Prom Dress Shopping Tips
Spring brings with it many things: new blooms, weddings, spring break revelries. And if you’re the parent of a teenaged girl, somewhere between April and the end of May is prom season. That probably means that you’ll need to be prepared to pick out (and pay for) a prom dress. This can be end up being a frustrating and expensive adventure. The good news is this: if you plan carefully, you can save time, money and hassle, and end up with a dress that’s perfect for your belle of the ball. Here are are some prom dress shopping tips to help you get started.
- Start early. This is particularly important if your daughter’s dress size is fairly small. If you wait until it’s too late, certain sizes become much more difficult to come by. Dress shop owners say that they are often beginning to run out of sizes 0 and 2 by early April. Avoid this hassle and lack of options by starting your shopping well in advance of the prom date. Another time-saving idea is to make an appointment for one on one service with a sales representative. They know their stock better than you do, and this tactic can save you all kinds of time spent fruitlessly searching.
- Save money. Prom dresses are expensive, and there is rarely any way around that fact. However, there are ways to get a reasonably priced dress. Vintage shops can not only save you money, they can also result in your daughter ending up with a dress that’s truly unique. If vintage isn’t to her tastes, you should, at the very least, bypass large chain stores in favor of smaller shops, as their prices can be considerably lower. Be wary of choosing a prom dress online in an effort to save money. If it shows up and doesn’t look or fit right, you may end up having to buy another one while you’re waiting for the first one to ship back and for a refund to hit your account. That’s not worth the few bucks that you might save.
- Plan on alterations. If your daughter doesn’t happen to be 5’9” in her high heels, there’s a good chance that her dress is going to need to be altered. Prom dresses are typically made to fit a tall model, and you should factor in the time and cost of alterations right from the start. Some dress shops will provide alterations “free of charge” – though the cost is probably built into the cost of the dress. Still, this may be a good deal for you, especially if that shop happens to stock the perfect dress. It can take up to two weeks to finish needed alterations, which is another good reason to start early. Make sure that you find out exactly what, if anything, the store is going to charge for alterations before buying the dress.
Shopping for a prom dress can be a fun activity for mother and daughter, as long as you can avoid overspending or last minute hassles. Take some time to set a budget and research local dress shops ahead of time. That way you can focus on shopping and mother daughter bonding without any worries.
Oh prom season…how prom dresses have changed in 20 years. It’s so fun to dress shop.
Thanks for the tips.
My first prom dress was purchased in the old lady section of JC Penney…I absolutely LOVED it. (IT was many years ago!). IT was shorter than anyone else’s, and didn’t look like a prom dress at all!
I love shopping in vintage shops. You can always find great deals and unique items!
I went 3 proms. My mother made all my dresses. Well it was 1977 &:1978. things were different back then we didn’t worry about what other people thought about what we had on.
Oh, the drama of prom dress shopping. One tip: don’t order from the internet when it is coming from overseas. We did that and my daughter ended up scrambling the last week as it became apparent we would not be receiving the dress. We scoured shops, looked to borrow and finally found a dress that wasn’t too expensive. But this was only after several weeks of stress, drama-queen behavior, and a very fed-up mother. Geesh…what will the wedding be like?
This is such a fun experience – I remember going with my daughter and we had a wonderful time and she picked a beautiful press.
I didn’t go to prom, but I know there are loads of options to check up on months in advance, like: the internet, retail shops, bridal shops, making your own, borrowing/renting one, costume shops, vintage thrift stores, etc. I would totally take advantage of all these options if I could relive it again.
Wish I’d had these tips when I was young and looking for a prom dress!
My daughter loves vintage clothing and so I made her prom dress out of a lovely fall orange silk dupioni from a vintage pattern. She LOVED it and I save over $100. I sorta missed looking for her prom dress, but I loved making something I knew that only she would have. Her dress really was a one of a kind.