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Grad Central's shop on 622 Yates Street is Western Canada's place to shop for grad. We have the largest selection of grad formals anywhere.
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Online Shopping With Grad Central

At Grad Central we work hard to do what it takes to make your online experience just as easy and successful as if you walked into our Victoria store.  Here are some tips and advice to help you out.

How The Grad/Prom Seasons Work

Style seasons generally run from August through May, and include Fall and Spring collections, although not all designers produce a Fall collection. Just about everything is online by mid-October. Early in the season, you’ll find online stores like Grad Central are “in transition” from one season to the next.  As new collections go online, the previous year’s collections are removed. There may be some stock left over from the previous season, but supplies will be limited.

Savvy shoppers “Like” us on Facebook.  We let all our Facebook followers know whenever new collections come online, when new arrivals hit the Grad Central store, or when great deals are happening.  

Rule Number One: Shop Early!

For best selection and to avoid last minute panic attacks, you need to shop early, especially if you have an early wear date (April or May).  You should count on three to four months for delivery (although it could arrive earlier) and you’ll want to leave plenty of time for alterations and accessories. And remember, all the styles we sell are registered for each school on a first-come first-served basis (See our “1-to-1 Dress Policy”).

Shopping early can mean the difference between showing up in your dream dress or in something picked up from the leftovers.  So, shop early!

Rule Number Two: Be Sure Of Your Purchase!

Once a special order has been confirmed it can’t be changed – no returns, refunds or exchanges.  This is the standard in the formal wear business, so you need to be sure of your purchase – style, size and colour.  Don’t be fooled by so-called “return” policies offered by many online dealers – they usually come with major (pricey) strings attached and are often intended to entice buyers into a hasty decision. Don't forget, too, that if you buy from an out-of-country retailer, there are non-refundable import costs that can really add up, and online fraud is rampant.  The truth is, you simply need to be sure of what you’re buying and who you’re buying from before you click the “Complete My Purchase” button.

At Grad Central our job is to help you feel comfortable with your choice before you click that button.  We start by selling only what comes from the best North American designers - no knock-offs, no cheap “no-name” dresses.  Our Canadian customers never have to worry about import costs or restrictions.  Our online store has size charts and measuring tips, and all of our designers have lots of useful information and advice on their websites.  Last but not least, we have experienced staff you can count on for one-on-one advice on sizing, dress cut and colour before you make your choice – just ask!  Grad Central is always there to lend you a hand.  Remember, you are responsible for the style, size and colour you ultimately select, so be an informed shopper.

Placing Your Order

Once you’ve made your decision, placing your order with Grad Central is pretty easy.  You’ll be asked to enter your school and your wear date before proceeding.  Once you’ve completed your purchase our dress order registry won’t accept any more orders for your style at your school event.

A word about size. Formal gown sizing is quite different from a pair of jeans. Consult the size chart and measuring tips for each style before you check out. Don’t hesitate to contact us for advice – that’s what we’re here for!  A perfect size is rare and you should always expect alterations (not included in the price of your dress). If in doubt, go large.  It’s easier to take a dress in than to let it out. 

A word about your wear date.  Just tell us your actual wear date, or as close as possible if you don’t know for sure.  We’ll make sure you get your dress in plenty of time. When we confirm your order we’ll contact you with an estimated time of arrival for your purchase.  If we can’t make delivery in time for your event, we’ll cancel your order immediately and you won’t be charged.  Once again, to avoid disappointment, shop early!

When Your Dress Arrives

It's an exciting day when your dress arrives! Here's what to expect.

Shipping within Canada is free (see our Shipping Policy for U.S. and international pricing), and we take shipping time into account when we confirm your order.  We'll give you a heads up when your dress is on the way to you. All Grad Central shipments are trackable.  We do not ship within the Greater Victoria and South Vancouver Island area; these orders will be available for pick up at our Victoria location.

Your dress is carefully inspected at the factory and again after it arrives at Grad Central.  However, if there are any problems when it arrives at your home we’ll need to know immediately. Try it on as soon as it comes in.  Wear your normal undergarments - but no bra! They all have built-ins and the dress may not fit properly if you wear a bra.  Make sure the back of the dress is aligned straight down the centre of your back when you do it up, and that the zipper is straight.  For lace-ups you’re going to need some help!  Start at the top and criss-cross down, just like you would a shoe, snugging the dress in as you move down. Detach the back panel to prevent binding when lacing up.

Expect alterations!  Dress sizes are standard but bodies aren’t.  It’s very unusual that a formal gown will fit properly without alterations.  Typical alterations are to the bodice, straps, and for length. Consult with a seamstress in your area who has experience working with formals. Alterations are not included in the price of your dress.

At Your Prom/Grad

This is the easy rule – just let loose, have fun and be safe!  And be sure to get on Facebook and send us a picture or two of you and your friends in your Grad Central gowns!


Just contact us for help.  That’s what we’re here for! 

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