10 Things I Know After Prom Dress Shopping

Recently my daughter Gabi was asked to prom.  It was super sweet.  Her boyfriend Gabriel (yes, it’s Gabi and Gaby) had already told Gabi that he wasn’t interested in going to prom.  He being a junior and Gabi being a sophomore, he didn’t think she cared too much about going.  While dress shopping a few weeks ago for my Captain America Premiere dress, she was with me and mentioned that she wished she were going to prom for she loved a few of the dresses.  Well, I mentioned it to Gabriel, and he decided to ask.


So after tossing a baseball over her head while they were playing catch, the ball he overthrew landed with the word prom on top, and she was thrilled.  It was a super sweet moment.  One, that for some reason didn’t dawn on me, that I now had to take my daughter prom dress shopping.  Lucky for me the school she goes to took the stress of her picking out a dress that is a little too grown up for her for they have a prom dress code.  So the hunt began.

We started online.  We debated having one made.  She has such an artistic taste, that meaning she doesn’t go with the flow.  With having less than a month, going back and forth with material samples and sizes, it would be too much.  So we decided to go prom dress shopping.  Having a bit of an idea of what she didn’t want helped tremendously as to figure out what she wanted.  So I thought I would try to help some other prom dress shopping moms out there with some ideas of what to do before hitting the shops.

10 Things I Know After Prom Dress Shopping


1.  Before shopping think about what type of shoe your daughter will be wearing?

This may sound like a, “huh?”, but really it makes sense.  Trying on dresses with a size heel you are comfortable wearing helps a bunch.  Gabi grabbed a pair of my heels, just for the height.  It made a few of the dresses she picked go to the “no” quickly.

2.  Know your budget.

There are dresses for less than $100 and all the way up to $1000.  We talked about a budget before we started shopping.  That way, when that $600 dress is the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen….yeah, we already know it’s a no, and there’s no discussion.

 3. Know the Theme.

Proms have a theme set to them, with some being a Winter Wonderland or Hollywood.  For Gabi’s prom, the theme is the Great Gatsby.  This provided the choice of beaded, textured, and dramatically draped dresses.  For a prom based on the roaring 20’s, a tight, hot pink, sequenced dress may not be the best choice.

4.  What doesn’t your daughter like?  Why?

If it’s a color, that’s easy.  But what if it’s a dress cut?  Strapless?  Halter top?  Mermaid?  I mean there are so many things out there that know what is a no, you don’t even have to go there.  For us, we couldn’t have cutouts, no flesh net, which is in fashion right now, no slits to there….she had a few colors and materials that were just a no way – so if I found a dress like that, I knew to let it pass.

5.  What does she like?   Why?

What colors?  What cut?  The weight of the dress?  Yes, this was something Gabi figured out quick.  Some of the prettiest gowns were super heavy.  It wouldn’t be fun to dance all night carrying that much weight.  So she said no to one dress she loved because it was just too heavy.  Long dresses are destined to weigh more than short ones, but remember this is prom, not homecoming.

6.  Look at beaded dresses for unraveling.

Gabi brought 2 gorgeous gowns with beading throughout and there were lines of beads missing.  It was sad for they were beautiful. But even if they were not damaged, after seeing those that were, she said she wouldn’t want to get a dress that easily falls apart even before going to the dance.

7.  Know that every color that you love won’t love you.

After trying on some lighter skin tone colored dresses, Gabi started to realize that every color doesn’t look good on you, no matter how gorgeous the dress is.

8. Keep an open option mind.

When you try on dresses, find one or two you love, and ask someone to hold them. Go shop some more and feel free to look at other dresses.  Maybe you will find something you love more or realize that you can’t find anything better.  Stepping away from the dresses for a little bit will give you time to clear your head from the craziness of dress shopping.  After a while, go back to your favorites and try them on again, just to make sure you have found the perfect dress.

9.  Think about how your daughter wants to wear her hair.

Unless she’s having her hair done while wearing her dress, there are some dresses that no matter how hard you try, it will mess up your hair.

10.  After you find the dress, then you find the shoes.

If you want to enjoy the night, know that having gorgeous shoes can matter to a girl, but comfort will win in the end.  The last thing your daughter wants is to have feet that hurt.  So have her take 10 minutes walking around in the store in those heels.  If she looks like Bambi taking her first steps, she probably needs to keep looking.  If her feet hurt after 10 minutes, she needs to keep looking.  She needs to be able to walk in these safely.


I have to say…this photo with dress and shoes in tow, makes me smile!

Trippin with Tara
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  1. Great tips. I can’t believe they both have the same name… ha! How cute! I think the biggest for me growing up was the budget one and budget shopping.

  2. What an adorable way to get asked to prom! I remember prom dress shopping with my Mom many years ago. It was very exciting, and I was very happy when I finally found the perfect dress. These are great tips!

  3. My SIL just did prom dress shopping with my niece. It was an all weekend event. As the Mom of a boy, I missed out on prom dress shopping. But I did get to play with GI Joe. 🙂

  4. What a neat way to ask her to go. I’m sure she was thrilled. So happy that I don’t have to worry about this for my daughter hopefully for another 10 years or so.

  5. Awww, that is the cutest prom invite story! I am so glad she is getting a chance to go. These are some great tips! I wish I had a daughter to go dress shopping with! I am living through you, so keep sharing 😉

  6. Luckily, my daughter’s boyfriend is also a sophomore, so we don’t have to worry about prom dress shopping yet! Shopping for prom dresses for her fifth grade and eight grade proms were stressful enough! LOL

  7. What a great post.. should share this with my Son’s girlfriends Mom..LOL.. My son and his girlfriend are only in 8th grade, BUT.. we had our very first prom a few weeks ago and BOY was it expensive… I had no idea.. BUT they had a very special Prom for one of their classmates who has cancer and her dying wish was to make it to prom, so this was HER prom.. it was beautiful and I didn’t mind at all spending the money for my 8th grader to attend.. Will keep the post handy, I know we have a few more Proms ahead of us…

  8. I hope we get to see the all dressed up photos. I can’t wait for bella to go shopping for dresses. I will keep an open mind as long as she doesn’t want dresses that show too much skin LOL.

  9. Goodness, so much stylish adorable-ness in one great post! it’s great that teenagers today have lots of choices. They can look at a store, they can look online.

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