Dear Shopping Savage,
My senior prom is coming up and I don't have a dress! Not to mention I'm a little financially strapped and so is my family. Can you point me in the direction of a place I can buy a prom dress for less?
Prom Dress Neither Lost Nor Found
Depending on how much time you've given yourself, you may still be able to find a dress at a local discount designer store. Since prom dress shopping can be quite a daunting task, have an idea of the style, length, fit and even color before you start sifting through all the options. The key here is to divide and conquer. Too many prom goers have made the mistake of incorporating too many elements into their ensemble, turning what should have been a special outfit into an opportunity to display a hodge-podge of ideas that rest somewhere uneasily amongst a wedding gown, an over-the-top Easter dress and unresolved princess issues. Don't be that girl.
If you're the least bit crafty - or handy with a beddazler - you could skip the discount designer stores and go completely discount. Meaning, it wouldn't hurt to sift through a few local thrift stores and consignment shop racks to see if there's anything that could be prom perfect that could cost you pennies. With much luck, you'll find something you love that requires little to no alterations. Grabbing a dress from a place like the Salvation Army, for example, could show individuality and look just as good as anything worn by your friends.
If you can't find something off the rack - any rack - that fits into your budget, the next route to take would be to find a seamstress that can create the dress you envision. Try to cut corners by providing a dress pattern and the materials needed for the dress. You can find fabric by the yard for a fraction of the cost of a dress and if the seamstress is willing to work within your price range then you're sartorial problem is solved.
Besides, once you factor in hair, nails, makeup and jewelry, you'll find yourself feeling more prom-pretty than not. And at the end of the day, your dress plays a major part in the time you'll have at prom but your happiness shouldn't just rest on the dress. Yes, it should be special but so should the evening as a whole. Your prom promise should not only be a pledge of sobriety but also a pledge to have a good time with your good friends.
Be safe. Have fun and for peat's sake avoid any buckets of pig's blood.