Finding the Perfect Prom Dress | Prom 2015 Series


The year 12 ball is something that I've been counting down the days till basically since I started high school. I remember seeing my sister all dressed up for her year 12 ball and feeling so unbelievably excited to have mine in 5 years time. It's so weird to think that those 5 years have completely zoomed past and now here I am, planning my ball which will be happening in less than 2 months.

Finding the perfect ball gown was something that I put so much stress into when I thought about it. I stressed about whether I would be able to even find a dress that looked good on me, I stressed about the cost of the dresses available and I stressed about walking into my school ball and seeing someone with the same dress as me (seriously I devised a flawless emergency exit plan for if this happens). Let me start off by saying that I ended up finding my dream dress for a grand total of $5 (there will be a whole post on my ball outfit after the event!) when I least expected it. So first of all, try your best not to stress about this all, things have a way of working out.

Prom dresses vary greatly in terms of pricing depending on where you get your dress from. I think it's important to set a maximum amount that you are comfortable with paying for a ball gown so that you don't find yourself over spending on a gown and feeling guilty about it afterwards. I personally see a ball gown as something that you can definitely invest in because it is such a big milestone in you schooling life, I mean, if we had to go through 5 years of hell to get here then heck, spend what you're willing to spend to make you happy. For me however, I knew I would feel guilty if I spent a lot of money on my gown and that it wouldn't make me happy in the long run. So I set myself a budget of $300 maximum for my ball gown. As mentioned previously, I didn't even go near that price mark for my dress but it made it a lot less stressful to shop knowing that I had a clear idea of what I was willing to spend. 

The Dress
There are so many options out there for ball dresses that it can get very overwhelming and it can be hard to even find a starting point. For me, I made a pinterest board around a year ago and started pinning photos of any dresses that I saw that appealed to me, even if I only like a certain thing about it like the neck line or the sleeve, I would pin it. This helped me because at least then, you start understanding what things you like in a dress and what you want for your own ball dress. This is also great for if you're planning on designing your own dress to get made as you can essentially take elements from different dresses to create your perfect dress. I think it's also important to try on some prom dresses in person. Try on different styles of dresses to see what shape you think is most flattering on you and you can also start getting an idea of what colour/s you'd like to see in your ideal gown. Remember it is just as important to find a dress you feel comfortable in as it is finding a dress you think is visually appealing.
In terms of actually shopping for the perfect dress, there are a few options. You can get it made by a tailor, you can buy it in store or you can buy it online. If you are shopping in store, bring some friends along or your parents so they can help you, shopping alone for a ball dress is not fun and I see it as something that adds to the whole experience of the ball itself. I personally thought that most of the ball dress shops around me were a little too expensive for the budget that I had set for myself, however I did end up buying my ball gown from a darling little vintage store in Northbridge called Oh Henry Vintage. They had a two day sale and everything went down to $5 in the final hour so I managed to scoop up the dress that I had my heart set on for months before. So if you don't mind having a second hand dress then make sure you check out vintage shops around you because you might find some little treasures, and it also means that you don't have to worry about wearing the same dress as another person! Shopping online is very affordable however keep in mind that the dresses may not look accurate when they arrive and more often than not, you'll have to get it altered to fit you perfectly. In terms of getting your ball dress made by a tailor, make sure you communicate your thoughts and opinions throughout the entire process, it's important that the tailor knows what you want exactly so that they can try to achieve it to the best of their ability. Getting a dress made is also a great option if you have your heart set on a dress but the price tag on it is a little steep, my sister got her ball gown made to imitate another dress she had seen in store for $800 and she ended up only paying $400 to get it made. 

Getting your dress altered is an optional thing however it can make a world of difference in how a dress looks. I bought my dress with the intention of altering it as it was quite big on me and the style wasn't exactly what I wanted. In Australia, getting a ball dress altered can cost anywhere between $50 to $200 depending on how much work has to be put in. I got my ball dress altered in Bali when I was there on holiday in December so I did manage to save a lot of money that way as alterations are a lot cheaper there. I got my dress altered for $30 and I was over the moon with the way it turned out. If you are getting your dress altered, it's important to vocalize your opinions every step of the way to ensure that the end result is what you want. Don't be afraid to be a little nit picky about certain things, you have every right to be! 

So I think that is all I have to say in terms of advice on finding your perfect ball dress. Good luck in your adventures and I will be back soon with the second installment of my prom 2015 series!


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  1. Almost about to start that dress hunt myself and these are such great tips :)

    1. oh yay im so happy this was helpful! good luck on the hunt for that perfect dress - im sure you'll look fabulous in everything! xxx