Prom gown shopping with an offbeat teen

Guest post by Misty Brockway

Misty's sixteen-year-old daughter, Autumn.
When my 16 year old daughter came to me earlier this year and mentioned she was going to homecoming, I experienced a mix of excitement and dread. Excitement because I honestly felt like she’d never actually WANT to go to a high school dance, and I was looking forward to taking her picture and seeing her all dressed up. Dread because, well, her tastes are not like your average teenager, and shopping with her can be daunting.

Did I mention that she didn’t tell me about going to the dance until a few days before the date? Not much time to find the perfect dress for someone with such specific tastes.

We spent the evening wandering around the mall, hoping to find something. Definitely no sequins, nothing too lacy or skimpy and nothing strapless. Unfortunately, almost everything fit that description. We ended up finding an acceptable dress at Target, of all places.

Then we had to go shoe shopping. Ever since she began to have her own style and tastes, shoes have been our biggest obstacle. During her 7th and 8th grade years, there was only ONE shoe-style she would wear (Macbeth Newmans. I must have replaced those shoes 5 or 6 times.)

These days she’s branched into plain white canvas shoes, slippers and slouchy boots. Unfortunately, wearing slippers to homecoming wasn’t going to fly, although I suppose she could have worn them if she really wanted to. She didn’t want flats, but she didn’t want high heels. Low heels were also out of the question. Where does that leave us?

Our day of shoe shopping didn’t end well. I gave up and we went home. There were some tears, arguing and finally me BEGGING her to try again. Homecoming was now that very evening. She said “Maybe if a friend comes with me, I’ll find something.”

Well, we didn’t find anything. She is just too offbeat, so to speak, to find anything she likes in such a short amount of time at your typical stores. I’m sure if I had time, we could have searched on Etsy and found something unique and perfect.

So, while we stood there in the shoe department at Kohl’s, the three of us came to an agreement. I’d pay for them to go to a movie as payback for the money her date spent on the wasted homecoming tickets. Then Autumn and I can spend the rest of the school year looking for her perfect prom dress (and shoes!) so we don’t have to scramble at the last minute. Deal made.

But, I’m still wondering — where would you go to look for a dress for an offbeat teen girl to wear to a prom? There’s only a couple months left to shop!

Comments on Prom gown shopping with an offbeat teen

  1. besides a second hand store, i’d reccommend looking at non-prom dresses at sears, etc. that’s where i found my dress for my sister’s prom–the REAL dress I wish I’d had to wear to my prom…and the one i still wear today 🙂

  2. I love shopping at goodwill– you can find some cute stuff there. Take a gross puffy eighties dress, hack off the sleeves, add lace gloves, and you’ve got a great ensemble.

    If you’re willing to spring a bit for the shoes, maybe a tall (knee-height) boot with laces, and use a lace to match the dress.

  3. I advocate for making your own dress for prom. It took less then a month(although I had experience.) I knew that just like your daughter I would have a hard time picking out the right dress. If she likes vintage, vogue has patterns at Jo-Anns, and they go on sale pretty often. Also the whole dress only cost me 60 dollars. As for shoes, at my high school we wore the shoes to pre dance dinner and then took them off in the gym. I recommend perhaps a cute pair of booties? They come in mid heals. Good luck.

  4. Yes! ModCloth, thrift/vintage stores, eBay! As for shoes, would she wear sequined sneakers or something? Sort of her everyday shoes but kicked up a notch?

    Or, formalizing a pair of sneakers? With paint or beadwork or fabric overlays or appliques?

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