Cheap prom dresses
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Prom dresses under $100
With prom season looming, local media across the country are trotting out tips on where to find cheap prom dresses. Last week The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recommended visiting consignment shops and highlighted discount prom dresses online at Macy's for under $60. Now MyFox Twin Cities, a Minnesota TV affiliate, is weighing in with a list of places to buy cheap prom dresses. Recommended online resources include eBay, where we found over 60,000 prom dresses under $100, Craigslist and clothing site GoJane. Many retailers have plenty of short cheap prom dresses, but GoJane boasts a selection of long cheap prom dresses as well.
Seventeen magazine has a Prom Dress Finder on its website that lets you choose your price range. Its slideshow of options under $100 is full of cute, cheap prom dresses. If you see one in a style you like, you can click through to the retailer's site to peruse more options.
Some of Seventeen's picks are from places you may not have thought to look. David's Bridal, for example, isn't only for wedding dresses. Though most of the dresses on the site are pricier, there are still quite a few prom dresses under $100 and if your order is over $99 you get free shipping. You can also find prom dresses or even a bridesmaid dress that might work. Seventeen also recommends items from Unique Vintage, which has a page devoted to cheap prom dresses. (Don't let that purple-sequin number scare you off; there are some beautiful cheap prom dresses here.)
Fast fashion brands such as H&M, Zara and Forever 21 offer deals on dresses, not just everyday clothes. Other mall stores up their formalwear inventories this time of year. JCPenney's online Prom Shop has cheap prom dresses on sale and Nordstrom has a selection of prom dresses under $100. Penney's offers free shipping to your local store. If you buy shoes to go with your dress at Nordstrom, the retailer will ship both for free through April 14. At Kohl's online Prom Boutique, almost all dresses are under $100 and no dress at Charlotte Russe is more than $50. While juniors styles tend to be less expensive, it doesn't hurt to check the women's section for a more sophisticated dress on clearance. Not sure about fit? If you buy online from any of these retailers, order more than one size -- or more than one dress -- and bring the ones that don't fit back to the store to save on return shipping.
StyleBistro has a number of posts on cheap prom dresses (including one we highlighted in February on best cheap prom dresses 2011). The site recommends checking out Windsor Store for prom dresses under $100 and under $50.
To save even more money, find out if anyone in your community is organizing a dress swap or sale. These sorts of events are popping up in school districts from New Jersey to Knoxville, Tenn. Girls can exchange an old prom dress for a new one or pick up a donated dress at a discount price. Often any leftover dresses and part of the proceeds are given to charity.
If nothing less than a designer dress will do, consider renting instead of buying. At Rent the Runway, you can order a high-end prom dress, plus a free backup size, for about 10% of the retail price. Just send it back after four or eight days. You're never going to wear it again anyway, right?
Of course, the cheapest option is to borrow a dress or even make one yourself. A friend or a sister -- or a friend's sister -- is usually your best bet, but you never know who might be willing to lend out a dress. We have a friend who offered her babysitter the dress she wore in her sister's wedding. Unfortunately that particular dress had long sleeves, but a neighbor or aunt or family friend might always have surprises hanging in her closet. Pair a "vintage" piece with new shoes and accessories, and you've got the perfect prom dress on the cheap.