Snag must-have advice from Say Yes to the Prom Dress’s Monte Durham. And don’t forget to tune in to Say Yes to the Prom Dress Saturday, April 1, at 8/7c on TLC.
Find your perfect gown with this advice from Say Yes to the Prom fashion director Monte Durham.
Do your research
Minimize dressing-room drama by having an idea of what you want before you hit the stores. (Tear out or print pictures of looks you like.) “When you go shopping, start by focusing on one color or style so you have a jumping-off point,” Monte says. “Once you walk into the prom department, the assortment can be distracting — and you want to stay focused. It doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind, but at least you have a game plan.”
Bring someone you trust!
You’ll want a second opinion, whether that’s from your mom, another relative, or your BFF (as long as you know you won’t compete over styles!). “You need this person to have your back and tell you the truth,” says Monte. Can’t resist a squad shopping trip? Consider it a test run. “Bring friends and browse, but come back with that one person you trust later and make a great, solid choice.”
Make sure it fits
Sure, you can always get a dress shortened or taken in a bit, but the length of the bodice needs to be correct from the start. “The bust should hit at your chest and the waist should sit right at your waist,” Monte says. “Those are key points that can’t be fixed with alterations.”
Shake it up
“If you love to dance, make sure the dress allows you to move,” he says. (Yes, you should dance around the fitting room.) “If you’re wild and crazy, you’ll need a full skirt or a flowy Empire fit — because if you’re in a skintight mermaid, you’re not going to be able to get very far.”
Go with your gut
You’ll know you’re ready to “say yes” when the dress feels right — even if it’s one of the first looks you try on. “Don’t second-guess yourself,” Monte says. “If it fits well, is the color you like, and is in your budget, hold on to it, walk the department one more time, and then go for it. Chances are, that’s the dress that’s perfect for you!”
Everyone deserves to go to prom, right? That’s the idea behind TLC’s Say Yes to the Prom initiative, which has helped nearly 1,000 underserved and academically high-achieving students across the country get everything they need for a magical night. Tune in to follow several students as they meet with style pros (including Seventeen’s own Aya Kanai!) to create their perfect looks. You’ll get some serious fashion and glam ideas while you hear their inspiring stories. Tune into Say Yes to the Prom, Saturday, April 1, at 8/7c on TLC.
A version of this story was originally published in the January 2017 issue of Seventeen Prom.