Saying Yes to the Prom Dress


I have a confession to make.  I cannot seem to peel my eyes away from the show Say Yes to the Dress.  I’m intrigued by everything about this program:  the relationships between the brides and their bridesmaids and families, the endless drama, the dress selections and rejections and the amount of money these girls are sometimes willing to spend on gowns that they will wear only once.  Some of the girls try on dozens and dozens of dresses, only to find some reason to not to like them.  I often wonder if these women, who look stunning in many of those rejected gowns, have lost touch with the true meaning of the upcoming occasion.

I wonder if something similar is happening in the prom dress industry.  I recently got a text from my daughter, who is a high school senior. The text had an attached picture of her in a gorgeous royal blue prom gown.  We both loved everything about it.  Well …. almost everything.  Royal blue, figure flattering, coverage of a key area, elegant but youthful and fun,…..

Six hundred dollars.    Wowza!

It’s perfect, read my daughter’s text. I love it.  This was followed by some very logical attempts to win my approval. (She knows I’m practical). She has been to a few proms and has never spent a lot for any gown:   At one prom she wore a bridesmaid gown from a wedding that I was in.  At another she bought a beautiful gown at a consignment shop for half of its original price. And last year her Lord & Taylor gown rang up on sale for $69.99.  (We practically squealed at the register).


There’s no denying this $600 dress was exquisite and surely required many hours of labor by a skilled seamstress to achieve this level of quality.  (I admire people who can do this kind of work.  I can only sew buttons onto clothes).  Yet no matter how valid her arguments seem, I cannot justify spending $600 on a dress that will be worn for a few hours.  Not when we both know there is a gorgeous gown at a fraction of that price on a rack somewhere, waiting to be discovered.  Would that gown measure up to this one in quality?  Probably not.  But would anyone be thinking about this at prom?  Probably not.

I understand how exciting it is to get dressed up in formalwear. (I would like to be invited to a black tie event some day).  Special occasions call for fancier clothing, hair, makeup and jewelry.  But no teenager should feel the need to pay $600 for a gown in order to feel unique and beautiful at prom.

I have told my daughter a few times, and I know she agrees with me, despite these recent pleas:  No matter what gown she chooses to wear to prom ~ as long as it complements her size, shape, and complexion, and carries with it no risk of having a wardrobe malfunction ~ she is going to look exquisite and probably have a wonderful time.  Five years from now, no one will remember what she or anyone else wore to prom, only that it was worth all the preparation and it was a memorable time.

Remember Cinderalla?  Here’s a girl who made her own gown (before it was shredded to bits by her jealous stepsisters). But if you think about it, even before her magical transformation, Cinderalla was thrilled to be going to the ball, even in her simple, homemade dress.

I like her attitude.





2 responses »

  1. Perfect! Another way to think of it, is to equate $600 to something else… a couple of weeks of food for your family, 1/5 of someone’s braces (guessing nowadays), not even a down payment on a used car… And she WILL look exquisite, no matter the price!

    • Sharon, that’s true! But these dressmakers know girls want to look
      unique and stunning. I’m sure some girls think that paying $600 should do the
      trick. But it’s not necessary. (I feel the same way about wedding gowns).

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