Formal Dresses???

By 25 August, 2008 32

Hiya everyone.

So, i’ve got a slight problem.

My year 12 formal is coming up at the end of the year, and i still dont have any ideas of what to wear.

And to make matters worse, i cant just go into any old dress shop and pick one out, to put it lightly, i’m not a size 12 or anything.

Does anyone know anywhere that has “bigger size” formal dresses??

thanks in advance :)

[ED - Bubzie's been an active commenter here for years so I'm rather excited about her year 12 formal. Therefore any potential unkind commenters should take note that they will be straight into a week in moderation if they earn my ire here]

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32 Responses to Formal Dresses???
#1
ant10:47 pm, 25 Aug 08

Huh. Back in 82, there was NOWHERE to get a formal dress in Canberra. I am not exaggerating. It was hopeless. Had to go to Sydney. the other girls had their various mothers’ dressmakers do them frilly tafeta things, so going to sydney was a good move! I got a snazzy punk number.

Have you checked out Taking Shape? (Canberra Centre, next to Blooms). They do larger sizes, and Maggie Ts is on the other side. I mean, you just want a pretty party dress, right? Wedding shops are also useful, as they have all kinds of party things, not just white dresses. And not all brides are Size 12.

What size are you? That makes a difference. There’s shops that go a bit bigger, and then there’s the speciality ones.

#2
scootergal10:50 pm, 25 Aug 08

Hey Bubzie, have you thought of getting something made? Last year I had a forties style evening dress sewn up last year by a lovely lady in Dunlop. If I can find her name and number I’ll get it to you.

Being curvy myself, I found her to be really good at maximising all the good bits and hiding the bad. Hope that helps. :O)

#3
Ruby Wednesday11:37 pm, 25 Aug 08

Take your measurements and hit the intarwebs if you don’t want to go down the path of having something made for you. Clothes in the States are pretty cheap, and there’s bound to be an appropriate website around. The downside is that you can’t try things on, so be realistic about the kinds of cuts that suit you. The savings you’re like to realise mean you can probably afford one or two misses (or just ebay them if you can’t return them!).

Getting a preexisting dress altered will be less of a hassle as you don’t have to find a great dressmaker, just a good one. Good luck and have a lovely evening when it does arrive.

#4
jessieduck11:47 pm, 25 Aug 08

Ebay (especially stores in the US) offer heaps of options. Really an inexpensive and great way to go.

#5
Cameron11:51 pm, 25 Aug 08

Ahh, I remember my formal. For our Year 10 formal our school just organised us boys to pop into one of the menswear stores (Tony Welfare or one of those ones) and get a mass group discount on hires or purchase. Easy.

I certainly don’t envy you ladies having to move mountains to sort something out.

Best of luck… enjoy the night!

#6
Pandy12:01 am, 26 Aug 08

A red dress. Always brings out the woman in you.

Nothing too flash I hope. It will be ruined by the end of the night anyway.

#7
regularbrowse4:56 am, 26 Aug 08

My sister says if you can’t travel to Sydney for best options, then “My Size” at Woden is good for clothes.

She also found buying a retro sparkly dress from Salvos and getting it altered at the dressmakers to show off her best assests was effective. At the moment vintage dresses are v. popular, so it won’t look out of place. Sis said Harts was a waste of time.

The really time consuming bit was finding comfy shoes to dance in.

#8
szeretetta6:51 am, 26 Aug 08

Myer in Canberra Centre currently has 6 or so different formal dress styles by a brand called Flirt – they’re on a rack towards the menswear section of the plus sized section.

City Chic in Canberra Centre also has some dresses that might well be suitable for a formal – depends on the school.

Taking Shape, My Size and whatnot don’t really do something you would wear to a year 12 formal.

If you’re fond of the alternative or goth look, Gallery Serpentine in Sydney custom makes most of what they have to your size, but there is a six week turn around time.

#9
mdme workalot8:23 am, 26 Aug 08

Heya Bubzie,
How exciting!
I’ll second eBay – the prices are good so if it’s not exactly what you want, there’s no harm done. Get something bigger than you need and get it altered. There’s quite a few good Asian sellers on there who will make something to fit if you supply your measurements. I’ve bought a formal gown from there and it was perfect – better than anything I found in shops.

Another alternative is Rosie’s bridal store in Fyshwick – I’m not sure if it’s still there, but they had quite a few larger sizes. Angelic Inspirations at Gold Creek is pricey, but might be worth a look.

Good luck!

#10
Fiona8:24 am, 26 Aug 08

We had quite a lot of difficulty finding bridesmaids dresses for the largest girl in the party.. but then we had to match and couldn’t just go off the rack etc. But yes, bridesmaid dresses are the way to go. I rememebr when we went looking aroudn they DID have up to size 22 at tims ready to go (unfortunately our girl was a 24, of course!) so you should be able to find something nice. And not bright red or pink! Unless they are your colours of course – dark green and dark red look a lot more flattering (on most people)

#11
jennybel758:32 am, 26 Aug 08

Gallery Serpentine in Sydney custom makes most of what they have to your size, but there is a six week turn around time.

They also have a store in Robertson in the Southern Highlands (about 1.5 hours from Canberra) which stocks most of their Victorian period stuff. They do have quite a bit in stock so youmight get lucky – their website is http://www.galleryserpentine.com.au/ They do have lovely stuff and the staff are wonderful.

I also second the Ebay/ internet thing. Some US stores that might be of interest are Layne Bryant and Torrid. Also this site http://manolobig.com/2008/06/26/international-shipping-for-the-big-girl/ has lots of links that ship to Australia and http://www.bandlu.com/cat.asp?page=9 and http://www.alight.com/cat-0009-dresses-social-evening.html have some lovely stuff.

Good luck! :)

#12
sepi9:00 am, 26 Aug 08

There used to be a stall of handmade clothes at Kingston markets. This was some formal dresses, but also silk skirts and shirts etc.

The owner (Nadia?) is a dress maker and is really good, and also has reasonable rates. She will sew you up something great from material that you choose, and will advise on what will suit you etc. And for a dressmaker she is not expensive. She does book up though, so you need to get in quickly.

Have fun!

#13
pelican9:28 am, 26 Aug 08

I’d also go for something tailor-made. That way you can pick the style and colour that suits you best.

I remember going through this with my daughter – the dress selection was of paramount importance.

Most importantly of course bubzie is to have fun. Enjoy.

#14
peterh10:16 am, 26 Aug 08

mdme workalot said :

Heya Bubzie,
How exciting!
I’ll second eBay – the prices are good so if it’s not exactly what you want, there’s no harm done. Get something bigger than you need and get it altered. There’s quite a few good Asian sellers on there who will make something to fit if you supply your measurements. I’ve bought a formal gown from there and it was perfect – better than anything I found in shops.

Another alternative is Rosie’s bridal store in Fyshwick – I’m not sure if it’s still there, but they had quite a few larger sizes. Angelic Inspirations at Gold Creek is pricey, but might be worth a look.

Good luck!

Rosie’s Bridal is still there, they moved next to Harry’s Discountronix. My wife was in there for a bridesmaids dress for an upcoming wedding. worth a look, they do have larger sizes. (my wife, however, is no longer large – giving birth to twins sorted that out)

#15
Alleycat11:39 am, 26 Aug 08

I have to agree with Rosies in Fyshwick. They have a huge range of dresses in heaps of different sizes. I was in there recently looking at weddng dresses and most of their formal/bridesmaids range was 50% off.

Good luck

#16
seekay11:42 am, 26 Aug 08

Does the CIT or anyone like that have a school of fashion? Find out, contact them and get one of the final year students to create something for you and – guaranteed – you will be the best and most originally dressed girl there on the night.

#17
Woody Mann-Caruso1:13 pm, 26 Aug 08

Argh – trying to remember name of little place in Kingston, across the road from the bottle-shop (ish) nestled amongg all those lawyers offices. Does great dresses, skirts, bodices, vests etc all easy to mix and match and with a great tailoring service. They also keep track of which school you’re from to make sure nonody else rocks up to your formal with the same outfit! Will talk to the missus tonight and post again if nobody else knows what I’m talking about (cue ‘not really unusual for you WMC’ comments…)

#18
jennybel751:21 pm, 26 Aug 08

little place in Kingston, across the road from the bottle-shop (ish) nestled amongg all those lawyers offices.

WMC – Do you mean Nocturne on Bougainville St in Manuka? I got a bridesmaids outfit from there a ocuple of years ago and they were very good. I’d forgotten about them.

http://www.nocturnedesign.com.au/

#19
Granny1:25 pm, 26 Aug 08

Yeah, there is a place like that in Manuka. If you are not one of the size 12 people you will need to allow them the necessary time to make you a custom outfit, though.

#20
Genie1:44 pm, 26 Aug 08

Not knowing your size makes it hard to be helpful, but I remember being on the other end of the scale – barely a size 6 and nothing would fit without falling off.

Try checking our Ferrari Formal wear in the Churches centre in Belconnen. They have a website you can check out aswell.

Otherwise I’ll also second eBay ! Plenty of tailors that will make you a lovely dress just gotta give them your size/measurements.

#21
needlenose1:54 pm, 26 Aug 08

I officially LOVE THIS THREAD.

You won’t find anything at My Size, Taking Shape or Maggie T (where the saleswoman told me they had pleaded with the buyers for formal wear but the buyers insisted there wasn’t a market for it).

However, Harts in the Canberra Centre do have some gorgeous frocks in larger sizes, and can order in for you from their catalogue as well.

I would be reluctant to buy off eBay – while I’ve scored some lovely things that way, I’ve had a few that didn’t work at all, and if you’re going to spend very much money then you ought to be able to try it on first.

Very excited to learn about Rosie’s & Nocturne – will be paying them a visit at the first opportunity!

Now we just need to be sure that you have a partner worthy of your frock…

#22
Mia801:56 pm, 26 Aug 08

Not knowing you size does make this difficult.

Noni B Woden stocks some beautiful dress, and usually up to a size 22.
I have a number of gowns and dresses from there. They are around the $200 – $300 mark, which I think is pretty standard when you go formal.

Good Luck, and let us know how you go.

#23
The Huntter2:35 pm, 26 Aug 08

Hey bubzie, Saw some possibilities in Cassidys Kingston today. Finally a store where size 18 is really 18. But my vote would be for Neet Designs at Kingston markets, top level. Off the rack or made to measure but get in asap. Long straight-but-dancable skirt in shot silk $150 matching top or jacket maybe another $100. Young and classic styles. Or by appntmt in Qbn 62971558. http://www.anitajbridal.com.au & http://www.neetdesigns.com Have a great time!

#24
pebbles325:30 pm, 26 Aug 08

I wouldn’t dismiss the ‘usual’ formal wear places. I got a great formal outfit (size 16) at Events in the Canberra Centre. The staff were really helpful (and honest) about what looked good and what didn’t.

#25
deezagood7:40 pm, 26 Aug 08

Shopping in Canberra for any formal occasion is really sad. Limited choice, very expensive and chances are that there will be two of you in the same frock (gasp!). Tiger airways sometimes have $30.00 and $40.00 fares to Melbourne midweek. I reckon it would actally save you money to jump on a flight to Melbourne, catch the airport bus to the city … and go crazy trying to choose from so many options. Or spend the day in Sydney -same deal. Good luck with your quest!

#26
Davo1118:04 pm, 26 Aug 08

Ebay has been mentioned a few times – if you get yourself measured up properly then the chances of getting a good fitting dress it quite good. If it isn’t the right size, some shops will allow you to return/swap etc. Otherwise it’s ‘only’ a $60 loss. One of my friends said that she just ebays them again if they don’t fit (with better measurements)

#27
fabforty8:06 pm, 26 Aug 08

Ahhh…the school formal. Mine was in the 80′s, KC and the Sunshine Band playing “Please Dont go”… and……well, enough of that.

I second those who have suggested the dressmaker at the Bus Depot Markets (Neet designs I think). You can have something really gorgeous made to suit you and I’m sure they could advise about colour and style. What’s more, you can be sure no-one else turns up in the same outfit. That’s the trap with Harts and similar “of the rack” shops.

Good luck Bubzie and have a magical night ! Please report back

#28
realityskin9:14 am, 27 Aug 08

just make sure you wear a little g-string, VPL is no go !

#29
OzChick3:20 pm, 27 Aug 08

Hi, try this website. They have lots of pretty dresses for girls your size.

http://www.chicandcheek.com.au/

Good luck with this…

#30
Woody Mann-Caruso4:28 pm, 27 Aug 08

WMC – Do you mean Nocturne on Bougainville St in Manuka?

Yes, that’s the place! I could’ve sworn in was in Kingston, but I remember now – it’s opposite what used to be Woolies in Manuka. Thanks!

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