As early as it may sound, prom season is upon us. Although my school’s prom isn’t until late April, the “promposals” began as early as mid-February here and several of my friends ordered their dresses before Christmas break! Today I’m beginning what will be a short series on the blog throughout the spring leading up to my own prom; “Prom Prep.” As I prepare for my first prom, I’m going to be sharing my tips for dress shopping, hairstyle choosing, jewelry selecting, etc. in this series and taking you along on what I’m sure will be one of the most stressful and fun parts of my junior year. I hope y’all love this series! This first installment is all about picking the perfect dress, enjoy!
Despite eyeing prom dresses since my babysitters showed me photos of theirs when I was in elementary school, finding the right dress was pretty difficult for me. I guess it’s kind of like how you see a million things you want all year but can never think of anything to ask for when Christmas rolls around. I had a vague idea of what I wanted at the beginning of junior year; something elegant but trendy (the last thing I want is for my future children to look at my prom photos the way I look at my mom’s with the ginormous ruffled flowers on her shoulder), simple but pretty (big, sparkly dresses aren’t very popular where I live, the girls typically stick to long gowns with simple details and minimal flare), $250 or less, long, and preferably grey or blush pink. I was pretty openminded to all necklines as long as the dress had some type of straps.
By fall I had come to the conclusion that my pale, pinkish skin tone was too close to blush pink to pull off a dress in the hue and narrowed my searches down to grey. I also originally thought my fairly flat chested self would be able to pull off a plunging neckline, but big eyes from my stepmother upon showing her a moderately low v-neck dress turned me the other way.
In January, I was looking for something grey yet eye catching, but was having practically no luck. After shopping for a sweater on ASOS, I thought I’d give their bridesmaids dresses section a shot. I ended up finding a $103 pretty one shoulder number in a blush pink color called “mink” that appeared to have more of a greyish undertone, meaning it had potential to not make me look naked (that obviously wouldn’t be good). I ordered it in two sizes (which I highly recommend doing if you’re ordering online!) and one of them fit just right. I’ve decided on this one and I’m so excited about it! See the dress below and shop it here.
Where to Shop Online
If you’re having trouble finding a prom dress due to lack of stores near you, definitely consider some online options! I didn’t even go into a store and still found a great dress at an awesome price point! I ultimately decided ASOS would be a good place to purchase my dress because the sweater I got there proved to be good quality (therefore it’s a reliable retailer) and I knew from conversations that most of the reasonably priced, large selection websites like Lulu’s and PromGirl would be the first websites everyone at my school would go to in search of their own prom dress. If your school isn’t as Lulu’s obsessed (personally I just didn’t want a dress with such a large risk of being on someone else at prom), definitely check their website out, there are a ton of adorable prom dresses at really good price points! PromGirl, Red Dress Boutique, Show Me Your MuMu, and Nordstrom Rack are also great online options! If you have a higher budget, BCBG Max Azria and Free People also sell some beautiful gowns. I’ve pictured and linked a few of my favorite prom dresses below!
- Have some ideas of what you want, but don’t hold yourself to your vision if you find something completely different that you really like. – Having a few color ideas can be really helpful when filtering website searches filled with tens of pages of prom dresses. That being said, I thought I would definitely end up with a grey dress this year, and had I stuck to that I wouldn’t have found the dress that I now have and love so much!
- If you’re ordering your dress online, order it in multiple sizes and make sure you can return it. – Ordering my dress in two sizes in the first place was definitely one of the smartest decisions I’ve made so far in the prom process. Ordering two sizes at once not only prevented me from having to return a dress and blindly choose another size, but also allowed me to compare the pros and cons of each size. One of my dresses wouldn’t zip up the last inch, while the other might hang a little lower on the strapless side. I know the last thing you want is to send one dress back just to find that its replacement is hardly different (or inducing the opposite problem) from the one you had before.
- Keep the type of dresses people in your area wear in mind. – While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with standing out, personally (as I’m sure holds true for plenty of you too), walking into prom in a bedazzled dress unlike the simple jewel-toned frocks of my peers is one of the last things I want to happen. Even if this is your first year going to prom (I know at my school only juniors and seniors/the dates of juniors and seniors are allowed to attend), look through some the past prom Instagram posts of upperclassmen or recent graduates from your school so you have an idea of what people in your area typically wear to prom. Length, fluffiness, and sparkle are all likely to be factors your student body has a pretty clear stance on and you should investigate!
- Don’t shop where all your friends are shopping! – If it seems like everyone is getting their prom dress from a certain store or website, purchasing a dress at the popular location drastically increases your chances of showing up to prom in the same dress as everyone else. This might not sound like the worst thing to you, but to me it sounds like a breeding ground for comparison (both in my head and by my peers) and the last thing I want to do on this fun night is feel like I don’t look as good in my dress as someone else does.
Thanks for reading! I hope this post helps you in your prom dress shopping! Stay tuned for more prom related posts in the next few weeks!
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