by Kaitlin Menza, Teen Vogue
No sewing skills required, we promise.
Photo: Courtesy of Macy’s
A lot of time, money, and effort goes into the prom. It’s really fun to look at dresses and hair ideas for months, narrowing down just the right look for you. Which is why it’d be a total nightmare to show up on the big night and be wearing the exact same gown as one of your classmates.
It sounds like a tough scenario to prepare for, especially if you live in a smaller town where there’s only one mall or major department store (or neither!). But there are ways to guarantee you’ll have a unique dress, and you don’t even have to be some major fashionista to pull them off. Consider the following ideas and enjoy being a prom unicorn.
Investigate on Etsy. You like Etsy for special, individually-made jewelry and décor and just about every other retail good on earth. Why not a prom dress? And of course, there’s always eBay for vintage gowns. A full retro look, with ‘40s hair and a red lip! If not at prom, then when?
Check out a bridal store. You may have heard some terrible things about bridesmaids’ dresses—or even been forced to wear one already—but not all of these gowns are created equal. The fashion panic attack typically comes from having a friend of yours choose a style and color for you (and other girls, who probably won’t match your skin tone and body type). But if you’re the one doing the picking, you can select an elegant, classic dress from whichever bridal retailer you click with. Anthropologie’s bridal line, BHLDN, makes gorgeous gowns for 'maids and wedding guests…and you, for prom!
Talk to a tailor. If you find a dress with great bones, you can make it your own with a little help from your neighborhood tailor. Get recommendations from friends or older relatives, and have a solid chat with the person. Do you want to shorten the skirt? Add some trim? Create a more flattering for your waist? A good tailor can talk out the possibilities with you, and give you what is basically your own couture dress. It’s like being a celebrity!
Look for a retailer’s special features. Listen, we’re living in the future. Crazy-genius brands are utilizing technology to make sure their customers have the best possible experience with their product. Take Australian brand Fame & Partners. They have a huge line of dresses, but they can be customized with different hems, straps, colors, sleeves, and other details, and all for a tiny fee. You can also live-chat with one of their stylists 24 hours a day to discuss your ideal silhouette and style. They even have a “Twin Alert” to let you know when someone else from your high school has purchased the same dress! No twinning for you, no sir.
Add a major accessory. Tiaras and bracelets and high heels, oh my! You might be considering all of these things already, but they don’t just have to function as extra add-ons. Something like a large, shiny, vintage brooch could totally transform the look of a dress, when attached to the neckline or at your hip. You could tie a ribbon around your waist for a super feminine take, or add a leather belt to be a little funkier.