Proms have changed a lot over the years. Mine was a gathering in a local park, they moved onto the school halls and are now held at beautiful venues.
With the venue changes, the trend and outfits and of course spend has increased.
Now a stunning prom dress, hair and make and transport are almost standard but they can cost £££’s, infact ££££’s if you are not careful.
So what are your options out there for prom dresses for different budgets?
New Prom dresses from Prom or Bridal shops:
I actually thought these would start at a lower cost but after a recent visit with a client, my eyes were opened. In fact I was gobsmacked at the costs. Prices started at around £200 - £700+! Shops like this are a good place to try on a lot of different style dresses and colours. This is especially good if your daughter doesn’t know quite what you are looking for or which styles work with their body shape. You can find anything from simple and elegant dress, sexy plunging halter necks, fairytale ball gowns to full on beaded, head to toe, tulle fish tail dresses.
The shop we visited give you 5 tags and you browse around the shop and pick out your five favourite dresses that you want to try on. Don’t worry as you can try on another 5 afterwards. This particular shop was crammed with dresses, over 700. They assist you with the trying on and suggest any other styles. You order the dress and they tend to arrive in May (some dresses are available to buy there and then but most are ordered). A great touch is that they keep a record of the dress you have ordered, the colour and the school your daughter attends so that no one will have the same dress at that prom night. But be warned, you could easily walk out of shops like this and spend £500+ on a dress that will be worn once. If your daughter falls in love with a dress and the price tag is double your budget, it’s a tricky conversation to work around.
The cost doesn’t always finish there, when the dress comes in, it may need alterations made, taken up, straps shortened etc so be prepared that this could then cost another £100+ on top of the dress cost. I visited Crystal Boutique in Fleet.
For Alterations I highly recommend Sara at www.choosebeautiful.co.uk
Renting a Prom Dress
If you or your daughter are looking into a more sustainable option then renting a dress is an answer to this. It also means that your daughter could wear a designer dresses that you would never ever purchase for one occasion but renting it for a few days is a fantastic idea. It’s now becoming the choice for celebrities attending events or special occasions. You can hire bags and shoes as well as the dresses. Dresses start at approx. £30 for 2 nights hire for a Vera Wang evening dress or £79 for a Temperley London dress. Try hire companies such as www.hire.girlmeetsdress.com
Buying Preloved or Vintage
As above this is a great sustainable option but also can be a great budget option or perfect if your daughter loves a vintage, quirky or individual style. You could try dress agencies, charity shops, clothing warehouses or vintage fairs.
Vintage fairs are filled with one off outfits and dresses and you could find stunning beaded evening dresses. You may a stunning 1950’s retro dress, a 70’s boho maxi dress or a 80’s sequined party dress – yes I’m afraid 80’s is vintage. Farnham has a fantastic regular Vintage Fair at Farnham Maltings.
For Preloved and Charity shops there is a huge choice and your daughter will no doubt be wearing an outfit that no one else is wearing as it isn’t current high street stock. There is a fantastic clothing warehouse in Newbury that has a prom, evening dress section. Most of the dresses have been worn once such as a prom night, some still have the tags on. Prices for the prom dresses here start around £45 upwards but evening dresses you can find £25+. Some charity shops also have great evening wear sections. But if budget is the main concern, shop around and research as you can sometimes pay more in a charity shop than online such as Asos and Amazon. Take a visit to The Clothing Warehouse in Hambridge Lane, Newbury.
Adding beading,trims, rhinestones, bows, or glue on diamante’s, could all change the look and create a bespoke dress. A plain dress could be bought for £30, with some beaded added you could create a beautiful stunning dress. You can purchase a press on diamantes glue gun and rhinestones on Amazon for £10+.
Bespoke Made Dress
This is particularly great if your daughter can’t find the right size, shape or colour dress. Being petite or curvy are often issues for formal long prom dresses and can bring on tears when trying dresses. My advice is still to try on a lot of styles. Start to photo the preferred elements and speak with a dress maker to design a dress that’s perfect for your daughter. The will suggest fabrics that will work well with the design. This doesn’t cost as much as you think. In fact you could find you spend less having a bespoke dress made than ordering from a prom dress shop. Prices start at approx. £130. I can highly recommend Sarah at www.Pinnellsorella.com
Shops such as Monsoon, Next and Debenhams have a good choice for prom dresses. Online they have a lot more choice than in store unfortunately. I’m a lover of the high street and want to keep it but the stock choice for prom dresses is far better with these stores online. Next has one of the biggest selections brings in other brands such as Lipsy and Stistaglam. Prices are approx. £70-£180.
The likes of ASOS and Boohoo have so much choice when it comes to Prom dresses. You can select via colour and size if you know the colour in advance. You can find anything for simple and elegant to frills and embroidery, fitted bodycon dresses, slip dresses to formal maxi prom dresses. Prices range from £30 - £150. As an average cost £60-£70 for a beautiful maxi dress.
Also try Amazon. You can buy a beautiful evening dress for £20 -£30 from Amazon but check the delivery times as it maybe being shipped from China. Also check sizing very carefully as everyone has their own sizing chart.
Beware of companies such as JJsHouse online. They come up in most searches for prom dresses but they are shipped from China and their returns policy is shocking. It will probably cost you more to send the dresses back if they are not right.
My Top Tips:
1- Take some jewellery or shoes with you to your dress fitting or when you are dress shopping. It helps to create the whole look.
2- Try on a lot of dresses. What your daughter might like in a picture, may not suit her in person so try on a lots of different styles and colours before picking a final dress. Try on dresses that you never would pick out normally, try different necklines and lengths.
3- Don’t forget hair and makeup. It can make such a difference to the outfit but also helps to overcome bad hair days when someone else comes to assist. My recommendations are Ema of www.thehairandbeautyartist.co.uk and Sara from www.choosebeautiful.co.uk
4- If the dresses all come up too long, look to a seamstress to take the dress up rather than worry about tripping over a dress that’s too long. They can also add a little loop under the dress that loops over your little finger so that your dress can be held up elegantly without scrunching up the fabric in your hand. Sara at www.choosebeautiful.co.uk
or Sarah at www.Pinnellsorella.com can assist with this.
5- Create a Pinterest board or a mood board. This will help to bring together styles your daughter likes and what they are looking for in styles and colours.
Contact Jo@Sparkling-Ginger.co.uk if you need assistance with any of this process. It maybe knowing what colours or styles to go for, how to find a dress on a budget or you may want someone to assist you with a trying on dress session to assist with the whole process.
I have a Mini Colours Session coming up on Feb 18th to help your teenagers find their best colours. It’s an hour session and they receive a swatch book with their 10 best colours. Its £45 and there are 5 slots available to book in advance.