10 Things To Ask Yourself About A Potential Prom Dress

Shopping for a prom dress that fits you inside and out can be stressful. Here are ten questions to ask yourself while shopping.

Now that you've got your ticket and your date for prom, you just have to figure out what you're going to wear. Unfortunately, finding the right prom dress can be more stressful than finding a date! This list of questions to ask yourself while you're shopping is designed to help take the mystery out of picking the perfect dress for your prom, but more importantly, picking the right dress for you.

1. Does the dress fit?

This should be a no-brainer, but we all fall victim to wishful thinking in the dressing room from time to time. If any part of the dress does not zip, button, tie, or clasp easily, put it back! Under no circumstances should you buy a dress that would fit perfectly if you lost ten pounds or worked on your thighs. Crash dieting to fit into a prom dress is not only dangerous and unhealthy, but you also run the risk of being stuck with an expensive dress that doesn't fit. Conversely, if the store doesn't carry your size of a particular dress, don't buy the next size up and hope nobody will notice your dress is too big. They will. Women with large bust sizes should be extra careful about spillage. If the dress pushes your breasts up or out too much, you run the risk of accidental exposure on the dance floor. The opposite is true for women with small busts. Watch out for dresses with too much extra room at the top. You might technically fit into the dress, but if your chest does not fill the space, your dress will bunch or sag at the top and give the appearance of an ill fit. Also, anyone taller than you will be able to see down your dress!

The key to answering this question is brutal honesty. There are dresses out there to fit every body type, so don't give up if you're having a hard time. If you have a difficult body type to fit, you might want to try bridal shops. Bridesmades' dresses often make beautiful prom dresses and are easily alterable. Many bridal shops offer free or reasonably priced alterations when you purchase a dress onsite.

2. Can you move in the dress?

Five minutes in a dressing room is not the same as all night. Still, you can simulate many prom night conditions when you are in a store. Jump up and down, sit, twirl, and bend over to try out your mobility in the dress. Don't be self-conscious when you attempt to answer this question. Dance your heart out in front of the mirror to see how the dress looks when it is moving. Walk a few laps around the store. If you still feel comfortable and your movements are unhindered, you can move in the dress. If you are at all doubtful about whether or not you can move comfortably, put the dress back.! Remember, at prom, you will be sitting, dancing, climbing in and out of a car, and walking, so your dress should be able to do all of these things, too.

3. Is the dress flattering?

This isn't the same as deciding whether or not the dress fits; this is about whether or not you feel pretty and confident in your dress. The people you go shopping with and three-way mirrors can help you answer this question. Look at the dress from all angles and ask your friends for their opinions. If you are lucky enough to find an honest salesperson, ask him or her what they think. The right dress for you will acentuate your best features and conceal features you are insecure about.

Color is as imortant as style. If you have red hair, a bright orange dress, no matter how well it fits or moves, is probably mot the best choice for your skin tone. You should have some idea of what colors look best on you already. Keep in mind that because prom is a spring formal, not too many women wear black. Feel free to wear black if that is what your heart is set on, but if you are looking for a dark dress, try jewel tones like deep purple or jade. Navy blue is another good option because it functions just like black; it slims your figure and is almost universally flattering.

4. Can you afford the dress?

Even if you are not shopping on a budget, do ask yourself if you can get a better deal. If you fall in love with a dress that has too steep a price tag, don't give up. Many retail stores often have stores in outlet malls where they sell the same or similar clothes at deep discounts. Ask the sales manager on duty where their closest outlet is, and whether or not they can call ahead for you. The sales manager should also be able to tell you of any upcoming sales or circulating coupons that might apply to your dress. Remember, they want your business and should be willing to go the extra mile to help you buy from from them.

Worst comes to worst, your unaffordable dream dress is still unaffordable. If this should happen to you, memorize or write down all the details that make the dress perfect. Then hit the thrift shops. Many people donate perfectly good prom dresses that have only been worn once to charity. If you are lucky and give yourself plenty of time, you may be able to find that dream dress on a secondhand rack for very cheap.

5. Is the dress durable?

Watch out for dresses made with flimsy material or plastic zippers. If the dress is form-fitting, gently tug on the seams to see how well they hold. A poorly made dress will not hold up well when you are dancing and sweating.

6. Is it important that you can wear the dress more than once?

Some people buy prom dresses only planning to wear them once. If you want a dress that won't sit in your closet, though, ask yourself if you could wear the dress to a fancy wedding. Durability is important here, but so is style. Steer away from super-trendy, and try to find something that will still look good a year from now. Simple styles with long, sleek lines are always in.

7. Will the dress stand the test of time?

When you look at your prom pictures ten years down the road, you want to still be proud of the dress you wore. Imagine how embarassed you'll be if you pull out your prom pictures to show someone and you find yourself saying, "I can't believe I would have ever worn something like that!" You don't necessarily need a simple or a classic dress to make this happen, just a dress you're always going to remember fondly.

8. Does the dress match the accessories you have in mind?

Although you will want to wait to accessorize until you actually have a dress, you might already have something special in mind. If you are going to wear your mother's pearls, take them with you to try on dresses. If you know you want to wear your hair up, put it up to go shopping. If you can't walk in heels and don't want to learn, look for a dress that will look good with flat shoes or boots.

9. Does the dress send the right message?

If your best friend showed up in a dress that looked like Saran Wrap, what would you think? If you've got a hot date, a sexy dress might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you're going with a group of friends or a good buddy, you might not want to wear something too revealing and send the wrong message. Remember, you want to be emotionally comfortable with what you're wearing as well as physically comfortable.

10. Is the dress you?

Your ideal dress will reflect your unique personality. Whether you choose something trendy or classic, beaded or brocaded, sleek or poofy, low-cut or modest, you want to feel like yourself in your dress. The more confident you feel in your dress, the more fun you will have at your prom.

If you ask yourself these ten questions when trying on potential prom dresses, you're sure to find a dress you'll love. Happy shopping!

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