Buy Your Formal Dresses At These Canberra Boutiques

For your next wedding or gala, keep these Canberra formal dress shops in mind.

Major events like weddings, school formals, and charity balls call for something significantly dressier than your usual t-shirt and jeans. It doesn’t matter if you’re a high school student about to go to prom or an adult headed to your friend’s wedding – a formal dress is a wardrobe necessity.

You can find formal wear at lots of different shops, but there are a select few that consistently go above and beyond with their quality, selection, and customer service. We scouted some of the boutiques around town to bring you this list of the top shops for formal dresses in Canberra.

RELATED: How To Dress For A Wedding

What’s A Formal Dress Code?

Most people are familiar with the usual, everyday dress codes like casual or corporate. But because the formal dress code is so rare, it also causes the most confusion. What clothes are appropriate for formal events? And are there any garments that are absolute no-no’s?

A man and woman dressed in formal wear in the back of a limo
(Credit: Getty)

Formal wear comes in many shapes, sizes, and colours. It covers everything from elegant evening dresses to poofy ball gowns to even cocktail dresses (for some occasions). Heels are preferred, and accessories are encouraged. As the most “formal” of the dress codes, you’re expected to dress to the nines – hair and makeup included.

There are also things you should avoid when dressing for a formal event. Denim is a huge fashion faux pas; leave those jeans at home! Similarly, fabrics like cotton or jersey can make any dress, even a floor-length one, feel too casual. 

What Events Can You Wear Formal Dresses To?

The great thing about formal events is that they usually specify the dress code on the invite. If the invite doesn’t say what you should wear, you should ask the host or event organiser, if possible. You could also ask people that you know who are attending the event what they’re planning to wear, and plan your outfit accordingly.

If all else fails, here are some of the events you are generally expected to wear formal dresses to:

  • Most weddings (except day/beach/outdoor ceremonies)
  • Charity events
  • Galas and balls
  • School formals and prom
  • Award ceremonies

The Top Formal Dress Shops In Canberra

Ferrari Formalwear & Bridal

Price range: $AUD 99 – $AUD 550

You can find tons of great bridesmaid, mother of the bride, and other formal dresses at Ferrari Formalwear’s boutique. Each dress comes in a wide variety of colours and may even have fabric options available.

Shop from Ferrari Formalwear & Bridal here.


Price range: Available upon request

Visit Enchante’s store in Fyshwick, and you’ll be greeted by dozens (if not hundreds) of different options for every occasion. They stock some incredible designers, like Sophia Tolli, Jadore, and Mac Duggal.

Shop from Enchante here.

Forever New

Price range: $AUD 119 – $AUD 229

Don’t be fooled by the cheap prices! This classic boutique in Canberra Centre is an ACT favourite. If you want to save even more money, just wait for their sales – they usually slash $AUD 50 off the price.

Shop from Forever New here.

Glam Corner

Price range: $AUD 49 – $AUD 369

What if we told you that you could rent out designer digs for a fraction of the price? Glam Corner provides elegant gowns for hire, so that you can have the right dress no matter the occasion.

Shop from Glam Corner here.

Canberra Couture

Price range: $AUD 80 – $AUD 290

Like most dress-for-hires, Canberra Couture has an incredible selection of gowns at ridiculously low prices. Unlike most dress-for-hires, you can also buy dresses straight from their shop.

Shop from Canberra Couture here.


Price range: $AUD 179 – $AUD 349

What makes Birdsnest stand out from the rest is their unique “Style Me” section. There, you can find pre-styled head-to-toe outfits, then easily add them all to your cart with just one click.

Shop from Birdsnest here.

Bella Notte Bridal

Price range: Available upon request

The online selection at Bella Notte Bridal is nothing compared to their in-store stock. Plus, their dresses come in every size from 2 to 30. Plus size babes rejoice!

Shop from Bella Notte Bridal here.

The Volte

Price range: $AUD 20 – $AUD 2,600

The Volte is not your regular dress rental service. Their catalogue has over 18,000 items for you to choose from, and your perfect dress is guaranteed to be among them.

Shop from The Volte here.

Mussen Boutique

Price range: $AUD 99 – $AUD 550

From dusty pink ball gowns to emerald green evening dresses, Mussen Boutique has it all. Although their more elaborate gowns can get pretty pricey, most of their designs are actually quite affordable.

Shop from Mussen Boutique here.


It’s normal to feel some anxiety about dressing up for a formal event, especially if you don’t have anything to wear. But worry not – these Canberra dress shops are a great solution to your formal dress woes! Just be patient and don’t give up, you’re sure to find your dream formal dress soon enough.

RELATED: Dressing For Success: Corporate Attire For Women

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