How I Found My Perfect Prom Dress for Under $50

Oh prom… the pinnacle event of every school year. Hours of work go into the decorations and theme, and everyone goes all out on formal wear for that one special night.

Teens on average can spend anywhere from $500 to over $1000 according to surveys conducted by Visa and Yahoo Style. That’s on everything, the dress (or tux), the shoes, the limo, the flowers, the hair and makeup, all for one night of fun and glam.

I don’t know about your family, but my parents had a different way of doing things compared to my classmates’ parents. I had a job in high school and made my own money, so it only made sense to my parents that because of that, I would pay for everything that dealt with prom. Now to some people that might seem insane, but I was okay with it because my parents made a good point. Plus, my parents had already paid for so much in my 17 years of life, I thought that it was a fair trade for me to pay for my prom expenses. However, there was no way I was going to fork out even close to $500.

The flowers were around $10 for me to get a corsage, and the entry fee and meal was around $50, so I was already sitting at $60. Not a big deal, but the place I really wanted to save was the biggest expense of all: the dress.

I knew there was no way that I was going to find anything my style for under even $200 in store, so I went online… to Amazon.

I know what you’re thinking, “That is a terrible idea.” Well yes, it can be. But I have some simple ways to avoid getting a dress that looks nothing like the picture and get your perfect prom dress on amazon.

Reviews are important.

When shopping for anything online, the number of reviews and the quality of them are important. 20 people may have reviewed the item you’re looking at with 5 stars, but if they all only wrote one vague sentence about the product, then I wouldn’t necessarily trust them. It’s honestly a toss up.

Customer images.

One of the greatest ways to figure out what you’re actually going to get is to look at the customer images provided in reviews. Think about it. People are going to post images for one of two reasons: they really like the product or they really don’t. Looking at these images will tell you a lot about the quality and overall look of what you’re buying. If I’m on amazon and the dress doesn’t have any customer images, then there’s no way I’m going to buy it.

Look at Prime eligible items.

This is good if you need your prom dress ASAP. I’ve also found that Prime eligible items are of higher quality. Even if you aren’t an Amazon Prime member, you can use this little trick to find better items from more reputable sellers with better track records.

Use synonyms when searching and search for multiple styles.

Chances are, you like a certain style of dress. For instance. I like vintage dresses that look like they came out of a time machine. When I was searching for my dress, I started out with “vintage prom dress” as my search. When I didn’t quite find what I was looking for, I experimented with the different decades. I started with the 50s all the way down to the 20s. I had probably about 20 tabs open of dresses that I liked.

Color was also important to me, and I was for sure that I wanted an emerald green prom dress. So I then searched for just “emerald green prom dress,” all while checking to see the colors that my previous vintage dresses came in. I narrowed my search finally down to around 3 dresses that I really liked.

Keep an open mind.

This is very important because my final dress that I ended up picking, was nothing like I originally wanted. I went back searching for vintage dresses with different key words when I saw it. The dress of my dreams. It was a light pink color with ornate beading. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the price was only $41.99-49.99. 

I scrolled down immediately to see the reviews, not only were there paragraphs upon paragraphs praising this dress, but pictures! And they were gorgeous photos that showed that this dress was exactly what it claimed to be. It only took me about ten minutes of deliberation between this dress and my close second choice. I chose what I called the pink Gatsby dress and checked out.

It came shortly after and I was surprised at how well it fit. By following the sizing guide and the reviews of other people, I didn’t even need to pay for alterations! It was comfortable and I got so many compliments all night. I loved the shock on people’s faces when I got to tell them, “Thank you! It was only $50!”

So yes. It is possible to find a hidden gem on Amazon for an amazing price. I highly recommend trying this if you really want to save money on your next prom.

5 thoughts on “How I Found My Perfect Prom Dress for Under $50

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