the quality check. We are all humans and err sometimes after all. Notify the bridal consusltant about this and they will most likely to be able to fix it.
Wedding dress is the most special dress you’ll ever wear. If possible, try to avoid choosing a cheap-looking, poor-quality dress to wear on the most important day of your life. You'll revisit your wedding pictures for the rest of your life. Maybe even have one of them on display in your home. Do yourself a favour and make sure that when looking at the pictures you recall how incredible the dress felt and what a beautiful piece of craftsmanship it was rather than regretting not putting more thought into the quality of your dress..
Image credits: Laura Barbera Photography / Nataly J Photography (Bohemian Lakeside Wedding) / Sonder Lust Photography (Boho Wedding At The Oak Tree Barn) / Nancy Hosemann Photography / Victoria Mitchell Phorography