The Prom Dress Master Guide


It’s almost time for the event that is glorified in almost every high school movie or TV series: prom night! You’re probably wondering what prom dress color should I wear? Or what type of prom dress fits my body type? How do I budget for prom? Whatever your questions are, this guide will solve your issues and make prom dress shopping so much easier and we’ve broke it down into three sections!

The prom process is like planning your wedding except a lot less stressful since all you have to do is show up and look beautiful. With that being said, the planning stage should start 4-6 months before prom (which is usually in April-May) and the most important part is setting your budget. Today you can buy, rent, or get your dress custom-made so lets go over what may be your best option.

  • Buying - The most common choice, you simply buy the dress that will be in your memories forever and you can wear it for different events (it’s okay to wear the same dress twice now) and in some instances your date might be from another school so you’ll have a dress for both proms.
  • Renting - Becoming a more popular option if you know you’ll never wear the same dress again and just want to look and feel good for one night. However there are risks to this option because usually you have to use a credit card and sign a contract to rent in case of any accidents occur (read the fine print y’all).
  • Custom-Made - If you want the dress of your dreams that no one will have you can get it made to fit perfectly with someone who specializes in couture. This is a pricey option but worth it if you want to stand out from the crowd, whatever you have in mind we can create it together.

But wait there’s more to budget than just the dress!

  • Alterations - One of the most overlooked costs is getting your dress altered to fit you perfectly. Some dress stores have this service available but if you’re ordering a dress online or they don’t offer it then you’re going to need a seamstress. Depending on where you live this can cost you anywhere from $60-300 and you do not want your dress falling apart or having complications because you wanted to save a couple of dollars. We specialize in dress alterations so if you’re in the area setup an appointment with us.
  • Shoes - Once you pick out your dress you’ll need shoes that go with it. Depending on styles and comfort this can range from $20-200 (remember, you’re not wearing those shoes for your date because he won’t notice; you’re there to stunt on those girls.)
  • Accessories/Jewelry - You’re going to need some accessories to accent your outfit and don’t forget the corsages, boutonnieres, and headpiece (optional). Jewelry can range from $0 (if you find something in your mom’s stash or have a very good friend) to $200 on average.

I have my dream outfit together now, I’m done right? Almost:

  • Make-up & Hair - Remember this is one of the few nights where you can feel like a princess so don’t forget about your face. This can range from $40-150 depending if you’re getting a freelancer or are going to a salon. But if you’ve been on YouTube binging those makeup tutorials you can do it yourself if you’re confident enough.
  • Prom Tickets - You need to get into the event and this can range from $20-150 per person depending on what school you go to and where they decide to host it.
  • Photography - It’s common that the school will hire a photographer for the event and you can expect to pay anywhere from $20-100 depending on their price sheet. You want to remember this night forever. 
  • Limousine (Optional) - If you really wanna splurge with your friends you can split the cost to arrive with style. $200-500

Depending on how good you are at budgeting and how extravagant you want to feel on average prom night can cost anywhere from $225 to $1640.

So once you finally know how much you have to spend let’s now go over how to say yes to the dress. Not all styles fits all and with so many options it can be very overwhelming and time-consuming to figure out what type of dress suits your body type and if you’re unsure on how to figure out those details we’ve made it super easy:

Straight/Rectangle - The most common body type for american women. Because you’re very balanced overall you want to add volume to the bottom and tighten around the waist to create some curves. Characteristics of this body type:

  • Undefined waist
  • Balanced bust and hips
  • Well aligned shoulder and hips
  • Not many curves

The dress type for you:

  • A-Line
  • Empire
  • Ball Gown

Apple/Oval - The key for this body type is to draw less attention to your mid-section by adding volume to your lower body and making sure the top tapers your upper body while creating a more defined waist. You have this body type if:

  • Bust is larger than your hips and waist is well defined.
  • Fullness around the middle.
  • Rounder shoulder line

The dress type for you:

  • A-Line
  • Ball Gown
  • Empire

Avoid:

  • Halter
  • Heavily decorated
  • Off-the-shoulder

Triangle/Pear - Your best asset is your waist so the key to dressing with this body type is to simply add volume to your upper body to create balance and get that hourglass look. You have this body type if:

  • Hips are larger than your bust
  • Nicely defined waist
  • Shoulders are narrower than your hips
  • Small top half and a small bust

The dress type for you:

  • A-Line
  • Ball Gown
  • Empire

Avoid:

  • Thin straps
  • Pleated or gathered fabric at the hips
  • Dropped waistlines or dropped panels

Inverted Triangle/Athletic - The key to dressing with this body type is to balance your broader shoulders by drawing attention to your waist and adding volume to your lower body to create that hourglass silhouette. Characteristics of this body type:

  • Proportionally larger upper body
  • Straight and squared shoulder line
  • Shoulders are wider than your hips
  • Proportionally large bust

The dress type for you:

  • A-Line
  • Ball Gown
  • Empire

Avoid:

  • Thin straps
  • Short and puffed sleeves
  • Pencil bottom dresses

Diamond - The key to this body type is to create a tighter waist, add volume to your shoulders in proportion to your hips. Characteristics of this body type:

  • Hips are broader than bust and shoulders
  • Your waist is undefined and the widest part of your frame
  • Medium to small bust

The dress type for you:

  • Empire
  • Sheath

Avoid: 

  • Thin straps
  • Dresses with waist detailing
  • Halter

Hourglass - Go thank your mom right now, you have the Coca-Cola bottle shape that most women want:

  • Defined and balanced bust and waist
  • Neatly rounded shoulds that align with your hips
  • Curves for days

The dress type for you:

  • Mermaid
  • Trumpet
  • A-Line
  • Sheath

Avoid:

  • Any styles and shapes that hide your body type
  • Heavily beaded dresses
  • Super tight pieces


For a more detailed guide on how to dress for your body type: Use this Guide

And for dress by body type inspiration follow our Pinterest boards.

What Color Should My Dress Be?


There are many factors that go into choosing the color of your prom dress: your skin tone, school colors, the prom’s theme, personal taste, and the list goes on but we’re gonna break it down for you and make choosing the color of your dress simple!

What are my undertones and what colors go with it?

Undertones fall under three categories: warm, cool, neutral.

  • Warm: if your face is yellowish, if when you’re exposed to the sun out too long you tan, or if you look at your veins and they produce a greenish color. Your best colors are going to be: Light Orange, Peach, Yellow, Orange, Gold, Rust, Scarlet Red, Brown, and Ivory.
  • Cool: if your face is reddish, if when you’re exposed to the sun too long you burn, or if your vein colors look blue or deep purple. Your best colors are: Maroon, Magenta, Violet, Purple, Orchid Pink, Light Pink, Baby Blue, Royal Blue, and Navy.
  • Neutral: you fall under this category if there are no obvious signs of red or yellow hue skin. If you are completely unsure if you’re cool or warm you’re most likely neutral. Your best colors are: Light Peach, Dusty Pinks, Soft Rose, Placid Blue, Jade Green, Cameo Green.

School Colors & Prom Theme:

Every school has their own sets of colors and the theme can really influence your decision on what color your prom dress should be. If your school’s colors are purple and yellow and your rival school’s are light blue and yellow then you definitely don’t want to buy a baby blue dress with gold trimming, you will get some mean looks.


I went to both Junior and Senior prom and the themes were casino night and Wizard of Oz so you want to pick a dress that also fit that compliments the theme. For example: you’ll want a really elegant and slightly conservative dress with darker tones like if you were in a James Bond film for Casino Night and a more vibrant colored dress with lace details for a fantasy setting like the Wizard of Oz. This of course is very subjective because each school has their own colors and prom theme.

PANTONE Color of the Year:

A huge influencer in fashion/beauty/product/graphic design applications is PANTONE’s color of the year; this year it is Greenery PANTONE 15-0343. Below are the shades that compliment Greenery and should help you narrow down the color of your dress.


For more details on check out their official guide.

Personal Taste:

By this point you finally have a narrowed down consideration list (hopefully a top 3) and the last deciding factor should be your intuition. You know what you love you know what you hate, do you love blush everything sparkly and are obsessed with Starbucks? Then get that dress that fits that personality and speaks volumes of who you are. Do you love everything black as your soul, are against the status-quo but deep down still want to feel like a princess for a night? Then get that dress that says I am who I am society will have to deal with it. 

At the end of the day you’re going to look glamorous no matter what and this is one of the few occasions in a girl’s life where you can feel like a princess so go all out! If you’re in the area we can help you pick out the perfect dress or if you want to create a beautiful piece you’ll cherish forever then set up an appointment with us today! For more inspiration follow us on Pinterest!

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