As promised last week, today I’m sharing my prom outfit, hair, and makeup. Even if prom is a thing of the past for you, this post still applies to super formal occasions, such as auctions, banquets, and the red carpet (in my dreams). I absolutely love dressing up, so even though senior prom is the last of my excuses to do so, I’ll be on the hunt for more fancy occasions soon. 😉
Finding a prom dress was quite a debacle for me. And while I know I probably just peaked your interest, I’m saving that story for a fun post planned in May (I have another prom less than a month away and wanted to share that outfit/experience separately). I ended up buying this gorgeous mauve dress from an upscale consignment shop in Las Vegas while on spring break, called Fashion 4 Change. If you’re currently looking for a dress, I highly recommend searching in a local consignment shop. They’re generally nicer than thrift stores because the people who donate the clothing get a small percentage of money back. I’ve had great luck finding dresses second-hand in the past, like this black Calvin Klein dress I wore to homecoming twice.
The women at Fashion 4 Change were great (and very entertaining). They were two extremely fashionable ladies, probably in their 60s, wearing beautiful silk scarves, makeup, and Chanel accessories. The store was very high end as well, with Valentino shoes, Coach purses, Michael Kors bags, Ferragamo, and many other designers. Right when I walked in, one of the women greeted me with a beautiful foreign accent I did not recognize. She asked me what I was looking for (to which I responded a long formal dress) and what size I was. She adamantly shook her head and said, “Well, we don’t have many dresses in your size but we will see.” We were very impressed with her knowledge of all the items in her store. She directed my mom and me to a section of gowns, where she showed me three long dresses in my size. The first two were definitely not my style—full of shaped fabric, big sleeves, and random appliques stuck on top (they looked like something from the 80s, and they probably were). This mauve dress was the only thing I would even consider trying on. Don’t get me wrong, they had beautiful, extremely stylish dresses, but they weren’t quite the thing to wear to a senior prom.
I took the dress to the changing room and tried it on. I admit, I wasn’t sold at first. However, the zipper in the back slid up perfectly to suck me in, which is always a great feeling (and a necessity for the time crunch we were in—I only had so many days left to find a dress). My concerns with the gown were that it was strapless, it was way too long and would need to be tailored (which there wasn’t time for), the color wasn’t good for me, and it wasn’t “wow” enough compared to the dress I really wanted to wear (more on that to come later when I discuss my dress debacle).
Ultimately, after 30 minutes deliberating in the changing room (and hearing tons of lovely comments from the two women!), I decided to buy the dress. It was only $50, which was a steal! While the dress is strapless and I don’t feel comfortable in that style, I took the tulle sash that came with it and tied it in such a way to make straps. It was only a little while later that I realized this dress is actually meant to be convertible; it has 4 tulle strands (2 on front, 2 on back) meant to tie straps/sleeves/shawls in any way you want, like in this picture. I’m thinking about doing a whole post with all the possible ways to tie it! I was so excited to find out about this because it means the dress can be worn again and again in different ways. To fix the length issue, my talented aunt in Las Vegas agreed to tailor the length for me. She did such a great job and the length just above the toes was absolutely perfect! And finally, I decided the mauve color was just dark enough to look really pretty against my pale skin.
I ended up completely loving the dress, even though I was a little iffy at first. The color was super unique yet still springy, which is refreshing because I usually buy black formal dresses. The dress was also super comfortable (it allowed room to eat lots of dinner, wink wink) and I got tons of compliments from both family and friends.
I was really stressing out about my hairstyle. I had been practicing styles every day the week leading up to prom, and I thought I had figured out a good up-do to wear. (I didn’t want to wear my hair down because it always annoys me and gets hot while dancing). But right when I was starting to feel good about it, my friend said she hated the hairstyle I was planning to do! And of course, that was one day before the big night. So I left it to the last second and just hoped for the best the day of prom.
I started by curling my hair with actual hot curlers to both save time (compared to a curling iron) and get big, full curls. Then I parted my hair on the side and began twisting the smaller side of my part around the back of my head, picking up pieces of hair with each twist, like when French braiding. I pulled the hair into a side ponytail after that. Now came the real part: I took each curl separately, wrapped it up around my fingers, and pinned it to the side of my head. I did that over, and over, and over again…It took a while, and more importantly, it took an insane amount of bobby pins. I almost had a crisis because I ran out of pins, but thankfully my mom found a few more. There’s no good way to describe where to attach the curls, you just have to play it by ear. I pinned all of them down once and then went back and added some extra pins where the curls seemed to be sticking up funny. It was a lot of work, I admit, but I was so happy with the results! The hair turned out way more amazing than I expected, especially for winging it at the last second. And it even stayed in all night! Of course, I went a little crazy with the hairspray so…;-)
For accessories, I wanted to keep things fairly simple. Since I tied the dress as a halter and added a second layer of tulle to make the neckline twisty, I knew a necklace would be too much. I chose only to wear a corsage as jewelry. I kept some of the tulle from the bottom of the dress that got tailored and gave it to the florist, who added it to the corsage. It turned out so pretty!! And as a bonus, I didn’t have to worry about it matching my dress since the fabric actually was my dress. 😉
I wore my silver shoes from past dances. I’m glad I didn’t have to buy another pair, and the chunky heel made it easy to walk/dance the night away. As for the purse, I wanted to wear the beaded grey purse from this post. However, after walking around with it and the dress on, I realized the tulle was getting snagged on the beads! So my mom went out and bought this shimmery silver bag from DSW with her reward points, which ended up looking great with the dress. I was so excited by how the whole look came together!
I don’t wear makeup on a regular basis, so I wanted to keep my look fairly simple (it’d be awkward if I suddenly wore a bunch and my date didn’t even recognize me!). I did what I usually do for special occasions: black liquid eyeliner, mascara, and clear lip gloss. The specific products were Wet n Wild Megaliner, Lancome Cils Booster XL eyelash primer, and Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara (you can read more about these mascaras in my mascara review). I thought dark purple eyeshadow would complement the color of the dress perfectly, but I decided not to go that route. Whenever I wear eyeshadow, my eyes really bother me and it’s hard to keep them open. I don’t know if it’s because I’m allergic or I’m just not used to it, but I decided I’d rather be comfortable. Instead, I painted my nails and toenails a dark purple. The color did look really good with the dress!
This turned out to be such a long post! And it’s only half of my prom story—like I said, I’ll be doing another prom post in May so you can hear all about my dress search and debacle. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. I had such a wonderful time at prom, especially dressing up, and it was a great way to finish off my last year of high school.
If you’re attending a dress or fancy occasion soon and need help/suggestions with hairstyles, dresses, or accessories, be sure to reach out to me! I’m happy to help and would love to live vicariously through your dressing up. 🙂
Miles of smiles,