Getting ready for prom

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It's prom week around here, so we are thinking hair and nails and long fancy dresses. Personally, I don't hold any idyllic, water-colored memories of senior prom -- mostly I remember a date who kept sneaking off and a very scratchy dress. Still, it's PROM. We spray-tanned just yesterday. Yep, I'm serious. 

I realize it's a little late in the game to be sharing prom tips, so you'll just have to file this info in the "just-in-case" portion of your brain. But it's a good one -- if you are a risk-taker.

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Last year, with Jordan, I knew finding the right dress would be tricky. Jordan is particular about her fashion choices, and we wanted something that was modest (which is exceedingly rare in formal wear). So when she proposed ordering a prom dress directly from China I was willing to give it a try. There are any number of web sites with pages and pages of dresses to choose from. (We bought Maddie's from this one.) You can filter them by neckline, by hem length, and even by color. So far we've bought three dresses this way, and the girls have been thrilled with the results. 

When ordering a prom dress, there are a few considerations. Here's what we've learned:

  • Order early. These companies generally quote 4-6 weeks for delivery, and while one of our dresses came early, the other two arrived a full five weeks after purchase. Madison's was finally delivered last week (only a week and a half before the dance).
  • Measure well. Some companies ask for actual measurements, while others have you convert measurements to a dress size. Either way, break out the old measuring tape and be thorough. Each website has measuring instructions with illustrations showing exactly where to measure. 
  • Plan on alterations. Chances are, even with proper measurements, the dress will need a few nips and tucks to achieve a perfect fit. I've taken all three of our dresses to a great neighborhood tailor, who has shortened hems, tightened bodices, and even altered details the girls weren't initially pleased with. The dresses themselves are relatively inexpensive, but plan on between $40 and $80 for alteration fees.

I'll post pictures of Maddie's dress soon, after the big unveiling on Friday night. Cross your fingers for no rain!

Check out more dresses here, here and here.