The daffodils are in bloom, the days are getting longer and the warmer air can mean only one thing. The once-a-year phenomenon that sweeps the nation is upon us; prom.
Something is different this year, though. Women are not hitting the stores in droves. This year teenagers are turning to the internet to find that perfect dress.
Not everyone can afford the outrageous prices paid for a dress that can be worn- let’s face it-only once. If you can’t afford it, there are a number of alternatives available to you.
Since 2002, The Princess Project has been collecting gently used prom dresses and accessories and giving them away. The Princess Project is located in California but there are branches sprouting up all over the country. They encourage others to donate either through the internet or by starting an organization in your own neighborhood. This is a great idea for that wear-just-once dress if you have already purchased it. It is also a great alternative if you cannot afford to get a new dress. These are no burlap sacks, either. Take a look at the photos at http://www.princessproject.org// . These are knockout dresses that any girl would be proud to wear.
Ebay is another alternative. A quick search on Ebay with “prom dresses” typed in garnered 17, 577 possibilities. The dresses varied in price from $7.00 to almost $200.00. If you decide to get your dress from Ebay, you should give yourself plenty of time. Start early. There is the bidding process that takes time and the shipping time. You should also keep in mind that the shipping raises the price of the dress. Be sure before you bid that the shipping doesn’t raise the price of the dress so much that you could have bought a new one at the mall.
A resourceful alternative for the crafty girl is to make your own prom dress. This is a more popular thing to do than you might imagine. At Craftster.org, the folks enjoy having a Prom-a-long, in which the ladies make their dresses at the same time and keep each other informed of the progress they’re making. This can be risky if your goal is to save money. Sometimes it costs the same or more to construct the dress yourself. But this can be controlled through choice of fabric, pattern, trims and accessories. If you start watching for fabric early enough, you may be able to catch sales at fabric stores. If you wait until the last moment, however, you may be forced to pay too much for a fabric you wouldn’t have otherwise chosen.
This can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and ruin prom for you. On the other hand, if you don’t procrastinate and you find fabric that you really like, making your prom dress can afford you a sense of accomplishment and pride that you don’t get when you simply pick out a dress. You will also get a perfect fit which is often very difficult to get with prom dresses or evening dresses of any type. If you sew well enough to make your own prom dress, you can probably make use of the dress after the prom by “repurposing” the fabric. If the idea of using the prom dress to make something else doesn’t interest you, you could always donate it to the Princess Project and let someone else enjoy the fruits of your labor the following year at their prom.
There are lots of alternatives to hitting the mall for that special dress. The important thing to remember is to start early. Whether you are going to a store, ordering from the internet or making the dress yourself, begin the process early enough to take the stress out of the search. Prom is one of those things that we look back on time and time again as we get older. Chances are that no matter what dress you choose, you will look back in ten years and cringe at your choice. The important thing, however, will be that you look back on it in ten years and smile because you had fun making that choice.