What’s one of the “worst” things you can imagine happening at prom? Spilling red sports drink on your white tux? Breaking a heel? Finding out that you had broccoli in your teeth the whole time during pictures?
A Tale of Two (or Three, or Four, or … ) Dresses
Warning: If you live in the kind of town that only has one or two sources for prom dresses, do not buy your dress there unless it is a boutique that will warn you if it has knowingly sold your dress to another prom-goer. This isn’t random advice. Back in the day, one happy prom guest spent hours at the only mall within an hour of her home and gleamingly left with a flattering full-length black velvet sheath with white lace embellishment at the top. It looked great, felt great and was just expensive enough to stretch the budget and feel luxurious, but not so expensive that it would break the bank.
It was the perfect prom dress.
And she wasn’t the only one who thought so … as evidenced by the EIGHT other girls wearing the Exact. Same. Dress.
No joke. A minimum of nine (that the writer can remember, at least) other girls wore the same dress in the same color to the same prom. It was briefly mortifying, but ultimately didn’t make even a tiny impact on the amount of fun each of the nine girls had. The dress was just icing on the cake. But, it would have been nice to prevent the situation.
Ask Your Salesperson
The moral of this story is that, well, that if you live in such a small town and don’t want to look like something out of a bad prom clone movie, ask your salesperson if they limit the number of unique dresses or have sold many of your top choices for the same prom. OR, avail yourself of a dress from a reputable online source. You’re far less likely to have chosen the same dress when you increase the pool of options dramatically.
What should you do if you show up to prom and find, to your horror, that half the school had the same idea as you? First, don’t panic. Getting upset, crying, shutting down emotionally, turning defensive, aggressive, weird or whiny will only completely ruin your prom experience. You’ll be sitting at your 25-year reunion alone while others occasionally stop by and ask you, “Weren’t you the girl who got so upset about your dress at prom?” There are no do-overs for your teen years, but you will have plenty of opportunities to dress up and look amazing. So, don’t sweat it.
Second, take advantage of the photo opportunity. Get together and do a proper pose – you know you’ll make it into the yearbook, and maybe even go viral!
Lastly, remember that it didn’t just happen to you. You are literally not alone. Clearly you’re in a lot of good company, so pat yourself on the back for choosing something so many folks loved and focus on having an amazing time. The experience will definitely make you laugh given enough time, and you’ll have something to tell you own kids and grandkids someday!