Attending your prom is an exciting experience, but getting ready for it can be stressful. If you’re worried about being able to afford a prom dress, there are several places to find cheap or even free dresses in the Dallas area. You'll be able to look your best and save money on your big day.
The Prom Shop Project, which started in 2001, invites junior and senior students to attend giveaway events at various Dallas stores each spring. You can receive a free dress only if you participate in the free or reduced lunch program at your school. You’ll need to register online ahead of time in order to attend the event. A parent or guardian can accompany you but will not be able to help you find a dress. Bring a photocopy of your student ID and lunch program documentation. Click for registration http://www.promshopproject.com/shop.html, or call (214) 718-1605 for details.
If you’re a junior or senior in the Dallas Independent School District, you could also be eligible to attend the annual BuzzFree Promises Dress Giveaway. This spring event, which began in 2001, rewards students who have pledged to remain drug- and alcohol-free. You’ll be asked to write an essay on this topic and fill out a registration form at your school. A counselor or other school contact must nominate you in order for you to attend the event. You must maintain at least a C average and have good citizenship and attendance records. For information, call (214) 522-8600, ext. 228.
Vintage Stores and Consignment Shops
If you’re not concerned with having a brand-new dress, you can find good deals on gently used clothing at your local vintage stores and consignment shops. Both places contain previously owned or worn dresses at prices considerably lower than the latest department store styles. If you’re looking for a finely detailed dress or an unusual style that hasn’t been around in years, check vintage stores in your area. If you’re looking for something more modern, consignment shops carry more up-to-date styles. Look dresses over thoroughly for flaws before buying. Keep in mind that you might pay more for a vintage dress in mint condition than you would for a slightly worn consignment store find.
Clearance Sales and Outlet Stores
Keep an eye out for clearance sales at department stores in your area. The best times to check are when stores are getting rid of the current season’s dresses to make room for the next season’s line. Since prom season is in spring, plan far ahead and watch for sales in the late spring or early summer before your prom.
Department stores also send marked-down merchandise, including formal wear, over to their outlet stores. You might find good bargains at these places if you take time to dig through the racks.
Instead of buying a dress, you might be able to rent one. Check with local bridal and formal wear shops in your area to see if they offer this service. Keep in mind that you could be held responsible for the cost of cleaning or repair if the dress is soiled or damaged.