Stress, financial difficulties accompany prom dress search

By Emily Kerksiek and Marlee Crozier

With prom March 1-2, there is no time to waste for junior girls to find a special dress or dresses for prom. With high expectations, a junior girl often purchases her prom dress underneath layers of fabric and stress. With dress designs in mind, she goes shopping hoping to find the dress of her dreams.

She tries on a variety of dresses, one too big, the next the wrong style. Finally, she pulls a dress off the rack that fits all of her requirements. She tries it on and it fits perfectly. In anticipation, she turns the price tag over and with that, her dreams for this dress are shattered. Back to the racks, she goes.

Prom dresses may include layers of tulle or satin, but unseen layers include financial struggles, peer pressure, modesty concerns and finding time to go shopping.

“I am willing to go to all lengths to find a prom dress that is perfect. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m going to find a good dress that I am just in love with,” said junior Mahayala Anderson. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve got to go see the girls dressed as a princess at prom. Prom is pretty important to me, and I definitely want to stand out in my dress.”

Because of financial issues, many students begin their dress hunt early in the season. Junior Isa Wright purchased her prom dress before school began.

“We got my prom dress when we went school shopping for a great price,” Wright said. “People really underestimate the power of ‘Ross.’”

Others that struggle financially create a budget to stick to. Junior Alecia Terry knows that it is important to stick to a budget so she doesn’t place a burden on her family.

           “It’s just really stressful to find a dress, considering my family doesn’t have a lot of money, so it can be really stressful for my parents even just to find suits for my brothers,” Terry said. “It can be a lot more stressful for my parents to pay for my dress, because we don’t have a lot of money to spend. I’m hoping we can find one in our range of money. I’m going to try not to take out a loan, cause if I go into debt, I’d basically be starting out bad as an adult.”

Many students also feel the need to buy two dresses, one for each night of prom. This stress adds to many of the families’ financial burdens.

“I feel pressured to buy a dress for both nights,” Terry said. “My brothers’ girlfriends tend to buy two dresses. And I think, ‘Oh man if I don’t live up to that expectation I’m pretty sure my parents, or siblings are going to judge me.’”

NS students are often involved in time-consuming activities such as Makayla Robinson who participated in the school musical “Newsies.” Robinson struggled to schedule a time to shop for a prom dress in a store.

As an alternative, Robinson purchased her prom dress online, which is becoming a more popular option.

“I am a bigger girl, so the biggest stress was finding a prom dress that would fit,” Robinson said. “Being in the musical is stressful, but as an ensemble member, I can do a lot of online shopping. When I saw the picture of my dress, it was the feeling you get when you put on your wedding dress for the first time and it was like, ‘This is the dress.’”

Because of the culture at NS, students are often concerned about modesty. The more fabric on a dress, the more expensive the dress can become. This creates difficulty in finding a modest dress.

“I am Mormon and I have high standards for my body, so I want to be modest,” junior Anaka Black said.

While some students are worried about modesty, parents are often more concerned than the students.

“Modesty is a big deal for my family,” Terry said. “My parents are super concerned. My dad actually suggested that I wear sleeves that go all the way to my wrists and all the way up to my neck. I want to find a dress that’s modest, but I don’t want to die in the heat.”

Finding the perfect dress isn’t always the last step, it is common for girls to need to alter their dresses.

“I don’t know anyone that can alter [my prom dress]—yes I’m stressed, cause if it doesn’t fit, that sucks,” Robinson said.

Many details happen behind the prom dress buying process, but NS students are mostly looking for a dress that makes them feel happy and confident.

“I am not very comfortable in my body, so I don’t care about what others think of my dress. I just care what I think of my dress,” junior Heather Haveron said.

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