It’s that time of year again– the time when department stores start jacking up prices only to mark them down– “SIXTY FIVE PERCENT OFF THE WHOLE STORE”– the time when parents start laying down rules probably never heard of in the house, and it’s the time when salons start having special prices that are higher than their fanciest styles before. It’s prom season.
Ahh, prom season. The season when tensions run high, the prices run even higher, and every single girl is waiting for that special night. But the special night starts even earlier for them. For a teenage girl, the special night starts the moment she finds the perfect dress. We all know the moment. The dress is pulled on, the fabric sliding against the legs. The top half is tugged or tightened, the clasp clicking into place with a firmness that says this fits. The zipper zipped and the moment revealed in a mirror designed to make you look your best. Everyone knows that when you’ve zipped it all the way and turn to look in the mirror, you should love who you see in an instant, know in one breath that this is The Dress.
But before you have that moment, there are, of course, several hours, or days, preceding it that are filled with low self esteem and constant criticism from the well meaning people who want to help you find that special moment. And in honor of that, here are five rules to remember when shopping around for that perfect dress:
1. Going a size up or down isn’t the end of the world.
What it does mean is you’ll have a dress that fits, which is the most important thing here. No body parts hanging out because it’s too small or a dress falling off because it’s too big.
2. Try everything
Even if it’s not your usual style. Even if you hate it. Sometimes the best things are the unexpected. Go for everything and anything. Poufy, froufy, sleek, short– try them all. You never know what works.
3. Sometimes your mom actually has some good ideas.
She’s the only person who’s had to see you everyday, and knows what outfits you’ve looked good in and what just doesn’t work. She knows your good hair days, your bad hair days, and she knows what dress would look good on you.
4. Look at the prices first
The absolute worst thing is falling in love with a dress, only to realize it’s about two hundred dollars over your already inflated budget and you can’t get it. Looking at the prices saves you this pain.
5. Look around
This kind of goes hand in with the previous rules, but look around. Stores have other formal dresses that aren’t in a prom section, and buying from a different shelf means your dress won’t be a copy of someone else’s, and it could even end up being cheaper (because you know they jack prices up on prom dresses).
I can’t promise you that following these rules will find you that perfect dress, but I can reassure you that these rules will make sure you leave nothing out and that they’ll all be within your expected budget, which is almost as good as a guarantee for the perfect dress.