Expert answer: how to pick a ready-to-wear dress

Absolutely Weddings’ experts answer your wedding questions. Here, The Wedding Club co-founder and buyer Clare Thompson gives her tips on finding the perfect RTW dress.

Q: I’m looking for a ready-to-wear dress for my wedding but I’m not really sure where to start the shopping process. Can you advise me on the best approach?

A: Shopping for a dress is less stressful if you go alone initially. Use the first visit to create a shortlist of favourites and then call in up to three helpers for a second opinion (any more and you’ll struggle to decide). Remember that the aim of a wedding dress is to make you look like you on a really fantastic day, not like someone your partner has never seen before. Go for a style that works with your personality, rather than being shoehorned into what you think a ‘proper’ bride looks like.

Do be prepared for the fact that certain dresses you’ve set your heart on when you’ve seen them on a photoshopped model just won’t work for you. It may be a disappointment, but it’s never a disaster. It’s also important to trust your own judgement and also the advice of the stylists in the store. They are professionals,  understand the cut, style and fit of their designers and will be skilled at knowing what works with different body shapes. Find another store if you think that their advice isn’t helpful, you are being pushed in the wrong direction or feel you are being subjected to hard sell.

“Minor alterations can make a significant difference to how a dress feels and looks and good designers construct dresses so that adjustments to fit, neckline and details are possible”

A key point to remember about ready-to-wear is that minor alterations can make a significant difference to how a dress feels and looks and good designers construct dresses so that adjustments to fit are possible. You must ensure changes are carried out properly – like all good bridal boutiques, we only use trusted alterations specialists. One warning though: major changes to cut and style are never a good idea and may ruin the look of a dress. If a bride wants too many radical changes, we see that as a warning sign that it’s the wrong gown and will suggest she might want to look at other dresses that won’t need such drastic alterations.

With branches in central London and Birmingham, The Wedding Club stocks international names in ready to wear and exclusives from rising stars. Designers include Naeem Khan, Berta, Carolina Herrera and Zuhair Murad.

More expert answers: Formal or informal wedding dress?

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