By Kristina Ching
As a 5’-nothing girl with a chest flatter than some 10 year olds, and shoulders and arms that usually force me to wear tee-shirts from the guys’ section, I haven’t had the best experiences looking for formal dresses.
Windsor is the stereotypical prom go-to. With racks and racks of tulle, taffeta, satin, and chiffon spilling onto the floor, endless rows of dressing rooms, and pictures of models looking like real-life princesses plastering their website, it’s only fitting that it’d be where thousands of girls go for their prom dress.
But there’s a catch. Windsor is great for having options… if you’re a standard size. Granted, there is a bit of wiggle room, and I definitely won’t deny their size inclusivity, but for me, personally, and many other wannabe prom princesses, the length, fit, and cut of those dresses just won’t cut it.
If you’re looking for stand out alternatives to that one dress you’ll see three girls wearing in three different colors, look no more further. Through my extensive research and hours scouring the depths of the web for the perfect dress, I have compiled a comprehensive guide to finding fantastic fits that won’t break the bank. All of your prom wishes have been answered. You’re now free to sashay away from the stresses of finding your perfect dress. Good luck, and I can’t wait to see your looks under the lights.
Hack: Prom dresses and bridesmaid dresses can be shockingly similar. Etsy.com is like the Amazon of handmade and vintage, and there’s a bevy of boutiques just waiting to custom-make your perfect dress. Etsy can help you out in a couple ways. There’s shops that sell pretty generic dresses in your normal range of sizing, but the trick is to find the ones that do custom orders. Pick a dress, pick your fabric, get measured, send off your order, and wait in anticipation on your doorstep for your dress to arrive. There’s even seamstresses who you can send a picture of your favorite celebrity in a dress and they can do their best to recreate it. This kind of shopping only works when you’re savvy so make sure the shop you’re ordering from is reliable; check reviews, store ratings, how many sales they’ve made, make sure the pictures are legit.
Hack: If you’re looking for something less-traditional or something that will be more suited to your own personal style, look no further than Modcloth. Their vintage and indie inspired clothing—especially their dresses—are sure to make you a standout in any lineup, including your prom pictures. Modcloth offers a wide variety of dresses: from simple, to retro, to elaborate—all within a wide price range as well, with options for most budgets. Modcloth is a reputable online retailer, with their headquarters in San Francisco. They also boast a fairly flexible return/exchange policy, with options varying based on need.
Hack: If you appreciate the lace, classic full skirts, and daring slits of Windsor, but want a dress no one else will have, check out fast-fashion retailer ASOS. They offer a massive collection of styles for any prom princess. Two pieces, classic tulle skirts, mermaid gowns, sparkles, sequins, edgy additions, ASOS has it all. Similar to Modcloth, prices range from significantly under $100 to fancier dresses that’ll set you back a few hundred dollars. ASOS also could be your one-stop-shop for your entire prom night. With their selection of heels, accessories and even makeup, you can complete your entire look with just one trip to their website. Their return policy is easy and pain-free too—your dress can be returned for a full refund if it doesn’t work out.