Thousands of homecoming and prom stories shared and questions aswered since 2005.
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Very few of us are equipped to spend five hundred clams on a dress that we'll only wear once (maybe twice). Your prom is a very special night but you have to be realistic and consider all the angles. If you are anticipating a manicure/pedicure, a hair stylist, an awesome pair of open-toed sling backs, or even a stretch limo, then it's time to consider where the financial breaks are going to have to come in. If you are like most of us then you are on a given budget or you've been saving your own money (from your part-time job) to make sure everything goes as planned. This usually means that you have to pull some strings and play the “give and take” game to accommodate everything you have planned for prom. No worried though. When it comes down to it you have a little wiggle room on some purchases. Your prom dress is one of those items that can be adjusted to accommodate your less than perfect budget restraints. Let's put our heads together and see what we can come up with.
First and foremost, every girl on a prom-budget should do a bit of research to find local exchange programs. In less than ten minutes I have found an enormous amount of dedicated websites, contacts, and information regarding nationwide Prom Dress Exchange programs (and this excluded specific state/city searches). Girls from every city and state come together to sell/trade/give-away their once-worn prom attire at exchange events such as these. Check with your local boutiques (and even libraries) to find information on exchange events in your area. These events are everywhere, in every state, and almost every city and if there is not an exchange in your specific town you are almost guaranteed to find one close by. The Glass Slipper Project is an awesome Chicago based organization that has expanded nationally and already extended to 17 other cities; they work with boutiques to donate free dream-dresses upon request. Prom Dress Exchange programs are ever-expanding and it is very likely that a program is available in your area so take advantage it.
Keep an eye on sites such as Formal Xchange. This type of online venue offers girls a fee-free opportunity to buy/sell/exchange/trade prom dresses in a secure environment. At Formal Xchange there are hundreds of girls that are offering their once-used prom dresses for no charge at all; as long as the 'purchaser' pays for shipping costs most dresses can be acquired for free. There are tons of websites just like this one that connect girls who want to sell/exchange their dresses with other girls wanting to get a great deal on a dress. Also, check out networks such as Freecycle and Throwplace. These email-based forums are a great place to search for free attire in your area. Communities like these offer fee-free services for all types of exchange.
Don't forget to browse some of your favorite sites for clearance/sale pages. You may be surprised to find that most websites offer dresses for less than fifty dollars. It's true! Sites like Prom Girl have pages dedicated to dresses (beautiful dresses) that are fifty dollars or less. Don't limit your search to “prom-labeled” dresses only-this can hinder you from finding your perfect deal; Companies like Forever 21, Ruche, (and stores such as…) JCPenny, and Macy's have gorgeous prom-appropriate dresses from 15$ to 30$. With so many great alternatives you'll find your perfect prom match in no time.