Why You Should Buy Fancy Dress Locally Instead Of Cheaper From Abroad

If you’re looking to buy fancy dress for a party you have many options for where you can get it from. You could do a quick Google search and look through the countless fancy dress retailers, trawl through the pages of listings on eBay or Amazon, head into a town centre and buy one from a shop or do a deal with a market trader.

A shop where you can buy fancy dress

Regardless of what you buy there’s generally an option to buy locally, nationally or from an international seller. Each have there own benefits. There are a large number of factors to consider before you place an order aside from simply the price and I’m going to let you know what they are now.


Why You Should Buy Fancy Dress From Local Sellers

A few packages

Image Source: Royal Mail

I think we’re all well aware that financially times are tough for both buyers and sellers in the UK and worldwide. We’re all looking for value for money from our purchases and in most industries you’ll find this is made possible due to competition.

Here are a few of the best reasons to give your money to sellers based in your country.

Support local traders!

Inside a fancy dress shop

Image Source: Journal Live

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Please don’t let this be the case with your local traders. They’re an important part of every local community and can offer jobs that will help to boost our economy.

With the official business blurb out of the way I can now get onto some more personal reasoning. Local sellers can be an incredible source for advice, information and getting that extra personal touch. Talk to or email the owner of your local fancy dress seller as they might know where you can get that elusive costume you’ve always wanted if they don’t sell it themselves. Who know’s, becoming a loyal customer might earn you a few discounts in the future.

Try before you buy

A girl trying on a fancy dress costume

Image Source: The Ipswich Star

Before you buy fancy dress or clothing in a shop you usually have the option to try it on before you part with any money. Take advantage of this facility if it’s on offer as you can try on a few different outfits in a number of sizes to ensure you get the one that looks and feels best. Sadly the Internet geeks haven’t figured out how to try something on over the web yet, so for now this is a huge plus for the high street.

Get a receipt and have the option to exchange

A till receipt

Image Source: We Provoke

If you buy from a shop or website you should be provided with an invoice or receipt. If you don’t get one make a request for one as they’re very important. Having a receipt means you have a proof of purchase and have the option to return or exchange the outfit (as long as you abide by the sellers return/exchange policy).

The amount of time that you have to exchange a purchase is different for on and offline sellers. Please check with a retailer what their policy is before you buy. Online buyers and sellers are covered by the distance selling regulations, which I highly recommend you read through and understand before buying online.

Sending back an order purchased online will also likely cost you a bit of money to return. The vast majority of online sellers don’t offer a free returns option, so think before you click the buy button.


Why You Shouldn’t Buy From International Retailers

A cat in a box

Image Source: DarkMetaphor

I’m not about to tell you that you can’t buy from abroad and you’re a traitor to your country if you do. Far from it. There are plenty of reasons to buy from international sellers including diversity (they could have outfits that you like that aren’t available in this country), price (they’re cheaper), they offer commission projects (get a costume custom made for you to your measurements) and quality (the material a costume is made from could be superior).

Sadly ordering from abroad isn’t always beneficial. Here are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t consider this option.

Slow Delivery Times

A Fedex aeroplane

Image Source: SwissAda

You’ve just been asked to a costume party that’s only two days away and now need to buy fancy dress for your partner and kids urgently. What do you do? My recommendation is that you buy it from a local seller using an express postage option. If you want your order fast buying from abroad isn’t the way to go. Unless you have an order delivered by a courier such as DHL or FedEx you probably won’t receive your outfit for at least 7 days, though this depends on the country the seller is sending it from.

Economy delivery from countries such as China can even take up to 30 days, which is useless if you need need something quickly. These services are rarely tracked meaning you don’t know when your order was sent or how long it will take to arrive.

Import and Customs Charges

A customs officer filling out paperwork

Image Source: Maxi B2B

If you’re buying from an international seller outside of the EU the chances are you’re going to incur import charges from customs. These can include clearance administration charges and VAT. It’s important to factor these costs into your purchase as once you add these to the order price you might find it’s actually cheaper to buy locally.


A man in a ski mask on a laptop

Image Source: E-Commerce Facts

I can’t emphasise how important it is to check out the source that you’re buying from before you place an order. It’s true that there are fraudulent websites based in every country but with more populated review websites in continents like North America and Europe we’re able to identify them more quickly.

If you’re going to buy from a seller in China for example please use a credit card that offers payment insurance or pay with Paypal. The payment protection that these options offer you will cover you against any loss. Play it safe and use recognised payment methods.


A range of clothing

Many people have been caught out by sellers using high quality pictures of branded products to advertise their own poor quality replicas. Ask plenty of questions and walk away if an offer seems too good to be true. The chances are you’re not going to get what you pay for.

I’ve spoken with a number of people who buy our latex outfits and they all say that similar clothing made in the Far East is made from lesser quality material than that used in Europe and North America. Looking for feedback from recent buyers might help you to make a more informed decision. eBay seller ratings are great for this.

Do you agree or disagree with me on any of the points above? Please do let me know in the comments below.

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About the Author: David Hayler

The owner of Otley Run Fancy Dress and a fancy dress guru. He's also an amateur photographer who has experience with cosplay and costume photography.

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