Getting Your Prom Fit on a Budget

How to afford your dream dress.


Amber Fretwell, Columnist

Prom is just around the corner and all the money you’ve been saving can easily be spent on just two things: a dress or suit, and a ticket. But finding an outfit to wear to prom that you love, is affordable, and is able to last the whole night is quite hard, especially when you are on a budget.

There are multiple stores and websites where you can buy cheap and gorgeous prom dresses, such as Windsor (in the clearance section), Macy’s, PromGirl, and many more. Although there are more expensive dresses in Windsor, there is still a wide selection of dresses that are cute and inexpensive. Macy’s also offers a wide selection of dresses that are all around the same price range of $80-$230, but since they started closing stores at the beginning of this year, prices have been dropping. Otherwise, online is your best bet. The only downside with buying online is that you can’t try it on, leaving the fit and and look up to chance, unless you have tried it on in the store and know exactly what will be coming. PromGirl is an online store where you can buy affordable and gorgeous gowns. Finding the perfect dress for prom can be a struggle, especially since you may be on a budget, or are trying to find “that one dress,” but there are a handful of stores and online websites you can buy affordable and beautiful dresses from. Also be sure to check out secondhand stores, in person or online, for good deals on your favorite brands. Poshmark is an especially good option if you are in search for high quality garments with a slashed price.

Now, suits are a whole different item to shop for. Buying a suit online is just as hard as buying a dress, because you need the exact fit on the suit. There are also options that guys should look into when in need of slacks, a button-down, or a full suit. You can buy dress slacks from most department stores, like Kohls, Macy’s, Old Navy, Men’s Wearhouse, and others. A button-up shirt and a tie or bowtie will most likely be offered at the same stores that offer slacks. Blazers can also be bought at these stores, since they are all formal attire that go together. Another option is buying online, especially since a website might offer different sales or may put items on clearance online that aren’t in-store. There are a variety of websites that sell ties with an even greater variety of patterns, all one google away. Although most people may buy a pair of slacks and button-down shirt that they may reuse, other people prefer to go the other route of renting a suit. Renting is an affordable way to look nice. The only downfall to renting is there may be a fee if you ruin the suit, whether that means tearing the fabric, getting a stain on it, or any other form of damage. So, when you rent, you have to be extra careful to make sure that the outfit is untarnished.

After you have danced the night away, you probably are thinking to yourself, “When will I ever wear this again?” and you probably realize that you won’t really ever wear that dress or suit again unless you are attending another school’s dance or maybe a wedding. There are a couple options for getting rid of your outfit. For dresses, you can either sell it online (i.e. Poshmark) or to a family member or a friend. This is a great way to get rid of your dress, make a little bit of extra cash, and give a dress to a friend who may not be able to afford a dress that is full price. Another option for dresses is a donation to the Cinderella Affair, which is a non-profit organization where dresses are given to girls who can’t afford one themselves.

For guys, if they rent the suit, then they can just return the outfit and pay the fees. Guys are also able to sell their clothing to their friends, which is beneficial for them and whoever is buying the outfit. If you’d like to donate the suit, Men’s Wearhouse holds suit drives, so you can give back to someone who needs a suit.

If you need an outfit for prom, keep an open mind and do the research to get a good deal. Afterwards, take the time to see what you can do with the outfit, whether you can sell it or you can donate it to someone who would like to dress nice for a fun night.