Prom is an amazing and exciting time. It may even be the only time other than your wedding when you get to dress like a movie star and let all the world see just how gorgeous you are. It’s easy, however, to get caught up in the glamour and end up breaking the bank. When I was in high school I attended three proms. The first time I went all out and bought my “dream dress.” But when prom rolled around again my parents were in no mood to spend a ton of money. It forced me to get creative, and I ended up looking great the two following year for under $100! Here’s some tips to help you attend prom in a killer gown without spending it all.
No not necessarily Goodwill of Salvation Army, although sometimes you can find a diamond in the rough at these shops. Consignment shops are often higher-end and offer newer, nicer garments as well as a wider selection of cuts and sizes. It way not be exactly what you want, but that’s what tailors are for. Love the blue of that floor length gown, but hate the floor length? Have it taken up into a cute tea-length dress. You can also buy fabric at your local store and make yourself a wrap to go over your dress to spice up a simple number. It’s all in the details, as long as you have the eye to find them! Visit www.consignmentshops.com to locate stores in your area.
Go to the web
Ebay is great resource as long as you know what you’re getting. Make sure to order early as well in case there are some “surprises” upon deliver and you need to make alterations. Discount websites are also popular. Discountdressup.com offers dresses in a number of price ranges. And don’t just stick to prom dresses. Discount bridal sites usually offer a selection of bridesmaids dresses, some from world famous designers! Check out Netbride.com and bridesave.com. The only caveat to online shopping is fitting. Make sure you know both your exact measurements and the measurements of the dress before you buy. Often online discount shops have no return or exchange policy, as many of the gowns are closeouts from popular designers. When in doubt, buy a size larger. You can always have the dress taken in, but if it’s too small, you’re probably stuck.
Think outside the dress
Shop for separates! During prom season, vendors and retailers are in no mood to put a dress on sale, but you can find a beautiful skirt and then go all out. At a lot of department stores you can find elegant ball skirts or sleek silk floor length numbers. They may look like they’re designed for a more mature woman (yes, I mean old lady skirts!), but try one on. If the skirt fits, but it and then set out looking for a flashy yet inexpensive top to go with it. Don’t forget, Sharon Stone once made a splash at the Oscars by wearing a beautiful white ball skirt paired with a black Gap tee shirt! Buying separates also allows you to shop mega sales and clearance racks to find the perfect ensemble at the perfect price.
Host a dress party
If you’ve been to the prom before or have some old formal gowns hanging out in the back of your closet, get some friends together and have a dress swap. This option will save you big bucks and give you access to very nice, very new formal gowns. Simply invite your friends over with their dresses, shoes, jewelry, and makeup. Spend the evening trying on dresses, figuring out hairstyles, and getting each other ready for the big day! It’s fun and FREE.
When all is said and done, and you’ve had your perfect prom experience, spread the love! You’ll probably never wear the dress again, so pass it on to someone who can really use it. There are charities across the nation that specifically accept prom dresses and places them with girls who may not be able to afford anything, even a bargain find. One such organization is Becca’s Closet, which has active chapters in 27 states across the nation. Based out of Plantation, Florida, the charity honors the life of high school honor student Rebecca Kirtman by providing formal wear to needy students for proms, homecoming dances, and other events.. If there’s not a chapter in your area, you can either mail your dress or visit the website and find out how to start your own chapter! www.BeccasCloset.org