The Pitfalls of Prom Dresses

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Once a classy affair, the current fashion climate of prom dresses has severely declined. This is unfortunate for many, like me, who have dreamed of prom dress shopping since childhood. However, I do not think it is too late to stop prom dresses from becoming yet another example of declining fashion. There are still those who recall the regality that prom dresses once held, who have watched in dismay as a lack of care has worsened over the years, leading to shopping for this important piece of clothing to become a last-minute activity.  For those of you who still wish for the fashion climate of days past, read along as I outline the common mistakes that fill every Junior and Senior’s spring browser, in an attempt to salvage what was once a cherished tradition. 


The first true misstep in your dress choice is where you are to obtain your outfit. While I am an advocate for conducting your shopping in person, I will not pretend that I do not see the struggle this may add to one’s already complicated life. However, shopping online neglects the presence of vintage and consignment stores, which offer choices that are not simply “one click away.” The next, and in my opinion, most realistic struggle, is that of dress location. The fact is, the districts surrounding Harriton do not present much choice for shopping locations, other than Suburban Square and King of Prussia. And while these locations are perfectly ideal for a last-minute purchase, there are few storefronts that offer suitable prom dresses. Thus, as I have outlined previously, vintage and consignment stores are your best friend. What you may be thinking, undeniably fostered by society’s negative perception of vintage, is “those clothes are old.” This could not be farther from the truth. Truly, the magic of a vintage dress is the history: the past dance floors it has twirled around, the experiences it has lived through. But perhaps your struggle is not finding the time to shop in person or finding the right store. Perhaps your struggle, like many, comes from feeling uncomfortable about your body when dress shopping. If you take anything away from this article, I hope it is this; you are beautiful inside and out. No matter who you are or what you look like, you deserve to parade around any store and feel confident in any dress you choose. Forget about what anyone else may think. If you like the dress, then it is the right dress for you.  


While I hope at least some of you will question your location of dress shopping, there are, undoubtedly, those who will continue to let technology facilitate their choices. While the way in which I have crafted my previous argument may seem to contradict this, all hope is not lost, there are still perfectly viable options that can be found online. However, it is imperative that if you take this next step in your browser, you click on the right web pages. This next statement will perhaps be the most controversial so brace yourself; I urge you, implore of you, to stay away from the popular but ill-produced dresses which fall under brands such as Lucy in the Sky or Oh Polly. While these dresses may look cute at first glance, my personal experience and customer reviews have agreed that nearly all of them are bound to fall apart within two wears. Moreover, there is a Lucy in the Sky truth that is not known upon purchase: their dresses are not fully refundable. In fact, store credit is the only reparation given. There are much better options out there, and I urge you to consider sites such as Rent the Runway, Nordstrom, TheRealReal, or Shopbop, all sites which contain dresses of similar prices that will survive the washing machine for years to come.  

The uphill battle to get your dream dress is made dramatically easier by looking for them at the correct place, though this is not the only critical factor. The actual choice of dress is perhaps equally as important. I am writing this article a mere 12 hours after I attended Harriton’s Freshman/Sophomore Dance, which has given me new insight into what the outfits at Junior and Senior prom are likely to shape up to. The theme I urge you all to take into consideration is, to tube or not to tube. By tube, I mean the shapeless monochrome dress with either no or minuscule straps which I spotted on nearly every girl this past night. In light of both the frequency this dress is worn, and the sheer bluntness of the design, I urge you not to tube. The next decision is that of color and given the spring months that prom falls into, I hope you will choose a lighter color. Any occasion, March forward, does not warrant any black, navy, or maroon dresses, I promise. The next step of choosing your dress is one that many overlook: finding a pattern. This is the step that really shows off your personality, where you have to decide if you are quiet or loud, romantic or traditional. Design, pattern, length, and overall ambiance will all reflect your answers to these questions, and as prom dresses should, be the epitome of who you are. So go wild, explore with new colors, and un-tube-like shapes! Stay nostalgic and as always, stay tuned and stay you.