Prom is likely to be one of the biggest formal events in your daughter’s young life, and as you know, it’s all about the dress. Everything else — from hair to her shoes to her makeup and the venue and even her date — is secondary.
Choosing a prom dress can be an equally exciting and exhausting ordeal. At any age, we have insecurities about our bodies, but perhaps never more so than when we are teenagers. And you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’d disagree that girls have it worse than boys. So, if you have a girl who’s attending prom, and you want to make the dress selecting process as pleasant as possible, read on. We’ve got some fool-proof (and teenager approved) tips.
Guide, Don’t Tell
Even though our brains aren’t actually done maturing until we are well into our 20s, teenagers often feel that they are adults, so try to afford them the same respect you’d show another adult while also understanding that they are not grown up. Don’t tell them what to wear, and certainly don’t criticise their choice of dress. Unless the dress is totally inappropriate and goes against school dress codes, you should have nothing negative to say.
If asked for your opinion, don’t just give it wantonly: remember your teenager is still your child, and even if they don’t show it often, they seek your approval on some level. When asked what you think, find one positive thing you can say about the dress (even if you hate it) and then ask what they think. This way, if they love it, you won’t have torched their self-confidence, and if they don’t like it, you can suss out why and help them find a better selection.
Facilitate Happy Shopping
Make an event of shopping for your child’s prom dress: never make it a chore. This said, your daughter may want to go shopping with her friends, and not you. Don’t take offense to this: it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. Teenagers often go around the dark side of the moon, but they do return to you, eventually. Be supportive of your daughter’s shopping plans, and let her know that you are 100% there for her if she needs you to take her (and her friends) anywhere.
Eyes on the Wallet
Most teenagers have learned that money doesn’t grow on trees, so don’t baby them with it comes to your budget. Unless they are buying their own dress with their own money, you have every right to set out the budget from the beginning. In fact, it’s imperative you let them know what the budget is so that they don’t fall in love with a dress you can’t afford.
If budget is a serious concern — or if practicality is simply of utmost importance — consider renting a designer dress for prom. Your daughter will be able to choose from thousands of brand name dresses from top designers that would usually cost more than your mortgage, and she can wear them for a fraction of the price. Not only do you save serious money, but you’re not stuck with a dress that will hang in the back of your kid’s closet long after she’s got kids of her own.
Other perks of renting? You’ll get the dress in plenty of time for prom, companies often offer complimentary dry cleaning (so you don’t have to worry about it after the event), and the best boutiques will throw in up accident insurance, so minor rips or tears are no cause for concern. Oh, and best of all, you can rent formal dresses online, and have them shipped to you and returned for free.
Helping your daughter choose a prom dress is really all about remembering that this is her night: not yours. You are there to guide her, but not to relive the experience yourself. Stick to these tips, and you’ll be a part of one of the biggest nights in her life, one way or another.