Prom only comes around once. Twice if you’re very lucky. Your prom dress is a chance for you to experience your own Cinderella moment and say yes to the dress. Finding the perfect prom dress isn’t easy. You want one that makes you feel like a million dollars. Your prom photos are something you’ll hold onto for the rest of your life. It’s not just for an Instagram photo.

That’s why we’re here to help. This article rounds up 8 of our top tips for finding the perfect prom dress. Whether it’s your own big day or you’re going as someone’s plus one, this guide will make your prom dress shopping as stress-free as possible. Open your Pinterest board, and let’s get shopping.

1. Be Open-minded

It’s easy to go into your shopping experience with one specific dress in mind. You may have always wanted a Barbie pink dress or a Versace-inspired silhouette. If your heart is set on only one style, you could end up missing a hidden gem.

Be as open-minded as possible, and don’t filter your search by too many factors. Writes a list of a few things you’re looking for – colors, silhouettes, and styles – but stay open-minded.

2. Experiment with Color

You want to stand out from the crowd with your prom dress. It’s time to experiment with color. Do you have a signature color? Whether you’re known for your love of pink or feel attracted to every shade of blue, don’t be afraid of color. Adding a pop of color can help you take a simplistic silhouette to the next level.

3. Stick to Your Budget

While prom may be the most exciting date in your social calendar, it’s not worth going over your budget for. Before you start shopping, choose a budget, and start looking towards the middle of your range. Don't set yourself up for disappointment by trying on dresses outside of your budget. It may be tempting to try on that pricey designer gown you saw in a magazine, but there's a real possibility that you will end up falling hopelessly in love with something you can't afford. Instead, we recommend using magazines to create a vision of the style, cut, and color you would like in a dress, and then using that inspiration to find something similar that falls within your budget. 

Your prom night can be expensive and spending all your budget on your prom dress can leave you short for other things like accessories, a limousine, or professional makeup.

4. Don’t Forget Accessories

With the right accessories, you can instantly elevate any dress. You can always buy your accessories before or after dress shopping. When shopping for either, keep the other in mind. Your accessories shouldn’t overpower your prom dress. You want them to complement the style of your dress and add a sprinkling of your personality. Accessories are a way of letting you make your prom dress your own.

5. You Can Go outside the Box

Are traditional prom dresses not your thing? A prom dress is no longer just a full-length evening dress. You can think outside the box and try a quirky jumpsuit or a sparkly cocktail dress. Your prom dress should reflect your personality – not what you think a prom dress should look like.

6. Consider Your Body Type

Don’t overlook your body type when shopping for your prom dress. You want to find a dress that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Start by looking at the dress styles that you typically wear. Your prom dress should accentuate your curves and natural figure, helping you feel like the best version of yourself.

7. Think about Wearability

You don’t want to buy a prom dress that will sit and gather dust in your closet. Look out for a prom dress that you can re-wear again in the future. Consider whether you have a graduation, special event, or wedding coming up where you can re-wear your prom dress. The right accessories can help you turn your prom dress into a closet staple that is your signature for every big occasion.

8. Plan Ahead

Don’t leave your prom dress shopping to the last minute. The worst thing you can do is to leave it to the final weeks before your prom. You’ll become so stressed and flustered that you end up hitting ‘add to cart’ on the first dress that you see. The best time to start shopping for prom dresses is in January and February (assuming your prom is in summer of the same year). This is just after the new prom dress collections have been released for the year. By shopping in January, you’ll see the most dresses possible, before any styles get sold out.

Start window shopping as soon as you have your prom date. Shopping for your prom dress is an exciting experience and one that you want to enjoy almost as much as the big day itself.

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