Saturday, March 7, 2020

Slice of Life 2020: 7 of 31- Prom Dress Shopping

March is for daily slicing, and all are welcome! Join us at Two Writing Teachers!

In an earlier slice, I mentioned a prom dress slice. I've been percolating that one, and I have a feeling there may be more. 

There are some parenting tasks that we have to do that involve more love than others. For me, prom dress shopping involves a LOT of love. I have tried to tap into a new way of thinking about this task, and with four daughters, I've had a lot of opportunities for those efforts. (By my count, my youngest daughter's senior prom will be my eleventh prom to deal with since some not everyone only went to just their two...) So, when Cecily asked if I'd road trip with her best friend and her mom, I said I would.

"Really, Mom?" Cecily responded, her eyes wide. "You want to come with us?"

(Clearly, I have to do a better job at hiding my prom dress shopping disdain.)

The trip began with Cecily's confusion about where we were going. Instead of heading to Madison, a town I love with one of my favorite all-time bookstores, we were heading to Milford, not a town I know much about. Cecily didn't know that part of my self-talk for going had involved a secret promise to take a moment inside of the said bookstore.

After our hour+ ride, we pulled into the prom dress shop parking lot where we were greeted by valet parkers. Valet parking. Oh wow. We walked in, and you need to picture the equivalent of the biggest Home Depot, but with gowns instead of fixtures, paint, and lighting.

"They're all organized by color," someone cheerily greeted us. "You can take up to ten into the dressing rooms." She gestured to the racks and racks and racks of clear garment bags with dresses inside.

By this point, I was feeling gratitude for deodorant.

You might think that in this sort of a setting, we could find some bargains, and yes, there was a rack of sale dresses. They were also in plastic bags, but most had scars and stains. None were of Cecily's liking, and I didn't blame her. The rest of the dresses on those racks and racks started with a 2 and went up to the high fives. Most of the dresses that appealed to us even a little were over three hundred dollars.

After about an hour, I might have paid that sort of price if it meant leaving and never having to do this again, but luckily, Cecily didn't like any of the dresses she tried on, and neither did her friend. There was a girl in the room next to us who decided on a dress that reminded me a little of The Little Mermaid with a price tag of $529.95. As we listened to the conversation between her, her mother, and the seamstress, the alterations would be close to $200 since it involved complicated shortening. And they bought it. Oh wow, again.

My prom dress adventure continues. Please let March bring success.


  1. I cannot even imagine you are doing this again! I really do feel your pain- it sounds like a real test of mother love!

  2. This does seem like the ultimate test of mother love. I did it for one daughter and it was expensive, but not that expensive! In the end, I just wanted it to end!

  3. A great memory for you and your daughter! You found a lot of beauty and humor in what is clearly a challenging chore for you. I love this phrasing, "I might have paid that sort of price if it meant leaving" - lol! I have three sons and I'm sad to say, they were the opposite extreme. My oldest son borrowed a suit jacket from our neighbor, an hour beforehand. Ugh. Was there a bookstore in Milford?

  4. Oh, I can imagine this process but I have to say I have only been involved in shopping for wedding dresses, not prom dresses. A trying process that you have described so well here. I wish you success, Melanie. I've heard quite a few young people talk about renting dresses to attend fancy events like proms and weddings - dresses they know they might never wear again. Could that be a consideration?

  5. Having just completed wedding dress shopping (a future slice for sure), I found myself offering prayers of gratitude that my daughter and her now fiancée were anti-dance rebels. May the force be with you!

  6. I love Cecily's reaction to your 'yes' of joining in the dress shopping. So many high school 'lasts', and I'm so happy this one is your last prom!

  7. I love the line of being grateful for deodorant! So funny!

  8. Too bad they don't have a prom dress run at Filene's - I love how I found my wedding dress! I feel like Larkin could design and make one! I am sure it will all work out!

  9. I have such happy memories of prom dress shopping and I think my mom would say otherwise ;)

    ps I LOVE RJ Julia's in Madison. We need to take a trip there!

  10. I never went prom dress shopping with my daughters. It would have put me over the edge. I love your humor in this slice.