Perhaps the most important advice I can give for prom dress hunters is not to buy a dress based on the size you hope to be when prom time rolls around. This can be devastating to prom night plans, particularly if you can’t get into the dress. Also, if you can’t try the dress on properly, you may have bigger problems than the size of the dress. What if, for example, you can’t move your arms because the armholes are too small? You can see how this could pose a problem while dancing or eating.
Another thing to look at when selecting a prom dress is cut. If you need to slenderize your silhouette, vertical lines are the key. This could mean princess seaming, which is like a long pleat from just below the breast to the waist, or longer, depending on the style of the dress. Pleats, front-button closures, and V-necks also help minimize the waistline. Another tip to get the best possible look for you is to downplay the area you don’t want attention drawn to. If you don’t want the emphasis on your chest, dont put a huge bow or ruffles there. Same with your backside. A large bow or voluminous ruffles on your derriere will make it look larger than it is. Empire waistlines put emphasis on your upper body while camouflaging others. This is also a good look for the very slender girl, as the cut will make the chest appear more ample and create a flattering shape. Close-fitting, columnar designs should be left to those who are comfortable in them. If you are not at ease in your dress, it will show, especially in your pictures. When searching for the perfect dress, don’t get upset if you cannot fit into your regular size. Formal dress designers’ sizes often vary from the “normal” size ranges. Your best bet is to find a store where the employees will assist you in your selection. They will have ample experience with dress selection to point you in the right direction.
Color selections are as varied as that of the styles of dresses available. If you find a dress that has the style and cut you like, but the color washes you out or is otherwise undesirable, odds are there are other colors available. Ask the store if they carry the dress in other colors. If they don’t, they may be able to give you the name of a store or website that does. Make sure to note the name and size you tried on or you may end up with the wrong dress in the end. Most people can wear just about any color, especially if you have a medium toned or olive complexion. Those who are paler should opt for a brighter or darker color, though, as some pastels and yellow or orange tones tend to wash them out. Those lucky enough to be either tan or naturally darker complected can choose just about any color, but neons and pastels set them off best. Try to look at yourself in the dress in the same kind of lighting that will be used on prom night in order to choose the best color for you.
When looking for shoes, remember that they don’t have to be the same color as your dress. Though you can usually purchase shoes dyed to match a dress, only select few style and sizes are available. Most often, your best bet is to shop for shoes at a discount retailer such as DSW or Payless. Even if you haven’t yet found your dress, you can choose a comfortable pair of heels or flats, depending on your preference. Opt for a sandal or strappy heel in colors like black, silver, or gold. Odds are, if you like the shoes your dress will coordinate with them. If you tend to wear darker colors or have your heart set on a black dress, go for the gold. If you plan on a pastel dress, choose the silver shoes. Black and silver shoes would complement just about any color, especially brights and neons.
After you’ve purchased your gown, don’t forget to find suitable undergarments. This could mean a strapless bra, seamless underwear, or a slip if your dress is white or nearly transparent. If your chest cannot be adequately supported by a strapless bra, you need to make sure your dress does not require you to wear one. If your bra size is smaller than a C cup, you could opt to use stick on bra cups, found at any dress store as well as your local Wal-Mart. While they don’t provide much support for everyday wear, they are more than adequate for prom night. The worst thing you could do is to go without coverage, especially in a strapless dress. At least if you should have a mishap and bare yourself in any way, the adhesive bra cups would cover the exposed areas well enough to save face.
To browse popular designs, I recommend www.cabridal.com or www.bestpromdresses.com, both of which offer a variety of styles in a myriad of colors with sizes ranging from extra-small to plus sizes. For selections and shops in your area, try searching on www.yellowpages.com or check your local phone book. If you do choose to order online, make sure you order in plenty of time to exchange the dress or have alterations done, if necessary. Best of luck to you on your hunt for the perfect prom dress!