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FAQ

Are you an established company?
Yes! TJ Formal was established in Missouri in 1969 and has been selling prom dresses and wedding gowns online since 1997. We take great pride in our company which strives to provide excellent service everyday, as we have for over 40 years. In 2015 we expanded to sell a wide range of products. All formal gowns are authentic designer styles.

Is your site safe to shop on?
Yes, shop and buy securely on our site! Learn more about our privacy policy and terms and conditions of service. When will my order ship? All orders require 24-48 hours for processing. Orders are processed and shipped during normal business hours only. Shipping time will be determined based on the method you select and your location.

Can I cancel or update my order?
Any changes or cancelations should be made right away as they can not be made after an item is processed or shipped. Please contact us immediately with any changes. What are the methods of payment? TJ Formal accepts all major credit cards and debit cards--Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Our site is secure, so you can be safe placing your order online. Amazon checkout and Paypal payments are also accepted and are a simple, secure way to pay.

How long does shipping take?
TJ Formal ships all orders with 2 business days of receiving your order via. You will receive notification of shipment and estimated delivery date. The actual shipping time will vary depending on the method you select at the time you order. How much does shipping cost? Exact shipping fees will be calculated on your order. Shipping fees are not refunded for returns or exchanges.

Do you ship internationally?
Yes, we are happy to ship worldwide! We ship via UPS or USPS to most countries (to be determined by TJ Formal). International shipping charges are to get your package to your country. We do not charge any customs when sending our packages. Any customs fees, taxes, tariffs, duties, etc. that may be incurred at the time of delivery would be at the discretion of your country's tax regulations. We have no way of calculating how much these fees would be, should they occur, and TJ Formal is not responsible for those charges. You are not paying those charges to TJ Formal, you are paying them to your country's customs agency. For any additional information refer to your local customs agency. It is illegal for us to mark a package as a “gift” or "sample".

Do you charge customs on International packages?
We do not charge customs when shipping our packages. Any customs fees, taxes, tariffs, duties, etc. that may be incurred at the time of delivery would be at the discretion of your country's tax regulations. We have no way of calculating how much these fees would be, should they occur, and TJ Formal is not responsible for those charges. You are not paying those charges to TJ Formal, you are paying them to your country's customs agency. For any additional information refer to your local customs agency.

What should I do if my shipment was delivered damaged?
If an item in your shipment appears to have been damaged during shipment by the carrier, please tell the driver immediately and do not accept the package. If a package looks damaged, please be sure to check that everything is accounted for and in order. For UPS you may call 1-800-PICK-UPS to file a damage claim if you are unable to refuse the package at the time of delivery. If your item is otherwise damaged or defective, please contact us for a return.

Can my item be returned or exchanged?
Yes, within 30 days if unused and in the same condition that you received it, in the original packaging, with a receipt or proof of purchase. Please see our full return policy for details.

How do I return my item?
Please see our full return policy for details.

How do I get wrinkles out of my dress?
It is likely that your dress will have some wrinkles when you receive it, due to packing and shipping. Before you wear it, you can use these tips to get out the wrinkles so your dress lays smoothly.

  • Steaming is the quickest and easiest option for satin, silk, chiffon, organza, tulle, most taffetas, stretch knits, beaded gowns, etc. This can be done with a steaming machine, iron set to steam (held upright), or by a professional cleaner. Be advised that some taffetas and fine silk fabrics may spot with water. Hang the gown for easy access and steam the outer and inner layers as needed with smooth strokes.
  • Ironing is a good option for most fabrics and can be done on a regular ironing board, using a clean cloth between the gown and the iron (to prevent scorching/melting delicate fabrics). Set the iron to steam for faster wrinkle removal. Move the iron in smooth strokes with constant movement to avoid scorching.
  • Hanging some fabrics will cause the wrinkles to fall out naturally. This is the first thing you should do when you receive your dress. It is especially helpful to fluff and separate layered, ball gown, and crinoline skirts.

How should I store my dress?
Before or after you wear your dress, it is important to carefully store it. Hanging is generally the best method to keep out wrinkles. Be sure to use the hanger straps to help hold the gown in place. To protect your gown from dust, snags, etc. you will want to cover it with a plastic or vinyl garment bag. For heavy, beaded or sequined gowns, folding them may prevent stretching. To clean, preserve, and store your wedding gown, please see our Wedding Gown Preservation Kit. When in doubt, you can always take your gown to a trusted professional cleaner or alteration shop. Feel free to call us if you have more specific questions about dress care.

Do you register dresses?
We do not register dresses, but encourage you to register your dress online at the National Prom Dress Registry! You can register your dress for any high school in the country. Encourage your friends to register too so that everyone has a unique dress for prom.

How do I measure for a dress & find the best fit?
For the best fit, DON'T GUESS at your size. These dresses run about one size smaller than your normal clothing size. Measure first---then determine your size from the size charts listed on each page of dresses. Order the size that comes closest to your measurements. If between sizes, choose the larger size as it is always easier to alter the dress down than to let it out. Remember, the size will not be displayed on the dress when you are wearing it, so don't get hung up on numbers. You'll look best in a dress that fits, no matter what the size!

In most dresses the waist and bust measurements are the most important, but if your dress is fitted through the hips (mermaid or straight skirt), you'll need all three. It's easy to add cups or a bra to make the bust measurement fit correctly, so don't worry if you have to go up in size to accommodate your waist measurement. Look for dresses with lace-up backs or sides to avoid problems with fit in the bust (and waist) because they allow for a more flexible fit. If you have a generous A-line, full, or ball gown skirt don't worry about your hip measurement... these skirts are easy to fit and hide everything!

The size you order is ALWAYS up to you! We will be happy to help you find the best size for you, but the final decision is up to you.

How to Measure:
Measure over undergarments, use a cloth measuring tape, keep measuring tape level and pull it snug, but not tight. (If you will be wearing special undergarments with your dress, measure over those.) Don't have a cloth measuring tape? Just use a piece of string then measure it with a ruler or metal tape measure!

A. BUST: Measure over unpadded bra or the bra you will wear with your garment, at fullest part.
B. WAIST: Measure at natural waist (or smallest part - usually about 2” above the belly button)
C. HIPS: Measure around fullest part of hips, keeping tape level all around (approximately where the legs bend).
HOLLOW TO HEM: Measure from the base of the neck (hollow of the neck) to the floor. This measurement is typically only for girls dresses (i.e.: flower girls). If this measurement is important you will see a note on the dress product. All junior & womens dresses are made to fit heights of 5'8" - 5'9" (unless otherwise stated on the product).

How do the gowns fit?
Most of the gowns we carry fit at least one size smaller than regular clothes, but this varies greatly by designer. To get the best fit-- measure carefully and use the size chart on the dress. In length, the gowns are generally made to to fit women who are 5'8”- 5’9".

What if my measurements don't match the size chart?
We recommend only order a dress that is the correct size to accommodate your body measurements. Compare your measurements using the size charts located in the product descriptions. Be sure to measure carefully, because if you measure just 1 inch off, it will throw off your size. If one or two of your measurements put you in a larger size than the other(s) then we recommend going up a size and altering down as needed. The dresses do not generally have much seam allowance, so they cannot be easily let out. It's much easier to take them in, so order larger if in doubt.

Sometimes only a few measurements are important though. For ball gowns or dresses with full skirts, focus on the bust and waist since a full skirt will have plenty of give either way. For dresses with open or tie backs, focus on the waist and hips.

Dresses with corset or lace-up backs make fitting really easy since they let you adjust the fit in the bust and waist. Consider these styles if you're disproportional or if you're between sizes. They can often adjust several inches in either direction, depending on the style!

If the waist and hips are a perfect match, but you're lacking in the bust, consider wearing a padded bra or bra cups. These can easily take up an extra inch or two and save you from having alterations. Is the bust the only measurement that is too small? Some dresses have removable bra cups that you can take out to gain 1/2-1 inch.

In the end, 95% of people need alterations to make their dress fit like it was made for them. When you order, you should prepare for this and leave time and room in the budget to have the proper adjustments made to your dress. If you still need help, please contact us, we're always happy to give advice!

What if the dress I order doesn't fit me?
We can’t stress enough how important it is to MEASURE CAREFULLY and use the size chart on the dress before you order. However, every body is different and about 95% of our customers need alterations even after following the measuring and size chart guidelines. Don’t worry though because there are lots of options to make your dress work for you!

As for the length, every gown we sell can be shortened somehow (even the beaded ones)... and most women will need this done as the dresses are made to fit heights of about 5’8”-5’9”. Many women can avoid hemming their gowns by buying shoes with higher heels. Or for the tall women, try flat ballet slippers or very low heels so the gown won't be too short.

Gowns can also be taken it at the sides, back and front seams and straps can be shortened. Many gowns do not fit in the bust and seem too large until the straps are taken up. This moves the gown up to the point where it's supposed to fit the body. TIP: Add bra cups (or remove them) to avoid alterations to the dress bodice. This is easy and can really improve the look and fit of the dress! Look for dresses with lace-up backs or sides to avoid problems with fit in the bust (and waist) because they allow for a more flexible fit.

If you’re worried about how a particular dress will fit you or if you need alterations, see a seamstress in your area, that has experience with formal gowns, for a consultation/ fitting. People are often surprised at all the things that can be done to a dress to make it fit!

If you need more suggestions or help with a creative solution on how to make the dress fit, contact us. We'll do everything we can to help you.

What are some tips for avoiding alterations?
Alterations can be costly and time consuming. Here are a few tips to try to avoid them:

  • Make sure your measurements are correct. (If you measure just an inch off, it will throw off your size.)
  • Compare your measurements to the sizing information in the dress description.
  • Choose a dress with a lace-up or corset back. Since they are adjustable, this is the easiest way to get a perfect fit on the bust and waist with no hassle!
  • If the bust is too large, but the other measurements are correct, consider wearing a padded bra or bra cups. An easy way to add an inch or two!
  • If the bust is a little tight, some dresses have bra cups that can be removed to gain an extra ½ - 1 inch.
  • If you are shorter than 5’8”-5’-9”, consider a high-low, T-length, knee length, short or asymmetrical skirt. All of these are very forgiving and don’t usually need to be hemmed!
  • If you are taller than 5’-9”, consider the same options above since they don’t have to reach a certain length.
  • If your dress turns out to be snug in the waist, wear long-line bra or corset that will hold you in and smooth you out. If your dress isn’t hanging nicely along your waist, hips, butt or thighs, wear a body-shaper (panties or hose) to smooth everything out.

Can you do alterations?
No, TJ Formal cannot do alterations. Alterations are very personal specific changes made to your dress to make it fit YOU. They require fittings with a seamstress who will pin/ mark the dress for alterations, according to your specifications, while it is on your body. We cannot properly do alterations for you since we are shipping the dress to you. We recommend looking for a seamstress/ alteration store in your area that is experienced in working with formal gowns (and with bead work if necessary).