Ups and Downs Of Prom Dress Shopping


One can almost feel the excitement that fills the air when Prom is just around the corner. And by that I mean it’s about a solid month away. Sentinel is having its 2022 Prom on May, 14th with the theme of “Fly me to the moon.” Don’t ask me for any other details at this point in time. I have no clue about anything, but I do know this: Shopping for a prom dress is one of the most fun yet insufferable activities I’ve ever done. 

I will say, however, that most of my prom dress-shopping outings have been chaperoned by my mother, who happens to have almost the exact opposite of the opinions that I have. Usually, I love shopping for clothes, and it doesn’t matter who I’m with, but after an hour of looking for a dress for this specific occasion, I’m done. It’s exhausting and frustrating. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m having a lot of fun while looking and trying on all of the options, but I’m not really into the short dresses this year. And unfortunately, those are the only ones my mom had a, “Oh my gosh, Rowan, you look so cute!” reaction to. I’m a firm believer in short dresses for homecoming/fireside and long dresses for prom. 

That being said, here are the actual ups and downs of prom dress shopping. 

The first, and most obvious “up”, is that you get to try on a bunch of pretty dresses. Most of the options given at the stores are cute in their own way, it’s just a game of finding what style you like. I thoroughly enjoyed putting on all of these gorgeous pieces of clothing and admiring myself in the mirror. I definitely had my preferences, but from A-line ball gowns to more form-fitting silk dresses, it was so much fun trying them on. 

Secondly, going out with family or friends to shop for a special occasion always makes me excited. I love (consensually) dragging people around and shopping. This “special occasion” being senior prom only makes me feel more happy and excited. It’s even better when the people I go out with are equally excited and happy. It’s a really fun and safe environment, and I always had a good time. 

The last note-worthy “up” is that I tend to like more “lavish” things that I can’t really afford nor want to wear casually all the time. So having an excuse to buy a bunch of over-the-top accessories is absolutely perfect. 

Onto the “downs.”

After the first hour of trying on prom dresses, it starts getting old really quickly. I begin to feel like I’m trying on the same things over and over again. This, naturally, leads me into thinking I look horrible in everything I put on. No color is the correct shade, the fabric doesn’t fall the right way, and the skirt is an insufferable texture. 

It also brings the mood down when the dresses that I think are absolutely gorgeous are out of my price range by a large margin. The dress would fit me perfectly and look amazing, but then turn out to be $400 over my budget. I want to wear a nice dress, but not when the cost of it is more money than I make in two weeks. 

Lastly, it’s incredibly frustrating when you have to go to multiple places. This in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s super fun to see what other stores have to offer, but when paired with the other two reasons as to why prom dress shopping sucks, it’s my last straw. I’d rather be done for the day than risk facing even more disappointment. 

However, all of that being said, I’ve found the perfect dress and I’m extremely excited to wear it. At the time I was shopping I had no idea what Sentinel’s prom theme would be, and thankfully the dress I picked actually fits the theme of “Fly me to the moon” absolutely beautifully. So while shopping for a prom dress is a weird mash of “stressful fun,” it definitely was worth it, and I made some good memories along the way.