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Perfect Prom Dress Selection


Jovani 2010 White Jersey Cutout Gown #8512

Follow the tips listed below to look sizzling hot at your Prom or Spring Party, shop smart and have fun.

1. Review Dress Codes

No matter what dress you fall in love with, if your school or parents have problems with it, the dress could prevent you from making it past school officials or out the door past your parents. It may be a bummer but be sure to know your list of options before you spend your hard earned money.

Note: The Jovani White Jersey Cutout Gown shown the side is generally available in size 0-32 depending on individual shops. Larger sizes may require custom ordering and fittings. For more information visit

2. Relax

There's no need to totally stress out. Even though you may worry about all the best dresses being sold, in the age of the Web, you can always find the perfect dress.

You don't have to limit your search to just Prom Dress shops. You can shop at any store that sells fancy gowns. With the new "anything" goes with regard to dress length or style, you don't need to fret over having the formal ball gown if you don't really like them.

3. Think Outside The Box

Jovani 2010 White Jersey Dutout Gown #8512

Have you considered resale shop options? Instead of burning up your gas, call all of the better stores in the area and ask them if they have any Prom, party or similar inventory available. If they do, find out the size and if it sounds promising, ask them to hold it so you can go check it out before someone else snaps it up.

Many seamstresses can copy a gown for you with the proper photos and images. Have you considered getting dress making quotes from local seamstresses? One great advantage to having a dress custom made is that no one else will have the same gown.

4. Research

The Hollywood Awards Season is a great place to get great ideas for the type of gown or dress you may be interested in finding.

Although the Little Black Dress (LBD) is always a safe choice, Hollywood demonstrated at the 2010 Golden Globe Awards that jeweled tones such as purple, red and gold are becoming more popular. So are pinks, silver and metallic fabrics.

The one shoulder gown is hot right now but so are strapless gowns. Research the options be remember to buy a gown that shows off your own individual assets.

Jovani 2010 Green Print V Neck Gown

6. Know Your Budget Before You Shop

When shopping within a specified budget keep in mind there will be taxes and possible alteration charges. Does your budget include add-on accessories such as shoes, wrap, handbag, hair accessories or earrings? Will you be paying any shipping charges? How will they factor in?

You may want to consider making a general budget for each key item ranging from the dress to the shoes, hair accessories, jewelry, wrap and handbag.

When you do shop be sure and tell the sales person what your dress budget is so you avoid wasting your time looking at gowns that are way outside of your budget.

7. Be Prepared

When you go shopping be sure you have printed out photos of your dream gowns and accessories. Show the salesperson the type of gown you want to try and what your budget is. They can help you find gowns that are either the one you have photos of or similar styles and colors.

Jovani 2010 B1421 Halter Style Back Baring Print

Salespeople do much better helping you when you can show them them images of what you are looking for rather than having no idea or giving them vague descriptions.

(Note: Jovani #151328 is a Green Print V Neck gown which has a similar top as the White Jersey Cutout Gown but with a flowing skirt which will emphasize the waist, bust, arms and back but not accentuate hips or bootie.)

Consider having a Prom Dress Viewing Party where you have all your friends bring photos of their dream gowns. You can all provide ideas on what styles might look best on each other and take turns discussing options.

Make it a sleepover with Prom movies and other fun activities.

8. Plan Ahead

Historically if you have to special order your clothing or accessories (shoes) then be sure to shop as early as possible to allow for custom orders or fittings.

Salespeople do much better helping you when you can show them them images of what you are looking for rather than having no idea or giving them vague descriptions.

9. Go Early When You Shop

Jovani 2010 Purple & Blue Print V Neck

Last year when I made the round of Prom dress shops in the Dallas Fort Worth area I was told that by the beginning of February all the Prom dress shops are overflowing on weekends. If you must shop on a Saturday either go first thing when the shop opens or go just a few hours before the store closes.

Call each of the Prom shops you are considering visiting and asking if they take dress shopping appointments (some do) or what is the best time to arrive in order to be able to have a fitting room time. One of the biggest challenges for girls buying a prom dress is having access to a fitting room.

10. Limit Your Shopping Buddies To Two

Too many chefs spoil the cooking and too many friends will give you too many opinions. Take one or two people you totally trust to give you the real scoop on how you look in different gowns. Leave your tender feelings at home.

If you want to look your very best, trust those who know you and your best features to help guide you to making the best dress decision. Keep in mind that busy salespeople may or may not be completely honest when asked their opinions. Afterall, they don't know you and while they care about making you happy, do they really know your personality, likes and dislikes?

11. Wear Proper Try On Prom Dress Gear

Jovani 2010 Purple & Blue Print V Neck

To speed up the process of trying on gowns wear a strapless or halter bra and heels the same height you will wear for the prom. Be sure to wear clothing that easy to take off and on. Consider wearing your hair up if it gets easily tangled.

Remember that the biggest issue with shopping for Prom gowns in getting your turn in a fitting room. If you are dressed for ease of trying on clothes, it will make your time in the fitting room more efficient.

Avoid wearing any jewelry just as dangling earrings, bracelets or watches which can snag delicate material or clothes with lots of buttons or zippers.

If you want to look your very best, trust those who know you and your best features to help guide you to making the best dress decision. Keep in mind that busy salespeople may or may not be completely honest when asked their opinions. Afterall, they don't know you and while they care about making you happy, do they really know your personality, likes and dislikes?

12. Snap It

Ask a friend to use a digital camera or camera phone to snap photos of you in the different gowns. Ask them to keep a notebook of each dress your try on by the store where you tried it, the name or ID number of the gown, the color, the price and any other info that will help you decide whether or not to buy the gown.

Jovani 2010 Black Floral Print Waist Cutout Gown

If you really love the gown, but can't decide whether it's the one you want or not, the notebook and photos will help you take a little time with your decision. You can always sleep on it overnight.

Once you have purchased your dress the snaps will come in handy when you visit your hairdresser for Prom style ideas. You may also want to make Prom Notebook where you attach photos of prom dresses you like and then tie it to hair, make-up, accessories, even nail polish.

If you aren't sure but think you might want the gown, ask the salesperson to hold it for 24 hours if that's possible. Some may want a nonrefundable deposit so be sure you understand the conditions of a store holding a dress.

13. Wear A Great Attitude

One of the things I was told when I visited Prom dress shops was that the salespeople will shy away from helping girls with bad or demanding attitudes.

Go into a shop with a smile, courtesy and manners and you will receive better service. Leave the drama at home and you will find that the salespeople will be more willing to help you find your dream gown.

14. Practice Good Hygiene

Be sure to shop when you are freshly showered and with clean underwear. Since some shopkeepers are concerned about their expensive gowns they have the right to refuse any prospective shopper they deem not prepared to try on gowns which other people will also wear.

No, it doesn't happen often but it may. Don't go commando, wear whatever undergarments might work best with your dream gown.

15. Be Ready To Pay

Jovani 2010 Black Floral Print Waist Cutout Gown

Once you find that dream Prom gown be ready to either pay or put down a deposit. If you feel in your heart you have found the gown of your dreams you probably have.

Some stores will let you make payments over a weekly period. Other stores will require the full amount. Be sure to ask about payment requirements when you first arrive at the stores to know your options. Some stores will accept credit cards while others will accept checks as well.

16. Know Return Policy Before You Buy

Many of the prom dress shops in Dallas that I visited will not take back dresses under any circumstances. Once you pay, all sales are final and that is it. Other stores will take back dresses if you can prove they have not been worn or altered in any way.

Some stores will not even discuss a return while others may offer an exchange or store credit.

KNOW STORE PURCHASE POLICIES BEFORE YOU BUY and save yourself some tears later.

Jovani 2010 Delicate Floral V Waist Cutout Gown


Follow the tips above to find the Prom dress of your dreams. Remember as you shop to keep in mind the theme of your school's Prom. This may or may not influence the gown you decide to buy.

- Revised Publication Date: 03/03/10

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