As we all know, online shopping can often be hit or miss. Although I do buy vintage online, I’ve done it for long enough to know what to look for (blog on this topic coming soon), but I also buy a fair amount of retro reproductions. Buying cheap retro reproductions is a completely different story. Buying a good quality retro reproduction is generally a safe thing to do regarding the quality and bang for your buck, but it can be tempting to want to cut corners especially if you’re looking for a one-off piece or something to alter for a costume/performance. Whilst browsing good old eBay the other day, I was looking for a dress to be part of an upcoming performance. I found something that seemed a little too good to be true and I thought it would be a good experiment… so here we are.
I was looking for a purple vintage prom dress, midi length with preferable tulle on the skirt and after browsing for a little while I noticed a dress come up labelled “Vintage 1950’s Short Prom Dresses Tea Length Mini Cinderella Blue Party Dresses” and it was around $62 (it’s increased in price since I purchased it so please keep that in mind) and from the photo, it looked like a real vintage dress. I clicked it and noticed that it must not be real vintage because I had the option of choosing the size and colour of the dress, so I clicked out and kept looking. But then I noticed the same dress image from a different seller with a different price… and several other listings using the same dress. Ok eBay, you have my attention, I’ll take a second look.
I hadn’t been able to find what I was looking for within my budget and this dress kept coming up in the back of my mind. It was pretty and the more I looked the more listings were coming up for that exact dress or something similar all manufactured in China to your specifications. Now I’m not a believer in fast fashion and actively avoid it whenever I can so I knew what would be happening if I were to place the order but I also thought about all the people who had asked me if I had ever bought a cheap vintage prom dress. What’s the worse that could happen right? So I took a deep breath and ordered the dress in a dark purple shade.
I ordered the dress on the 26th of June and it was scheduled for delivery between the 24th of July and the 15th of August. That’s a pretty big delivery gap so I suggest if you want the dress quickly, this is not the best place to get it. Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact date it arrived as I was in Europe when it did, but it did arrive between the dates listed. I’m sorry I can’t give you an exact date.
When I was finally home and able to open my mail, it had arrived in a plastic mailbag and I was very keen to open it. When I ripped the bag open, the first thing I noticed was the smell. My room filled with a horrible plastic/glue-like smell that was very strong and I quickly opened all windows and ran the bag outside to continue opening it. This was an unfortunate first impression but it doesn’t get too much better than that. I reached into the bag and pulled the dress out to find it folded inside out. I’m guessing this is to stop the outside getting dirty but it was just a little odd and I have never received a dress like that before.
So what I received was a bit of a stretch from the images shown. Let’s start with the obvious, the dark purple chiffon overlay was a great colour, but it was placed over a bright white and shiny lining fabric which stood out in a bad way. It was such a jarring sight that it just made no sense. You’d think that the lining, which is visible, would be a matching colour to the outer layers of the dress right? Nope. Bright white and a bit of a smack to the face. I also noticed that the dress was sewn with white thread so it was really visible on the purple fabric and looked really messy. The other part that seemed a little odd was the neckline was supposed to have a lovely drape and it did, to a certain extent, but it just looked like a piece of loose fabric that didn’t sit on the neckline properly. To give the dress some credit, the lining was finished cleanly which gave the dress a few points. The skirt, however, was a little shorter than what the pictures displayed and was not very full so I’m worried about how a petticoat will go underneath it.
When it came time to try the dress on, oh dear. It fit but it. was. so. itchy! It felt as though the lining was made out of fire ants and it got really hot and uncomfortable really quickly. I ordered a size US 8 and it fit. But it just didn’t look good. It was frumpy, lumpy and did not make me feel glamorous at all. I know this is all personal taste and preference and some may love it, but for me, it was a no. So what do I do now? I plan on altering the dress to see if it can be salvaged for now, it’s all been a part of a glorious experiment and I hope it makes you think twice about buying fake vintage off eBay.
In saying all this, I understand that depending on your size, finding a true vintage prom dress can be really difficult unless you have a massive budget or are just super lucky. Items like this on websites such as eBay are always a risk but I can see why they would be tempting especially having the option of having it custom made to a specific size or a certain colour. Regardless, it’s not worth buying items that are this cheaply made; I wouldn’t go to an event in this without at least trying to fix it up first and I’d rather save my money and invest in something better further down the line.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this dress; is it really that bad or am I being a tad dramatic? I’d love to know but stay tuned to see how this dress transforms and if it can be fixed.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way.