The 11 best places to buy prom dresses online
The big dance deserves a special outfit.
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Prom season has arrived. Whether you're attending a virtual dance or a socially distant affair this year, there's a lot of excitement surrounding the celebrations, from finding a date to picking the perfect prom dress. While we can't help with the former, we can help with the latter.
Shopping for a prom dress requires you to consider a lot of factors: color, length, style, and brand, to name a few, which can be hard to properly examine when buying online. At retailers like David’s Bridal, Shein, and Macy’s, though, there are hundreds of prom dresses to choose from for dance-goers of all shapes and sizes. Below, are the ten best places to buy prom dresses online.
1. David’s Bridal
Our favorites: Plus Sparkle Strapless Illusion Corset Ball Gown—$379.95 and Charmeuse Keyhole Crisscross Dress—$169.95
Return policy: 7 days
Metallics, sequins, cut-outs, oh my! While David’s Bridal may be known for wedding dresses, it also sells gorgeous prom dresses in long, short, and two-piece styles and in both regular and plus sizes. On its website, you can filter by things like price, silhouette, sleeve, neckline, and trends.
If you want some professional guidance with finding the perfect dress, David's Bridal offers one-on-one appointments with stylists at its store locations across the country or you can chat with a stylist online 24/7. Whether you order online or in-store, you can get your dress tailored with David's Bridal's in-house alterations specialists.
2. Rent the Runway
Our favorites: LoveShackFancy Bexlie Halter Gown — starting at $93 and Fuzzi Tulle One-Shoulder Gown— starting at $93**
Sizes: regular and extended
Return policy: On a case-by-case basis
Want an extravagant prom dress without breaking the bank? Turn to Rent the Runway. The fully rentable service allows you to rent top designer dresses at a fraction of the cost. Simply type in your zip code, size, and anticipated dates of your rental (and return), and you're good to go. Chose between four to eight-day services, and consider this our little secret.
There are hundreds of pretty prom dresses available at Nordstrom, whether you're looking for a flirty cocktail-length frock or a sleek, sequined ball gown. There are dresses in regular and plus sizes that range in price from $60 to $800. You'll also find high-end dresses from designers including Mac Duggal, Carolina Herrera, and La Femme. Narrow down your choices by dress style—A-line, backless, empire waist, body-con, and so on—or neckline, lika e boat, plunge, haltered, or turtleneck. Nordstrom also allows you to sort the results by percent off (as well as from lowest to highest) if you're on the hunt for a deal.
Our favorites: City Studios Juniors’ Embellished Illusion Tulip Gown—$83.10 and Betsy & Adam Plus Size Off-The-Shoulder Embellished Gown—$224
Sizes: 0-15 and 14W-22W
Return policy: 90 days
Macy’s has a featured section for prom dresses on its website, where you can search by size, dress length, color, style, top-rated, and price. You can even filter by discount—from 20% to 70% off—or shop the "Created For Macy's" collection, which features limited-edition gowns available exclusively at the retailer. Prices range from $20 to $400. Another perk of shopping at Macy's? You can get your dress along with everything else you need for prom night—shoes, a clutch, makeup—all in one place.
Our favorites: JASAMBAC Women's Bow One Shoulder Dress with Pockets—$33 and JASAMBAC Women's High-Low Dress—$39.99
Sizes: 0-38 and XXS-8X
Return policy: 30 days
Amazon is home to a vast selection of prom dresses in a variety of styles, lengths, and colors, from slinky black gowns to bright fit-and-flare mini dresses. Many cost less than $100, so it's a good place to shop if you don't want to spend a lot. Search according to size, color, price, brand, and average rating, and then skim the reviews with images to see how the dresses look in real life on other shoppers. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you'll receive free shipping and free returns on select dresses.
Our favorites: Ever Pretty Ruffle Off Shoulder Split Prom Dress—$42 and Cross Back High Split Satin Maxi Slip Dress—$21
Return policy: 45 days
Shein is one of the best places to buy a prom dress on a budget. (After all, like a wedding dress, you're likely only going to wear it once!) Filter through the thousands of "formal" or "night out" dresses by size, color, pattern, material, style, neckline, sleeve length, and price. You'll find classic silhouettes to edgier of-the-moment designs starting at just $18. Bonus: For shoppers in the U.S., Shein currently offers free shipping on all orders in the U.S.
Our favorites: Heavenly Hues Navy Blue Maxi Dress—$89 and Awaken My Love White Long Sleeve Lace Maxi Dress—$89
Return policy: 30 days
Lulu's is a popular destination for dresses, and its prom selection doesn't disappoint. There are all different necklines (apron, boat neck, v-neck, scoop, strapless, surplice, cowl), all different sleeves (sleeveless, strapless, short, half, three-quarter, long), and all different lengths (mini, midi, maxi, high low). Not only does Lulu's have prom dresses, but the retailer also offers prom shoes and accessories to finish off the look. You'll get free shipping on all orders over $50 and students to qualify for a 10% discount by verifying their status via Student Beans.
In Dillard's prom section, shoppers can browse popular dresses, new pieces, and sale items in addition to filtering options by length, brand, color, sleeve length, and price. The product page for each dress features a "Complete Your Look" section, which recommends shoes, handbags, and other accessories to pair with your gown. Tip: Reviewers recommend checking the size chart for each dress—which varies by brand—to ensure you get the right fit.
Anthropologie doesn’t have a specific section set aside for prom dresses but instead has a robust dress section separated into different categories from little white dresses to black tie numbers. For prom, you’ll likely want to browse through the "Formal Dresses" section, where you'll find elegant floor-length gowns in luxe silk and flowy chiffon. Filter by style, sleeve length, length, color, size, price, and brand or sort your picks by the newest dresses or the top-selling. You can also find gorgeous prom-appropriate dresses from Anthropologie's bridal offshoot, BHLDN.
Our favorites: Faviana V-Neck Ruched Open-Back Floor Length Dress—$250 and Long Alyce High-Low Taffeta Prom Dress with Slit—$249
Return policy: 7 days
PromGirl makes prom dress shopping a breeze with its easy-to-navigate website layout and design. First, you can shop by designer, what’s trending, size—including a large variety of plus sizes—and dress style. PromGirl carries popular brands along with its own highly rated line designed exclusively for the retailer. Whether you’re looking for a glittery gown or a sultry two-piece set, PromGirl has you covered. There’s also a section devoted to dresses under $200 and an option to filter your results by body shape so you can find something that fits your budget and your body.
11. Unique Vintage
Our favorites: Rouge & Silver Ombre Sparkle Sleeveless Ball Gown—$200.99 and Unique Vintage Red Tulle Cupcake Swing Dress—$129
Sizes: 4-22 and XS-L
Return policy: 30 days
If retro dresses are your thing, Unique Vintage may be your best bet when it comes to prom prep. Think: beaded flapper frocks and Coco Chanel-approved gowns. The quirky retailer offers silhouettes and shapes that conjure up images of Mad Men-Esque cocktail lounges and sock hops. On its website, you’ll find a designated prom dress section, which you can browse by era—from the 1920s to the 1970s—color, print, size, and brand. Unique Vintage offers $7 flat rate shipping or free shipping for orders over $150.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.