Prom Dress Shopping, For Real!

Shopping fabrics with Kira

The conversation with my friend and fashion designer, Kira Ross, was not your typical, “What are you wearing to the Prom?” Not, because Kira wasn’t planning to go to a random store in search of a one-of-a-kind dress. Instead, Kira was going to do what she does best – pick out a fabulous fabric and make her dress herself, especially now, for her Senior Year. And as we talked about it I realized … I had to go along for Kira’s journey … and document everything. The shopping, the designing, and ultimately, the big reveal.

This Sunday was shopping day in The Garment District in New York. There are two blocks where Kira likes to “snake my way up and down the streets” to find the perfect fabric. It can take a while, Kira explained: “I like to touch the fabrics so I will know how it works and how it will fit. When a fabric has a little give, it is easier to work with … I don’t really have a specific color in mind, it varies so much. And a fabric looks very different once it’s off the bolt.” Knowledgeable words from a very talented artist and designer. As we strolled the stores and aisles of fabric and prints – plaid, gingham, silk charmeuse, silk satin, stone-washed silk, seersucker, crepe de chine, twill, taffeta, cotton – I was aware that Kira’s gift was to see the possibility of a dress. To look beyond the colors and textures and see herself in something she would make. To be so close to fabrics was intoxicating. Continue reading

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BFF’s talk fashion, self esteem, motherhood and Missoni!

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Kylie and me

Kylie and me

In today’s podcast, my dear friend, Kylie, and I talk completely off-the-cuff about the connection between fashion and self-esteem. She and I have known each other a long time: we met in New York City’s Upper West Side, had babies together, and are now watching those babies grow and move up on their own. Our lives have been full and hectic. Here is what happens when we are left to our own devices!

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Prom: Now/Eric …

Eric: Prom 2013

Eric: Prom 2013

I couldn’t resist one more feature on prom 2013. Eric is my son; he is 16 and a junior in high school. Last night he went to his first prom. There wasn’t much fanfare to prepare for the occasion except to take a trip to the barber shop for a new haircut, rent a tuxedo and shoes and purchase new dress socks. And of course, he selected a corsage for his date. But this story is worth telling because he attended his prom in the very same location where my junior prom was held 36 years ago! That does kind of freak me out but it is special and something that he and I will share forever.

My last prom feature is about my own son and a connection with me, his mom.

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Eric and me

Eric and me

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Prom: 2006

Daniel in his Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo and his four friends with hand made original designs

Daniel in his Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo and his four friends with his hand made original designs

My final prom feature is a sweet story about generosity and kindness. In 2006 Daniel was a senior in high school. Already a fashion designer and a creative original, Daniel hand made four prom dresses for his friends, including his date for the evening. The Great Gatsby was the inspiration for his date’s dress – a dropped waste and a soft, silk fabric pillow of a dress. For himself, Daniel had ordered a rental tuxedo. When the day came to pick up his tux just one day before the prom Daniel was dismayed to discover that the tux did not fit him and was far too big. When he brought it home his mother took one look at the tux and said that it would not do. He had just made four exquisite dresses for his friends and he needed to look just as sharp. She said to Daniel, “let’s go!” Together, they returned the rental tux and marched over to Dolce & Gabbana: Daniel tried on an amazing tuxedo that fit him perfectly. His mother bought the outfit for him then and there, as well as a shirt, shoes and accessories. Daniel was so touched by his mother’s generosity and extravagance, but his mother told him that it was her joy to do this for him and it would be his graduation present. Daniel owns the tuxedo today and counts it among his treasures. His mother sounds like a treasure, too.

Thank you to Daniel and Samantha and Miranda for sharing their prom stories. I learned a lot about high school prom in the process; some things are quite different from when I attended my prom. The things that are the same are simple: feeling special for the day and being with your friends to mark the growing up process in a completely unique way. And Ashley? She is holding off on this year’s prom to attend her senior prom next year: she and her friends will instead make a trip into New York City for a special dinner. Sounds good to me!

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Prom: Now/Samantha …

Samantha's original dress choices

Samantha’s original dress choices  – black and silver vintage and mint green contemporary

Samantha's second choice/second dress - strapless, deep purple with silver embellishment

Samantha’s second choice/second dress – strapless, deep purple with silver embellishment

Samantha is a junior in high school and she is my friend Karen’s daughter. I have known her for her entire life. In fact, I have known her since she was in her mother’s womb. After speaking with Samantha today I find it hard to believe that she is the same age that her mom and I were when we met. Here is Samantha on prepping for the prom …

I will be going to two proms this year: my boyfriend’s school prom is this Thursday and my school prom is May 17th. Almost from the minute I was invited, I started to feel pressure to find a dress, about two months ago. I began my search at the malls but found nothing and then searched on-line and didn’t find anything there either. Fortunately, I finally discovered two dresses at a local consignment shop, each for under $50! I know some girls who are spending up to $600 for just one dress, so two for $100 is quite a find for me. One is a mint green, contemporary style; the other is a black and silver vintage dress. They both fit well which is important to me. I needed to make a few slight adjustments to the mint green and I took it to a tailor. I have a pair of silver shoes that are a fine back up but I am hoping to find another pair before the proms. Recently, I wasn’t as sure about the black dress (I think because I’m not as comfortable wearing black in the spring). My boyfriend took me to the mall where I found a deep purple strapless dress with silver embellishment. I love it! I used gift cards to purchase the dress, so again, I was lucky …

I did feel pressure to purchase two dresses, partly because of the pictures that we will be taking, but mostly because my friends will be wearing two dresses. If they were wearing one dress for both of their proms I would probably do the same …

I decided to post my dresses to a Facebook page made for my school that exhibits every girls’ dresses. But I didn’t do the same for my boyfriend’s school. I found out that someone else will be wearing my dress at his prom but I’m okay with that because there will be many people. I will be getting a mani-pedi this week as well as having a spray-tan. I had an appointment to do my hair professionally at a salon but I think I will do it myself and save the money …

I think the biggest differences between going to the prom then, when you and my mom went, and today, are: the dresses are more outrageously priced, the preparation for the prom is more intense, and there is much more pressure from your friends to prepare in a certain way …

I am excited to go to the prom. Right now, though, I am thinking more about the preparation than the actual prom. I think that many girls feel the way I do and enjoy the preparation more than anything else.” ~ Samantha

I think that Samantha shows us that pressure from friends continues to be a big deal in high school. And no one should underestimate the power of the image in today’s world.

What do you think?

to be continued …

 

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PROM: Now/Miranda …

Miranda's prom dress - look at that detail in the back!

Miranda’s prom dress – look at that detail in the back!

Miranda is a senior in high school and will be going to her prom in early June. Here is what Miranda shared with me about prom, now …

It was very hard to find a dress; it took me two months of on-line shopping. I decided to do all of my shopping on-line because I knew I would find the right proportions. I am over 5′ 7″ and I wanted the right fit, and these days on-line shopping provides accurate measurements. When I saw this dress it really stuck with me. It’s a light pink and feminine style. The popular colors of the season for girls are nude, soft pink, dark blue/navy blue and red. And yes, I have posted it on Facebook already, noting the color, so that others will know what I’m wearing and not copy it. Most girls are doing this …

To prepare for the prom, I will be getting my hair and professional makeup done at a salon. No spray tanning for me. I tried it two years ago and I did not like it! Too much orange! I will also be getting a mani-pedi …

I am happy to go to my prom. Sometimes it’s overrated; people say it’s the second most important day after your wedding day. I think that’s silly. But it is a special day. It makes girls feel really beautiful and it boosts confidence. All the girls are so nice to each at prom; they compliment each other and wish each other well. That doesn’t always happen with girls, you know. But on this day, there is a positive atmosphere and a judgement-free-zone for all of high school …” ~ Miranda

to be continued

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More prom …

Not long after I wrote about prom, The Wall Street Journal carried a piece, entitled For Prom, Schools Say ‘No’ to the Dress. Apparently, certain high schools around the country are outlining for students (girls and boys) what is acceptable to wear versus what is unacceptable attire. They are issuing clear and unmistakable guidelines for students to check and re-check before they spend money on an outfit that may not be considered appropriate in the schools’ eyes. The goal: to avoid being turned away at the door, and to keep prom about the dancing.

Perhaps this will make an already difficult shopping process a little easier for everyone involved. Or will it?

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