Home / Tips, Trends and Beauty / Buyer Beware: Knock-Off Wedding Gowns


Trying to save money on your wedding gown by buying online seems like a pretty good idea. But beware, a low-price knockoff of a designer gown may not be a bargain at all. Case in point:
Our friends at Always Elegant Bridal & Tuxedo display this pair of dresses in their store. One, a designer gown, and the other, a feeble imitation bought, then rejected, by a bride-to-be. After seeing the poor quality of her “bargain”, this bride purchased the original and ended up being out $400 more than she originally expected.

This gown is Jillian by Sophia Tolli. A strapless lace and tulle, fit and flare gown with exquisite hand-placed lace covering the bodice. Pleated tulle adds detail to an uncomplicated skirt and is accentuated with trailing lace appliqués that wistfully fade out before the hem. A satin belt with flower detail, corset back and chapel length train. Removable straps are included.

This dress claims to be an exact replica of the Sophia Tolli design. However, there were distinct differences that are quite apparent when comparing the two. The appliques were quite different, especially around the top of the sweetheart neckline. The sequins were distinctly pink, in contrast to the belt, which, as you can see, is mauve. The body of the gown wasn’t tailored well, so it lost the hourglass shape that made it look so pretty on the original. Also, the skirt started much lower on her legs and was not asymmetrical. While the original had multiple layers of tulle to obscure the underskirt, the copy did not.

The Sophia Tolli dress has a belt which attaches at the flower on front, thus wrapping all the way around the waist. The lacing loops were the same side to side, making it easy to pull the lace string through. You can see that it is wider across the top, while tapering down to the botton. The skirt is full and even, laying beautifully behind her, truly a chapel length train. The appliques also trail off pretty evenly in two places down the back. The color is Ivory, though this does come in Blush/Ivory, Diamond White, Cappuccino, Ivory, Cappuccino and Diamond White.

The copycat dress, though ordered in the same size, was a lot bigger. You can see this by the lacing which was pretty tight around the bust, them widened out, then back again. Note: there was no string to lace this with, we had to borrow one. The underskirt was cut unevenly, and is very obvious with such little tulle to hide it, not to mention being a lot longer. The belt, which was unhemmed at the edges where the snaps were sewn very poorly, snapped onto the dress. The appliques were pretty sparse on the skirt, and the color ordered was ivory, but we can see it’s closer to white. Evidence of corner-cutting is obvious on this dress. And the return policy? Forget it!
So to sum up, Consider if it’s really worth it to take a chance and try to save a little. We know of one bride who found out it wasn’t!

Bridal Gowns: Always Elegant Bridal
Photography: Andrea Fong Photography
Hair/Makeup: All Dolled Up

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