This TikTok Dad Went Prom Dress Shopping With His Daughter And They Both Lived To Laugh About It

Not only is the video hilarious, but it relatably hits on two themes that are central to nearly every prom dress debate.

<p>3bugsmom / Getty Images</p>

3bugsmom / Getty Images

Fact checked by Sarah Scott

Prom season is in full swing across the country, which means teenagers are searching high and low for the perfect outfit. But what defines perfection in this instance is subjective, with teens and parents often struggling to agree on prom dresses in particular, as demonstrated by the Ennis family of Las Vegas in a recent video posted to their popular TikTok account.

In the video, Aaron Ennis playfully tags along on a prom dress shopping excursion with his daughter Leilani, and boy, does he have a lot of opinions. That being said, all of his classic dad takes really boil down to two categories—style and price.

Directly out of the gate, Aaron informs Leilani that his first concern is to “make sure you get something with some class that ain’t showing all of your… assets. You know what I mean?”

Broaching that elephant in the room with humor works for the Ennis family, though discussions about modesty can be challenging for parents to navigate. The online discourse about the sexualization of children and retailers pushing kids to mature too quickly by presenting them with more adult fashion choices is intense. Talking about how fashion reflects your family value system without veering into body shaming is a difficult needle to thread.

But to his credit, Ennis doesn’t dwell on the subject in perpetuity, though he and his daughter continue to debate some other fine points of high style, including whether or not the sequined Tina Turner look is in and the relative merit of including giant bows on formal wear.

Those negotiations go smoothly compared to the financial considerations of dress shopping, as there’s a significant gulf between Aaron’s preferred price point of $36 and the $300 price tag on Leilani’s preferred dress.

“Three hundred dollars for a dress for one day!” Aaron whispers while trying to contain his exasperation when his daughter reveals how much the dress cost. “If I get this dress, you’re wearing this dress for the prom, Easter, going to get gas. Everywhere! If you have a job interview, you’re wearing this dress. When are you going to start working?”

Leilani takes all of her dad’s antics in stride, except when he pretends to be one of the dress mannequins. She’s quick to shoo him from the area. However, that momentary embarrassment probably serves as a dad hack to help Aaron negotiate by proving to his daughter that if they reach an impasse, he has absolutely no shame and is willing to resort to extreme measures to keep the process moving.

Commenters Approve of the Dad Jokes

A brief review of the 8000+ comments on the video shows that TikTok users find Aaron relatable and hilarious.

“Perfect example of how all dads should be…making memories,” one TikToker wrote.

“He is absolutely a cool dad. You're so lucky, and Tina Turner was absolutely the coolest. I love her so much, but back to Dad, he is awesome,” wrote another.

And while viewers are left to wonder which dress Leilani ended up with, she apparently wouldn’t be the first person to wear an expensive dress multiple times if Aaron ends up making good on his threat, as one person in the comment section claimed their dad did just that.

“I wore my $300 prom dress to my wedding 😂 my dad wasn't playing 😂😂,” the TikToker claimed.

How To Navigate the Prom Dress Debate With Your Child

As the parent of a high school senior who just attended her second prom, I empathize with both daughter and dad. From a teenager’s perspective, prom is a huge deal. For many kids, it’s an event they look forward to—and enjoy, for that matter—more than graduation. There are a flood of both internal and external expectations, from fashion to vehicles to dates to meals, that teenagers want just right for their important night.

Yet, the perspective from adulthood is that while prom feels massive at the moment, there will be more important and meaningful events in the future. While it feels like an all-in moment for teenagers, it can be challenging for parents to remember just how central the event feels through your child’s eyes.

But since this dance between parent and child regarding prom style and budget has played out millions of times over the years, we are very familiar with the conversations that must be had. It may behoove you to start those conversations far before decisions need to be made.

For example, do some online prom dress shopping sometime around the winter holiday break before prom. Talk through the cuts and seams that fit your family value system and what kind of budget your child will have to work with. That gives them time to look at dress options independently, pick up work shifts to bolster their finances, search for deals, or even make their own dress.

Setting parameters ahead of time can help defuse some of the opportunities for in-store haggling. And you can further ease dress-shopping tensions by keeping things light and using humor to put everyone at ease. You may not be able to deliver corny jokes with the same panache that Aaron Ennis exhibits. However, focusing on the fact that prom and prom preparation should be fun makes it more likely that the experience will strengthen your connection with your teenager rather than torpedo the relationship.

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