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Wedding Dress Sizing – it’s crazy!

Is wedding Dress sizing true to size?

Are wedding dresses true to size?

Have you heard the rumour that bridal sizing is different to the high street? Well it’s true and not just that, but it varies hugely from Designer to Designer.

The thing that many brides forget is that wedding dresses are very fitted. They follow the line of your body perfectly. And most aren’t stretchy or loose fitting like our every day clothes. This means that there is a little less wiggle room in the sizing than say a flower summer dress or a stretchy pair of joggers.

But don’t let numbers get you down.

You will vary from bridal designer to bridal designer (just like the variations on the high street)

Don’t be surprised if your wedding dress is a few sizes bigger than you normally wear.

You have not ballooned as you walked through our door… You’re exactly the same size! So don’t let the fact that you may have an order an 18 instead of your usual 14 get you down. Why should it? No-one else will see the size label of your dress. It’s just a number and means nothing.

Please don’t let some tiny numbers let you convince yourself that you are worth less than if the number was 1 or 2 digits lowers.

The other thing to bear in mind is that you could be a 12 in one designer, a 14 in another and a 16 in a 3rd. This is because they get to choose what their size 14 looks like. And it is often totally different to the measurements another designer chooses.

Take this example:

Your waist measures 36 inches. On the marks and spencer website, this puts you as a size 18 waist. Having a look at our designer size chart, you would be a Uk18 in Madison James, UK20 in Eva Lendel, a UK22 in Couture Collection! Same waist size, 3 different dress sizes. If you were to purchase a Madison James dress, you would walk out of the boutique feeling confident as it is a size you are comfortable with. However if you were to fall in love with a Couture Collection dress, ordering a size UK22 might trigger feelings of disappointment, upset or eve anger (believe us we have seen it all!) This is so sad that something as small as a number can cause this upset. Your poor waist is still exactly the same size!

Sizing is a minefield so do not let it dominate your mind negatively

So how does it work in the boutique?

We stock dresses in our store in sizes UK8-UK26.

These are for you to try on. They are ‘sample’ gowns. Once you have said “yes” we will order you a new dress in your size.

This means that when you try on our sample gowns, some will be too big and some will be too small.

However we have magic tricks to make them look like they fit you.

Bear in mind nothing will fit you perfectly during your try on. all our bodies are soooo different. That’s where alterations come in before your wedding.

With our sample gowns, we do have some flexibility in sizing. If the gown is an aline/ballgown skirt (ie a flowy loose skirt) we can usually make them fit 4-5 sizes either size.

If the skirt is fitted/straight cut it is a little trickier and we can usually go 1 (sometimes 2 if the fabric has some stretch!) size bigger and a few sizes smaller than our sample.

Once you have found your dream dress with us, we will then check those designer size chart and choose the correct size for you.

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How much are wedding dresses in the UK?

Eek. The thorny subject of the price of wedding dresses. Many shops will have their price range on their website which gives you a rough idea of a bracket of prices.

At Chameleon, we are refreshingly different. We have decided to be completely transparent about our prices. If you have a little browse of our website, you can see all the exact prices for each wedding dress we stock.

We want you to be prepared and comfortable with the dresses and price range we stock.

For a brand new gown, our dresses start at around £1,100 and go up to £2,600, however most our gowns fall within the £1,400-£1,800 bracket

Browse our wedding dress prices


Decide how much you want to spend.

Trying on (and falling in love with) a dress you will never be able to afford just leads to heartache. Trust us it’s not fun. You will end up comparing everything to that dress! 

We see all type of budgets. We won’t judge you – everyone’s limit is different. But we do need you to be honest.

Before you come shopping, check that the Designers you like and the dresses you are drawn to are in budget.

Smaller budget

If your budget is smaller than the dresses we have in store, give us a call to discuss your options. We sometimes sell discontinued or past season dresses straight off the peg.

We have sample sales 1-2 times a year.

As it will have been tried on by other brides, you may receive a discount on our sample. Sometimes up to 70% off!

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Who should I take with me wedding dress shopping?

Your wedding dress is the most self-expressive garment you will ever wear. It needs to reflect you and your tastes. Not those of great Aunt Mildred.

TV shows encourage you to bring the world and his wife to your appointment. Why? Because more opinions = drama = better TV.

Big groups mean you’ll be overwhelmed with opinions, your voice gets lost and you can never please everyone!

We recommend bringing just a handful of people you cannot imagine saying yes to the dress without.

We can accommodate up to 3 guests in our 2 Marble Suites and up to 4 in our VIP Suite.

But choose wisely! Before you invite anyone, talk to them about your dress vision. See if they are on board with it. If you want a paired back minimalist look and they love a princess sparkly ballgown, they might not be your champion when shopping. Believe us, we’ve seen some sulky bridesmaids, sisters and mums when they think they know your taste better than you do!

Be also careful about those “brutally honest” types. We have seen a bride’s moment absolutely crushed by a snidey comment from a “friend” who uses the excuse that they were bought along for their “honest opinion”. The truth is that we all have our own likes and dislikes. Take the example of a big pair of boobies. Some ladies love to show them off. Some would rather completely cover them. If you wanna show ’em off and your friends makes a less than supportive comment about them being “too much” on show then this can start to make you 2nd guess your own opinion.

So definitely leave Negative Nelly, Moaning Myrtle and Bitchy Brenda at home!

Don’t miss your moment

Wanna know a secret? Wedding dresses are magical. Many brides are surprised at the emotional reaction they feel when they put on THE dress.

If you have that magical moment when you realise it’s the one, how sad would it be if mum/sister/grandma missed it because you decided to have a fun day out with your bridesmaids dress shopping first?

Yes you can bring others back to show them. But you can’t recreate that moment. Finding your wedding dress is a life moment!

Make sure all your important people are there to see it!

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When should I start wedding dress shopping?

Wedding dresses are made to order for you. They usually take 4-8 months to be made (it varies from Designer to Designer). You also want to allow time for your alterations (approx 2-3 months)

Losing weight? That’s fine we can downsize the dress by around 2 sizes. Don’t let this delay your search as shopping too close to your wedding date can limit your options

10-18 months before

Perfect! You’ll have the most choice and stress free experience.

We recommend that you only start shopping when you have a date booked and a venue. The season and location of your wedding will hugely impact the type of dress you wear.

9-10 months before

Cutting it fine with some of our Designers. Enzoani, Elysee and Eva Lendel all require 6 months delivery time and you need 2-3 months for alterations. So you’ll have to rush into alterations as soon as your dress arrives. You may feel a little pressured trying to fit in your alterations as our seamstresses only have so many spaces in their diary. You may have missed your opportunity at having in-house alterations and our seamstresses close their diary when at capacity.

2-8 months before

Your dress options are a little more restricted to what can be ordered in time, designer stock (they carry a teeny tiny bit) or samples that can be purchased off the peg.

With all the chaos this year (energy crisis, shipping issues, staff shortages) delivery times have grown and we can’t promise that they won’t get longer still.

We want all our brides to have THE dress, not a 2nd choice.

Our biggest advice is don’t wait. We never want to have to say those dreaded words – you’ve missed the delivery cut off date and we can’t get you this dress.

The best advice we can give is the earlier you see us, the more choice you will have.

Don’t shop too early

Start your search whenever you feel ready to commit.

There’s no point shopping “just to see what’s out there”. Styles change and designers do discontinue gowns.

If you’re not ready to commit, something you try on and fall in love with may no longer be available months down the line when you feel ready to order. Imagine the scenario that you tried on “just for fun”, when you were not ready emotionally or financially to commit to a dress. 4 months later, you feel ready, head back to the boutique to try on the dress you have been dreaming of for months… only to be told we no longer have her and she was discontinued. Aaaargh!

Shopping when you’re not ready to commit only leads to heartache. Trust us – we’ve seen the tears!