( Above, a beautiful Navy Bardot inspired dress available at ASOS Curve online. )
It's been a long time since Annie and I wore a prom dress.... like around 20 years. In the 1990s the small town "it' dress was something long, black and minimal. We actually took a field trip to London Ontario and bought our dresses at a shop a Masonville mall. We shelled out over $200 for our dresses and that was a big expense for my family at the time. I have to thank my Dad for that one. I believe Mom thought the price was pretty outrageous but Dad understood that it was an important night for us and it was important that we felt beautiful.
Honestly we did. Looking back on the old photos I have, I can't help but smile. The dresses were so demure, probably because they had to have parental approval and that WAS the style back then. Long black dresses, heavy eyeliner, red lipstick and slicked back hair. Weren't the 90's grand?
We all chipped in and rented a limo. First time ever in a limo, and it wasn't like the fancy Limo's we see around today. This beast was old school.. but we felt pretty damn cool.
(Our pimp Limo...and I have no idea WTF I am doing in the picture)
After the dance we partied all night at Tara's family's hotel in Sauble Beach. If we went to the party with boys we ditched the lads early in the night to hangout with each other. I think we started the whole SQUAD thing. I recall my boyfriend at the time, Richard, wasn't a fan of dancing.... Richard was left in the corner..because baby loved her 90's Much Music Dance parties. (Remember those techno dance parties?)
Ok, enough about my old photos.... but the point I'm trying to make is: Prom is pretty important. It's the night where your classmates get to see a version of you they don't normally see. It can be a confidence builder. It's that night where you thank a higher power that you somehow survived high school. All those days of zits and braces were finally behind us.
Annie and I were around a size 14/16 at the time, and it was hard trying to find a dress back then that would fit us and be reasonably priced.
OUR TIPS: ORDER ONLINE
Nowadays, if I had a daughter I would order her dress online and take measurements. Once the dress arrives, have it altered if it needs it. The variety in store won't be as unique as the styles online and the worst thing you can do is send her to the party in a dress she hates because it was the only one on the rack that fit her. That is NOT a confidence booster.
INVEST IN THE PROPER UNDERGARMENTS, ESPECIALLY THE RIGHT KIND OF BRA.
Also invest in the right "under armour," as I like to call it. If you're daughter is well endowed like I was, try to find a dress that has thick straps or a full coverage back to hide bra straps. If the idea of being that covered up is appalling (which I'm sure is the case) and she wants to go strapless, invest in a corset with boning instead of a strapless bra. I have two corsets that I wear with evening wear, they're really a long line bra and they give me the right shape and keep my "girls" where they belong. Nobody wants to be worried about a sagging bra (wardrobe malfunction) when you want to dance and have a good time.
CONSIDER RENTING A DRESS!!
If money is an issue, and let's face it, nowadays, it is..there are great websites where you can rent a designer dress for around $50 bucks and the dresses are literally right of the the runway. Measure and order the dress in the correct size, some of the sites will give you two dresses for the price of one, if you're daughter is between sizes. I've never tried the service but people have raved to me about it. There is also a shop in Toronto called Rent- a- Frock, that carries plus size dresses. Some of these sites charge a monthly fee for rental membership so it will be up to you to decide whether it's worth the cost.