Everything You Need to Know About Prom Dress Shopping

Nazy Rafaeil
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Prom dress shopping is one of the most fun parts of preparing for prom night! You get to enjoy spending time with friends, shopping and trying on so many dresses. If your prom is in the summer, you’ll want to start making plans and thinking about dresses up to 6 months in advance. After the festive holiday period is a good time to start.
Before you even head to any stores, it’s can be helpful to do some research online. Pick out prom dresses 2020 that catch your eye, add them all to a Pinterest board. Think about the colors and dress styles that will suit you. You can also plan the accessories and finishing touches that you want to add. Don’t buy the accessories until after you have your dress. This is in case you change your mind during the shopping process itself.

You should also make out a rough budget for how much you want to spend on the dress and accessories. This can be flexible but helps you know the right price range you’re looking for. Once you’ve planned and researched the dress itself, it’s time to go shopping. You may be wondering what’s involved in the process. We’re answering the commonly asked questions and sharing some helpful shopping tips.

When should you start prom dress shopping?

The best time to start shopping for prom dresses is in January and February (assuming your prom is in summer of the same year). This is just after the new prom dress collections have been released for the year. By shopping in January, you’ll see the most dresses possible, before any styles get sold out. Even if you don’t want to purchase your dress, you can have it reserved for you. Many stores can also order dresses seen on brand’s websites. If you can’t find a particular dress in stock, just ask if it’s possible to make an order for you.

How should I prepare for dress shopping?

Here are some of the best tips for getting ready to go dress shopping:

Pick which stores you want to visit – research the stores closest to you or plan the trip to visit them.
Eat breakfast or meal before you go, in case you’re shopping for several hours.
Wear shoes that are comfortable for walking, if you plan to walk around between a few different locations.
Decide who you’ll bring with you. It’s better to only bring one or two close friends or family members, so you don’t get too many conflicting opinions.
Wear an outfit that’s easy to change in and out of. Slip-on shoes, a dress that quickly goes on over your head or leggings and a sweater.
Don’t wear too much makeup. You don’t want to leave a foundation or mascara stain on any of the dresses while trying them on.
You can wear a strapless bra. This has the advantage of being hidden under most dresses, so you get a better idea of the dress bodice.

What should I bring prom dress shopping?

Bring your phone to take photos. You can use these photos to look back over the dresses you’ve tried on later.
Pack a small bag with a pair of heels. This is if you plan to wear heels on prom night. Trying on your dress with heels on gives you a better idea of the length.

Should I book an appointment to try on prom dresses?

You may or may not need an appointment to go and try on prom dresses. Some stores are appointment only. Booking a time slot gives you the full attention of the team in the store. They can assist you to find different dresses, sizes, and fits. They’ll also be on hand to make suggestions and offer their opinion. If you don’t need this level of attention, many stores are open for walk-in browsing. You can always ask the store what their policy is.

What to wear to a dress fitting?

Wear any outfit that’s easy to change in and out if. Pieces that slip on and off, rather than zip-up or lace-up clothing is much easier and quicker. If possible, wear a simple t-shirt style strapless bra (no details that will show up through a dress).

For additional common questions and answers about prom dresses, see our FAQ section.

Tips for trying on prom dresses:

The neckline is very important – try on a few different types to see what suits you.
Pay attention to how the dress fits: on the shoulders, waist and the length. These can be altered but should be noted.
Choosing a color – should be based on what suits your skin tone and also your own taste.
Make sure the size is right. The perfect fit is essential, other aspects can be tailored or taken up.
Decide if you want a sleeveless, strapless or long/short sleeve dress.
Choose between a short, midi or long dress. Don’t rule out the ideal of a jumpsuit! It all depends on your own sense of style.
Try on several different dress styles and keep an open mind. Fitted, mermaid and A-line are the three most popular choices.
Feel the fabric and quality of the dress. See how it drapes on your body and highlights your figure.

Last updated 6 months ago.

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