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How to Choose the Perfect Prom Dress

Updated on December 29, 2015

Prom night is one of the most special nights in a girl’s life and one she will remember forever. The run up to prom night can also be a stressful time for everyone and not least of all for the parents. There is so much to get ready, and expectations will be high, so, the more that you can prepare in advance, the less stressed you will be on the night. Even if you try your best to prepare for a prom night on a budget, and you do manage to find some cheap prom dresses to choose from, there’s still the limo, the shoes, the accessories and the hair do to worry about too.

For a girl, her prom dress is probably the most important thing on her mind, other than her date, and it really can make or break a prom night for her. Prom night will be her final farewell to her college life and farewell to many of her friends too, so it’s only natural that she wants to make a great impression. A prom dress not something that you can simply rush out and buy though, it does take a lot of thought and, if you know a few simple tips to help you choose the perfect prom dress, it could help stop you suffering a prom dress nightmare on the night. So, if your prom night is looming for you, here are some great tips that will help choose the perfect dress for that perfect night.


Look for inspiration

You really should start planning your prom night months before the big day and, one of the things that you should be doing, is looking for inspiration for your prom dress. Start looking through magazines for ideas, surf the net for articles on prom dresses, and keep your eye on celebrity red carpet events so that you can follow the trends. Don’t be put off by the prices at this stage; this is only to give you some ideas. There are plenty of ways to buy cheap prom dresses that will still be in the latest styles. You can get some great style ideas for cheap prom dresses here. Ideally, you should be in a position to make your choice of a prom dress six weeks before the date of the prom. This will give you plenty of time to have any alterations made to the dress that may be needed.


Know your body shape

Not every style of prom dress will suit every type of body shape, so it is important to understand what shape you are. Body shapes, which are usually categorised as things like apple, pear, or hourglass, will help you decide what style of dress will suit you the best. If you are an apple shape, which means that you have slim legs and you carry your weight around the middle, then an A line dress, or a dress with an empire waist might suit you the best. If you are pear shaped, which means that your hips are larger than your bust, then you would be best advised to emphasise your waist and add volume to your upper body. Check online for cheap prom dresses; there are plenty of guides available that will help you choose a dress style to match your body shape.

Know your skin tone

When choosing the colour of a prom dress, you should bear in mind what your skin tone is. Skin tones are usually broken down into two main groups; cool undertones, and warm undertones. You can find out what your skin tone is by holding a piece of white paper up to your face. When you do this, if your skin looks beige, olive or brown, then you have a warm skin tone and if your skin looks pink, rose or blue, then you have a cool skin tone. You need to take into account the colour of your eyes and your hair as well, but, in general terms, if you have a warm skin tone, then earthy colours like browns, reds as yellows will suit you. If you have a cool skin tone, then colours like purples, greens and blues might flatter your skin better.


Be honest about your size

Don’t try and pretend that you are dress size you are not, because squeezing into a dress that doesn’t really fit you properly will only make feel uncomfortable and self-conscious on the night. Dress sizes vary from country to country and from manufacture to manufacture, so use them as a guide only and allow enough time to have alterations made to your dress. It’s more important that you look wonderful in your dress and you feel comfortable, than it is that you wear a certain size dress. You can always cut the label out of your dress if really are worried about what size it has on it. This does make it a little more difficult to find cheap prom dresses, especially if you are looking for used ones, but be patient and it will be worth the extra effort it takes to find the perfect prom dress in your size.

Buy a dress that you will feel comfortable in


While you will want to look stunning in your prom dress, you will also want to feel comfortable. Choose a dress is not any more revealing than you would normally wear and choose one that fits you well enough so that you can move around in with ease. The night is not just about the moment when you first arrive, you will be wearing that dress for some hours. Don’t go so far out of your comfort zone with your prom dress that you feel self-conscious and awkward all night long


Try on lots of different dresses

Visit plenty of dress stores and try on lots of different styles and colours of prom dresses. Even if you aren’t going to buy from the store and you are going to look for cheap prom dresses later on and buy one online, you should still see what different styles actually look like on you before you spend any money. You may well have done your research already and know your body type, but you really can’t be sure about a dress until you have tried it on, or you have tried one on that is very similar to the one that you actually intend buying.

Take your time

There is a lot to think about when you are preparing for your prom night and you only get one prom night in your life. Take your time choosing your prom dress and thinking about things like your makeup and your hair. Try out the whole ensemble in advance and make sure that you are 100% happy with the results. You don’t want to be running around making last minute changes to your outfit with just hours to go until the big night. If you have prepared everything in advance, you will be more relaxed and more able to enjoy a wonderful prom night.



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    • cristalpower profile image

      Vaishali Agrawal 2 years ago from Gurgaon

      Fantastic tips.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      You seem to have it fully covered. The pictures are on display for years afterwards, so the dress better be right. Thanks for sharing your wisdom on the topic.