The Dress Dilemma

Angelica Santiago, Staff Writer

To buy or not to buy. Many teenage girls around this season face a major dilemma: whether they should buy their prom dress online or at a store. Prom is often quoted as, “one of the most magical nights of your life” and teenage girls all over the country feel the pressure, when it comes to wanting to look their best. Based on budget and style many search for their perfect dress for their perfect night. There has been a trend of mistrust when it comes to shopping for formal dresses online, as unappealing dresses are often returned leaving many girls feeling scammed. But others claim that there has been an web shopping revolution kicking old fashion prom dress shopping out the door.


Buying dresses online seems to depend much upon three factors, first website legitimacy, second budget, and lastly selection. In past years shoppers feared the ever famous online prom dress fail, where the online provider scams the shopper by presenting a picture of the item you would like to buy, but the result being the exact opposite; with dresses being made cheaply and unprofessionally.  Yet, some new quality websites such as, have been changing the game. Also department stores are offering a variety of selections online, making it easier for consumers to purchase trusted quality formal gowns. But the true question is, are these modern changes overturning mistrust into confidence of virtual shopping? After conducting a vast survey about 50.7% out of 72 survey takers, still wouldn’t buy a prom dress online and about 14 % out of 72 survey takers of individuals actually bought their dress online versus at the store or another source. Multiple girls commented on how some had a difficult experience while shopping for their dress online, one individual claimed that sizing was all off and another expressed that a completely different style dress was returned to her.


The traditional way of buying a prom dress is by shopping at a store and it still seems to be the most popular way of buying a gown.  A shopper commented on the shopping experience, saying, “I enjoyed being in a store because having a hands on feel for the dress helped a lot more than looking at pictures of models without my body type. Being in a store made the shopping experience a lot easier and more fun.” Most girls through the survey I conducted seemed to have bought their dresses from a formal dress shop (49.3%) and a small 18% bought their dresses at a department store such as Macy’s. Even though department stores are trying to make their products more accessible via it’s addition in putting supplies online, the experience of trying on dresses at a formal shop seems to overturn department store choices. But there are still may faults associated with prom dress shopping at formal shops and the main reason was price! Many survey takers expressed that the pricing of dresses at formal dress shops were astronomically high. Other girls claimed that they felt pressured and uncomfortable by employees to buy expensive dresses, but also said because of experience and quality of the product it was all worth it.


All in all it seems that having the experience of trying on dresses still rules on in the prom dress shopping sector. But in my own opinion in future years I believe online providers that are credible such as, which is a large online vendor of designer quality dress, will make an entrance into the game that is the prom dress shopping.