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You could even try your luck at buying a dress online. You can find good deals on sites like eBay, but if the dress doesn't fit, you are out of luck.
Look into whether your local school or church has a dress swap. Ask your older cousins, sisters, or friends. Since many fancy dresses are only worn once, they make great hand-me-downs.
In addition, you can check your local garment district (L.A. has one downtown), thrift stores, consignment stores and the local newspapers - and stores selling quinceniera dresses (a 15th birthday party in some cultures).
By Lydia in CA
By the OracleFreel free to post your ideas below.
To get a good deal when looking for your prom dress, go further afield than your local mall! Go to Resale shops where they have designer dresses for a lot less. Or look for something vintage. If you have a nice dress, you could even resell it, bringing down your costs even further in the long run.
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"I want to go to prom but I can't afford a dress!" Helpful hints from the ThriftyFun community. If you have advice on frugal ways to get a prom dress, please post them below.
Note: Please do not post requests for buying or selling specific dresses here. Ebay, craigslist and freecycle are good sites in which to post that information.
Have you tried freecycle? It's a free site where people give things away they no longer need or want or they request items. Type in freecycle on your computer and see what comes up. There may be a site near you. I hope this helps. Good luck and believe...it will happen.
One of the best places to look, besides want adds, would be thrift stores like Salvation Army or Goodwill. Not everything they get is in the best quality, but if you look around, and keep checking back, often times people will donate things that just don't wear anymore.
Ugly bows on the shoulder or sleeves leave something to be desired? Snip it off from just below the shoulders, hem it a bit, and wear it as a strapless :p
Ebay also has some beautiful dresses at very inexpensive prices. You can even go to the department stores and try on different brands to see what size you need in a specific brand, then search ebay by brand and size. Or just browse by size on ebay!
Check on Ebay,my Sister got a couple of Bride's maid dresses that had actually been Prom dresses for only 97 cents each!!!!! If we knew your size,the style you are looking for,and your favorite color would help people reading this too.
our local dry cleaners does a service for this, people donate the dresses, and the cleaners have a thing for girls who sign up to choose one. Check with South Bend Indiana Zykers cleaners and see if they can maybe persuade a cleaner in your area to do the same? They get publicity on TV and help kids who dont have the money to buy a new dress.
You could also try places that rent Tuxedo's and stuff for weddings, or Halloween rentals may have some gowns that aren't related at all to Halloween.
Check on Freecycle.org for the Freecycle group in your area and post your request there.
For economy you might think about a gown that is shorter - like the one Helen Mirren wore at the Oscars & show off your legs! It has the advantage of probably being a dress you could wear again sometime...Some here mentioned the 15dollar clothing site online & I looked & they had nice short formal dresses for $15 - so you could then focus on your hair and accessories - borrowing from your elders - an evening purse, a wrap & getting Payless shoes that look like designer ones -Luckily vintage is in style -so if your grandmother has rhinestones in her jewelry box, bring them out.
if you know any one who sews it is very inexpensive to make one, you can find patterns at wal-mart or any where fabric is sold, I am trying to start a business making wedding gowns and prom/bridesmaid dresses, home made is better anyway because it is a custom fit to your measurements. email me if ican help you in anyway jencastell @ mail.com
Tips for saving money on prom dresses. Post your ideas!
I recently found formal gowns on sale at Hechts for as low as $11.00, yes $11! They are beautiful and if you have an event coming or even a prom next year, you should check it out. These gowns had been in the $240 range, so now they are an absolute steal!
Samantha in NC
WOW !!! THAT WAS A GREAT DEAL !!! I THOUGHT I DID GOOD, ON JULY 30 I BOUGHT A $150.00 PINK PROM GOWN FOR $12.72 INCLUDING TAX. I WAS SO EXCITED ! AND SO WAS MY DAUGHTER, THAT IS GOING TO HER JR. PROM IN NOVEMBER. I BOUGHT THAT AT JC PENNEY'S !! AMY FROM NEW YORK
Check your Salvation Army Store or other Second Hand stores. Also some Wedding Apparel Stores have great clearance racks
Also check Filene's Basement which has fantastic deals on prom and wedding and event dresses. I got my wedding dress the day before I got married there for 39.99 and it was better than the one I picked out in a magazine for $650.
Check online- they have lots of sites devoted to finding prom dresses.
I would stick to a dress that is simple and play it up with accesories. Fancy gowns with intricate beading are a fortune.
Thrift stores forever have prom dresses. Since you're buying them that cheap, you can afford to have them altared to fit you just right.
I am currently building a website to bring you the opportunity for girls to buy, sell and/or trade formal dresses. The site will be up and running shortly. In the meantime check it out at www.promdresspost.com and subscribe your email with us. Once the site is open, I will send you an email!
Where can I get a free prom dress?
* You could borrow one, however courtesy would dictate you pay to have it professionally cleaned prior to returning it.
* Check with your church.
* You could make one yourself fairly inexpensively. Choose a pattern with simple lines and an attractive but inexpensive fabric. If you cannot sew, see if you can barter services (cleaning, windows, etc. etc.) with someone who can sew.
* Try your local Freecycle group (go to Yahoo groups and search "Freecycle" and your area.
* Check out http://www.craigslist.org
* Don't forget to check your local thrift stores.
* See if there is a group like the following near you:
E-mail me and let me know what size. Shryoung AT comcast.net
I would try Freecycle, Sandra. People are very generous.
It's been successful for many. I hope you find one.
Check out this website for Simcoe County in Ontario, Canada.
Shopping early and trying a variety of options such as thrift stores and on-line sites can help to find the best price on prom dresses. This is a guide about finding an inexpensive plus size prom dress.
A inexpensive formal dress can be found by secondhand shopping, if you have time to look. This guide is about finding a cheap prom dress.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Hello, I am a mother with three daughters, two of which are in High School. I am looking for ways to find inexpensive Prom dresses for them.
You can try calling around to outlet wedding places or just regular wedding gown places and ask be fore going and they usually have cheaper dresses there to buy you can use for prom and such.
Try outlet mall in your search engine and try that, I have found a lot of outlet malls here in Wisconsin that have been very helpful, for my future daughter in law and they had a lot of wedding and other dresses there too. (02/20/2003)
By Marie DeNovi
We have had excellent luck at 2nd hand shops and consignments. Also cousins at a different school might have friends your size who would like to swap for an event. If you plan way ahead you can pick up beautiful gowns at garage sales.
My cousin finished high school a couple years before I did and I ended up with four or five formals from her (it was helpful that she went to school in another city). When I was done with them I didn't have anybody to pass them on to that would fit them so I dropped them off at GoodWill. I know some people turn their noses up at the idea of getting special occassion wear from there, but it's a great place to find 'diamonds in the rough.' *grin*
When I was getting ready to leave for college my mom and I went formal shopping at a bridal outlet. I purchased a dress that went along with my sense of style and what would work with my body, but was also going to be able to stand 4+ years of fashion. I went a little conservative so I didn't have to worry about the season or the occassion. I think I spent a total of $80 on that gown, but it was well worth it.
This might also be a great opportunity for your girls to learn how to make their own clothing. Wish I had pursued it after home ec myself, would have made my current shirt adventure a little easier. *lol*
Hope this helps! (02/28/2003)
Depending upon the city in which you live, there is The Princess Project, designed for just this situation.
Contact this organization to see if they are aware of things like this in your area. (04/01/2003)
try (weblink)http://www.fairygodmothersinc.com(/weblink) for gently used gowns.
You may want to tell her about Becca's Closet. They have two New York chapters. None appear to be near Brooklyn but maybe they could let her know about something closer.
Estelles has a great selection at great prices (03/03/2005)
I got mine at Macy's, on clearance, for $17. Had a small thread loose in the side, I sewed it and it was fine! (Original price of the dress was $280) (05/01/2006)