Did I buy a fake wedding dress? :(

So I've started looking around at wedding decorations & props on second hand sites such as Gumtree and Shpock. So recently I typed 'wedding' into the search bar and an AMAZING dress caught my eye. It was a Sottero & Midgley Holland dress (google it, it's amazing). At this point little naive me didn't even realise you could get fake wedding dresses! So I see it's not my size and I think 'I can slim down, I NEED to try it!'

The seller was wanting 440 for it and we haggled down to 350. It was unworn as she was now going abroad for her wedding and wanted a lighter dress. I should have knew it was too good to be true... :(

I went to view it and the dress is absolutely stunning, even better in person than on the photos. I needed to drop two dress sizes but when I was looking at it I knew I had to have it. So I asked how she would like to be paid as I didn't go with cash due to know knowing if I would like it. She asked for Paypal as we would both be protected - although then proceeded to ask for a friends & family payment. I totally understood as Paypal would have took a good chunk of the payment and she was already selling it for such a small amount.


Now fast forward 3 days and I can't stop looking at the dress. The tags all look genuine and the workmanship feels great but after googling the dress at work (because I'm totally in love) I noticed the straps are a full coverage type strap, only thin but opaque, whereas my dress has like a translucent strap where you will be able to see the skin beneath. Not a massive issue but a different detail.

As stated above the dress is stunning and if I knew it weren't genuine I wouldn't have minded buying it, the thing is I feel I have been ripped off. Sold this 'designer' gown with an rrp of £1795 for £350. I'm stupid - I know... But I genuinely didn't even know fake dresses existed. It still might not even be fake! Is there a way of me finding out? She did say it was a 'sample dress' which to be fair - I didn't know what it meant. I was so blinded by the gorgeousness of the dress I didn't even ask. I'm so disheartened by it all. The most important dress of my life :( Photos attached.



  • Ambam19Ambam19 Posts: 562 New bride

    Looks beautiful to me! A sample dress is just a dress that was the one that was in the shop that people tried on rather than being made from scratch for a customer. 

    A lot of them have customisable straps which could be why it looks a bit different - i can't actually tell the difference on my computer though x

  • Ambam19Ambam19 Posts: 562 New bride

    Ps as a sample gown she probably got it around £800-£1000 so you've still got an amazing deal with a stunning dress x

  • Thank you @Ambam19, I feel a little better getting opinions but I've been going crazy over it today. 

  • mrsdivinemrsdivine Posts: 161 New bride

    It's a beautiful dress. I have found that looking at 'official' designer pictures are never very close up, models are always contorted and the pics really don't show that much detail ( I wonder if this is to make their dresses harder to copy) which make close comparison difficult. I really can't see a difference and think you would know a fake in terms of weight, quality of fabric and quality of tailoring. Please don't fret over it, just enjoy your bargain!

  • Ali's goneAli's gone Posts: 544

    Its a real dress for your wedding and you love it... nothing else matters x

  • Daisy29Daisy29 Posts: 44

    I personally don't think it looks like a fake, compared to pictures I have seen of fake wedding dresses in the past they are usually very obviously fake looking and cheap. Your dress looks lovely and very good quality from the pictures.

    My wedding dress which I've ordered from a bridal shop looks different to the professional photos on the designers website, on the website pictures there is a whole cut-out part which isn't on the actual dresses that are sold, I found that odd. I agree with the comment above about dresses having customisable straps too.

    Could you perhaps find out a bridal boutique who have one of these dresses in stock to try it on, and see if you notice any differences?

  • Suze4Suze4 Posts: 6

    my dress also looks different in the official website pictures - I think because the models who wear them on the runway are so tall, they had to add a whole new section under the bust. But I bought mine as a sample from a reputable seller. 

    as others have said, as long as you love it you have got a real bargain so I dont think theres any problem!!

  • KittyFiennesKittyFiennes Posts: 775 New bride

    If the dress is good quality and beautiful, why would you care if it's "genuine" or not?  You got lucky: you got a gorgeous gown for a fraction of what the design would have cost in the shoppes.

    Years back, I made the mistake of buying a "Maggie Sottero" off of a site that LOOKED local, but was one of those Chinese sites.  I didn't realize that there were websites that illegally used the actual pro photos of the dresses from the designers (the same photos you see in the major bridal magazines).  I figured the images had to be licensed to the seller and therefore the dresses had to be genuine - otherwise, the site would be shut down, right?  Wrong. There are sites like this popping up every day and the dresses they sell are NOTHING like the real thing.  My dress was falling apart, stained blue, and of the cheapest material you could imagine.  Unlike you, I got exactly what I paid for: a £350 piece of trash.

    You took a risk and got lucky. Why worry about it now?  Enjoy the dress.

  • MrsGxMrsGx Posts: 328 New bride

    As the other posters have said -  a sample dress is one that was in the shop for people to try on. Designers often offer slight tweaks on individual dresses. For example I could buy my dress in 3 different colours, with 3 different shades of lace. I ordered mine with slight differences from the one I tried on in the shop – one of them being that the netting which has lace detail on my back, I ordered with a skin coloured netting so it can’t be seen as much. Whereas on the shop sample it was white.

    If I google my dress, the designer images so look slightly different from the dress I see in real life. It might be that the dress you have was ordered by the shop with a different strap option to the one you're Googling. I’m sure you’ve got yourself an absolute bargain.

    However I would say, if it feels well made and you love the dress, it doesn't really matter whether or not it's genuine. It looks stunning.

  • I agree with all the above and thank you all for helping me to stop worrying. As I said, I love the dress regardless, but it was the principal it was bugging me. I probably would have still bought it had she said it was a copy or whatever, I just thought I'd been lied to and sold something which actually only cost like £80 on eBay (as I've seen some for that price on there after researching today), but it is really heavy, beautifully made and has a built in bra/bones.


    I just need to lose two dress sizes now. Down from a 12 to an 8! 

  • It definitely doesn't look fake so don't worry that you may have been ripped off.  Looking at the real pictures you posted next to the model pictures there is absolutely no way on earth this is a £80 knock off.  See here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2909093/Angry-brides-share-bridal-gown-horror-stories.html. Sorry about the daily mail link 😳

    It's an absolutely gorgeous dress btw!!!

  • Mrs_BadgerMrs_Badger Posts: 1,440

    I definitely don’t think it is a fake.


  • VegasLouVegasLou Posts: 821

    It’s a beautiful dress and doesn’t look fake. Enjoy wearing it and good luck with the weight loss! When’s your wedding day? 

  • VegasLou wrote (see post):

    It’s a beautiful dress and doesn’t look fake. Enjoy wearing it and good luck with the weight loss! When’s your wedding day? 


    Thank you lovely! It's April 27th 2019 so I have just over 13 months. I'm sure I can do it! 

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