This post is brought to you by JenJenHouse. All opinions are my own.

JenJenHouse Burgundy Dress

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 21 years since I shopped for my senior prom dress. Back then, we really didn’t have computers in every house, so I couldn’t just hop online to find the best dress. Instead, my mom had to drive me to every single mall and dress shop within about a 50-mile radius of my house. See, I had a very specific dress idea in mind and unfortunately refused to bend. I barely even looked at the dresses out there, just skimming for the color I wanted (deep burgundy). When I didn’t see it, I moved along. When I did see it, it wasn’t just right.

So basically, this went on for about two months. We went to different stores in different nearby cities and I refused to even try on anything that didn’t fit my ideal dress idea. Finally, with less than two weeks before prom, it became evident that this magical perfect dress in my head just didn’t exist in stores. I had to find something fast, or I was going to the prom in, gasp, my junior prom dress! My aunt took me to a bridal shop and I picked out a dress that was, well, okay. I mean, it was pretty and all, but it wasn’t THE dress!

How to Avoid Buying a So-So Prom Dress

One thing I learned 21 years ago is how to avoid buying a prom dress that you just don’t love. If I could do it all over again, I would follow these tips:

  • Don’t lock yourself into one idea of the ideal dress. While it’s good to have a general idea of what you want, don’t go shopping with the mindset that absolutely nothing else will do. At least LOOK at the other dresses out there! You may just change your mind about the “perfect” dress.
  • Do shop early! This is actually something I learned both 21 years ago and 2 years ago when I was looking for a bridesmaid dress for my brother’s wedding. I’ve finally learned my lesson. Waiting until the last minute to buy a prom dress greatly restricts your choices and makes you feel pressured to settle.
  • Shop for the body you have right now. Look, you’re not going to grow two chest sizes or drop two dress sizes overnight. It takes time and discipline to lose weight. It takes plastic surgery to add to your bust. So just shop for the body you have now, not for the one you hope you have by prom night. If you do shed pounds, you can always have it taken in. You can’t really add to a dress that you bought two sizes too small hoping you’d lose weight. Well, you can’t, but it never quite looks right.
  • Shop online. Teens today so have it made, they have a whole world of prom dress options out there! Just make sure you start early and have your exact measurements in front of you when looking.

The dress pictured above is actually pretty close to my ideal dress back then, although I would have gone with a deeper burgundy. That dress comes from JenJenHouse, a spectacular dress shopping site that I so wish was around when I was a teenager! While my tastes have changed a bit over 21 years, I still think that’s a gorgeous dress! Take a look at a few of my other favorites.


Did you attend senior prom? Will you be dress shopping for a daughter in the future? I hope these tips help you avoid the dreaded “so-so” dress!  Which dress is your favorite?