How to Shop for a Prom Dress


Prom dress shopping is one of the best parts about preparing for your prom night. You get to try on lots of beautiful gowns, create a memorable look that is unique to you, and pick out gorgeous accessories to complete the outfit. This is all a part of the prom experience and what makes the build-up to the big night so special.
Prom dress shopping shouldn’t be something to stress about! There are a few ways you can make the whole experience a little easier, just in case you start to feel a bit overwhelmed and can’t pick a dress. We’re here to share with you a few tips and tricks for shopping in physical stores for your prom dress. These are some guidelines to follow just to make this enjoyable experience go smoothly and successfully. So, gather up your besties, your mom or whoever your fave shopping partner is. It’s time to get a high dose of retail therapy!
When should you buy your prom dress?
First things first, you need to decide when you should start actually shopping. This will depend on when your prom is. For most high schoolers, prom night usually falls at the end of the academic year, however, this can sometimes vary. If prom night has a date scheduled for some time at the beginning of the summer, you can begin to shop for prom dresses as early as January of the same year. Most prom dress retailers and designers will release their collections for the upcoming year the Fall before. This means you have an almost full year to take a look through all of the dresses!
prom dress shopping tips

How do you shop for a prom dress?
Start by gathering some inspiration before you even head to stores. This means taking a look at your favorite dress designers online first. Save your favorite dresses, put together Pinterest boards for what kind of accessories, makeup and hair you’re thinking about. This will help you narrow down the colors, styles and finishing touches you’re looking for. It’s much easier to shop with some information to guide you, rather than entering a dress-filled store and not knowing where to start.
You can save your favorite dresses or styles to your phone and even show them at the store as a reference for the look you want. This will help the shop assistant hand-pick you some options straight away that might be exactly what you had in mind, or at least close to your ideas. You can always take a look around the store at the other dresses too, so you don’t suffer from any ‘fear of missing out’.
Once you’ve picked out a few prom dresses to try on, you’ll head to the changing area to put each one on and see how it fits. Make sure you bring heels with you if you want to wear heels for prom night (in a separate bag). This will show you the rough length of where the dress will fall on you with heels on.
Tips for trying on prom dresses:
  • Walk around and see how comfortable the dress is as you move.
  • Check the length and the fit of the dress, especially on the waist and bust.
  • Check the dress all over for faults, make sure it closes properly and securely.
  • Look in the mirror and see if the dress suits your body’s shape, hair and skin tone.
  • Take a photo of the dress and try on other options. You can use your photos to decide at home, without pressure.
What to wear while prom dress shopping?
It’s a good idea to wear a casual outfit that is easy to take on and off while prom dress shopping. This is especially helpful if you plan to go to multiple stores and will need to change in and out of your regular clothing a few times. Slip-on shoes, a dress, leggings or a sweater are all quick and easy options for your prom dress shopping outing.
Does a prom dress have to be long?
You don’t have to limit your choice to just long dresses. Shorter prom designs are becoming increasingly popular. This includes midi length dresses that are below the knee but easier to dance and walk around in. You can also find many alternative options that could suit your prom night, such as sequin full-length jumpsuits and rompers. Check with your prom committee to ask if there is any particular dress code, and if not, you are free to choose from many different style options!
How do I choose a dress?
Making the final decision can be hard, especially if there are a few dresses that are equally as beautiful and you just can’t make your mind up. You can choose to ask friends or family members for their option of the dresses you love. You can go back to the store and try each option on again – something might stand out to you or feel differently on the second try-on. The decision is ultimately up to you, so follow your heart and choose a dress that is flattering, suits your personality and makes you feel beautiful.