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9 Things To Remember Before Last-Minute Prom Dress Shopping

It's just a dress. Chill.

It could be the best of times, it could be the worst of times, but it seems like you can't go to prom without going shopping first. Dress shopping should be fun, but when you combine it with too much ice coffee, pressure and fluorescent department store lighting, it can be way more than a headache.

Take a deep breathe and relax. It's totally possible to avoid all mall meltdowns while finding a great dress at the last minute. The following tips will keep you from turning into a promzilla throughout this delicate process. Here's what you need to keep in mind.

  1. Eat something!

    Shopping while hangry is like operating heavy machinery on cold medicine — dangerous for everyone involved, so don't do it. Having a good breakfast in your stomach is as important as having money in your purse. Trying to out-shop your hunger will never end well.

  2. Always be kind to the salesperson

    It's not that they'll probably have better advice than anyone else you're with. It's not that they're just doing their job. It's all those things and the fact that you're going to have to work in either retail and customer service at some point (if you aren't already) to save money for college. Being nice despite your dress shopping stress is good karma and will make everyone's day run smoother.

  3. Size doesn't matter

    Resist the urge to obsess over whether there's a S, M, or L on the label and focus on finding a dress that fits well. It's so easy to get caught up in our own insecurities and forget that all or our bodies are awesome. Don't let a tiny little tag get in your head. It's only a letter.

  4. You have to feel good to look good

    No matter how great a dress is, it can't make you look comfortable unless you actually are comfortable. If confidence is the best accessory, then having an uncomfortable dress makes this impossible. It might be hard to find a comfortable formal dress, but it's a lot harder to have confidence when you're longing for sweatpants.

  5. It's okay to go with your mom

    Shopping with your friends can be great, but for prom, odds are they're thinking more about themselves. Your mom knows you the best and isn't there for anyone but you. Unless she's overly critical when it comes to clothing, she'll be a great source of moral (and sometimes financial) support when shopping. And let's face it, she has probably been begging you to include her all along.

  6. Expensive doesn't always equal awesome

    No one needs to know how much you or anyone else spent on their dress. If you are shopping on an unlimited budget recognize that is not the norm, and if you brag about it you'll look bad no matter what you're wearing.

  7. Second hand can be as good (if not better)

    Don't let a tight budget discourage you. As long as you can afford a ticket to prom, there are always options. Whether it's a thrift store, consignment shop or a hand-me-down, you never really need a new dress to go to prom. Going the more affordable route might also give you more unique and vintage choices that set you apart from your peers. At the very least, you wont have to worry about anyone having the same dress.

  8. It's not a competition

    Someone else looking bad wont make you look good, and someone looking good wont make you look bad. Don't let how fierce your friend looks in a dress stir up your competitive jealousy, because it doesn't take away from your ability to do the same. It does take away from your ability to be a good friend, though.

  9. You probably won't wear it again

    You've heard it from everyone who's gone to homecoming before you and yet it's the first thing you'll forget in the dressing room — you wont have many occasions to wear this dress again. While that might be what makes it so special, it should never be more important than the memories with your friends at prom. After high school, they will mean way more than any clothes hanging in the back of your childhood closet.