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All you need to know about buying a prom dress

It may not seem like it, but prom is just around the corner. And for girls it means prom dress shopping. A lot of people don´t know when or where to shop  and it can be stressful looking for dresses.

Start early and avoid the rush. Beginning your search in February may seem premature but retailers will already be stocking their racks by then. By going early you get to bypass the last minute rush and stress to find a dress. Prom shopping is often highly competitive – everyone wants to have the best dress. Starting early allows you to explore all of your options in store and online.

All girls that are planning on attending have very different ideas on what they want to wear to prom. Some girls like a classic look, others want to be a little bit more daring. Prom is also a pretty expensive event because anyone who has ever looked at dress price tags understand. They can range anywhere from one hundred dollars to three, maybe four hundred dollars. And when you consider all the other things that have to be purchased like shoes and possibly paying to get hair and makeup done, their ends up being quite a bit of money spent.

The good news is there are plenty of places to look for nice and affordable dresses that keep the amount of money being spent low and fit anyones style. Here is a list:

Department Stores – JCPenney, Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, and Dillard’s always have dresses year round. But they really amp up their game during prom season and have some pretty nice dresses. They do have a lot of affordable dresses, but they also have some more high end dresses if that is what you are looking for. You can also try the dresses on and then walk out with it without having to wait for shipping.

PromGirl – This is an online store dedicated to homecoming and prom dresses, and they have thousands. You can find every type of dress imaginable in any price range on this site. They have super budget friendly options under $100 and then all the way up to over $2000. They offer free shipping and state their returns are easy if the dress does not fit or is not as expected.

Lulu’s– This is another online store, they are not dedicated to prom dresses but they do have formal dresses that many people seem to like because of their simplicity. They don’t have super bedazzled princess type dresses, they are more like fancy maxi dresses than anything else. They work for a lot of people and are super affordable.

Bridal Salons – All bridal salons carry bridesmaids dresses, but more recently they have a prom dress section around prom time. The dresses are usually pretty expensive, which makes sense because they are a bridal store and they sell overpriced dresses to make a profit. Although places like David’s Bridal is usually pretty reasonable. If you do plan on going to a bridal store you almost always have to have an appointment and a lot of the time they won’t have the dress you want in your size. They will take your measurements and get it custom ordered and the process takes months, so make sure you go in about four months before the actual event if you want to buy from a bridal store.

Ebay, Amazon, and Consignment Shops- Most people don’t think of looking at these places, but every girl buys a dress every year that will only ever be worn once and they have no use for it after that so they sell it. Theses are once worn dresses that are in perfect condition. They are also super affordable because people really just want to get rid of their dresses. So you can find top of the line dresses for very reasonable prices. The only downside to buying from these places is you may have to get the dress altered.

One thing to be wary of when looking for dresses is when online shopping because it has become a thing in recent years where people order dresses that look great online and the dress comes and it is not like the picture. The dress is made of cheap fabric and sometimes can’t be returned. Just make sure that the store being ordered from is a legitimate company and you are not throwing away money for a piece of fabric that can not be worn.

Also keep a look out for sales. There are always sales, especially if you start looking early. Look for coupons and promo codes and at the designer of the dresses website because sometimes you can actually get the dress cheaper if you look there than in a store. There are always sales, so take advantage of of them because so many dresses are overpriced and no one should have to pay full price if they don’t have too.