Finding the Perfect Prom Dress

With just 38 days until prom, I’m trying to not to stress out … It’s not working

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Graphic by Lakshmi Ojha

Finding the “perfect” dress for the “perfect” evening just might be impossible. And that’s ok.

Lakshmi Ojha, Staff Writer

I have an embarrassing secret to share: I have yet to find the perfect prom dress. 

It’s not entirely my fault though. Prom dress shopping, a moment I’ve fantasized about since I was  wearing cargo shorts and struggling to learn the Pythagorean theorem in 7th grade, is a nightmare.

Picture this.

At this point, skipping prom to binge watch Golden Girls reruns with your mom looks pretty good. ”

A bright Sunday afternoon at your local mall. You pull into the parking lot convinced that no one will still be shopping. Instead, every girl in a five-mile radius is rifling through the small selection of dresses. You join them with hopes of one and done, but you’re met with the dismal reality of failures that is prom dress shopping.

Sometimes the zipper snags or the train is too long and sends you diving for the dressing room floor in an instant. Or you can’t quite figure out the way the straps are supposed to go and get tangled in moments of confusion. All it takes is a bustling dress room, the same pop music blasting through the speakers above and the chatter of the girls waiting in line outside to send your whole plan crashing down.

You remember that you struck gold on similar trips and found the perfect dress on your first venture to the mall before. But soon the stress consumes you, leaving you frustrated and thinking that skipping prom to binge watch Golden Girls reruns with your mom looks pretty good. 

Hours later, you are back in the car on the way home, no longer certain that the right dress will come. But then, all of a sudden you remember. Two words, online shopping. 

How would you describe your prom dress shopping experience?

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Instantly you are furiously typing and filtering and reloading a plethora of websites to try and find that perfect dress on the vast internet. Some of the website navigation and sizing charts take a moment to adjust to but it’s pretty smooth sailing. Clicking and scrolling, you find it. 

The gem. The dress you know is the most perfect and glamorous piece of fashion that will live eternally as your prom dress. 

You order it in an instant, anxiously waiting for the fateful doorbell that could define it all.

A few days later, the dress arrives on your doorstep and the excitement resumes. You carefully unbox the shimmering fabric (alongside a cloud of glitter) and finally put the dress on. 

But it doesn’t fit right. 

Just like that the dream dress isn’t so perfectly dreamy anymore.

At this moment, which I may or may not have experienced very recently, it is easy to feel discouraged and drowning in stress. Prom is a big deal and, of course, it is fun to try to find the “perfect” look. 

With just 38 days until prom, the clock is ticking…Sorry, that was a tad too dramatic. I  try to remember  that the perfect dress is out there, and I will find it.

Or maybe I won’t. Maybe there is no ” perfect” prom dress, and that is completely okay. In fact, I try to remember that very few things are perfect. 

Like me, you may even experience the same shopping experience over and over. An endless dance back and forth for attaining a dress you will probably only ever wear once. But maybe that’s the fun of prom, the last minute scramble of stressful shopping for one of the most memorable nights in high school.