Before you run off ISO that perfect prom dress, think about the hassles and expense involved in that one big evening. Here are some ideas worth thinking about:
* Ruffles, applique, sequins, feathers, fringe, poufs, puffed sleeves and lace are all being shown on prom dresses. Make sure the dress you choose has no more that two of these elements. You're going to a dance, not skating in an ice show.
* If the dress is uncomfortable in the dressing room, it will kill you on prom night. You'll be getting in and out of cars, sitting down and dancing. Try it sitting down, bending over and do a few dance moves. If the dress is strapless, put it through some serious tests. You'll know if it doesn't work.
* Practice. If sneakers have been your footgear for the last 10 years, you may not be ready for high heels, not without training wheels. If you can't resist pumps, buy them weeks ahead and wear them around the house over a heavier sock. Be sure to negotiate some stairs, there's a real trick to it.
The same goes for a long, full skirt. Walk the dress up and down the steps to get a sense of how high to hold the hem. Hem-holding is becoming a long-lost ladylike art, but a great one to master. Princess Di does it very well.
* The word is corsages are dead. If you plan to wear flowers in your hair, be sure to tell your date to keep them very simple. Less expense for him, and prettier for you.
* Borrow something beautiful. Ask Grandmother if you can look through her closet and jewelry box. She'll be flattered you asked and probably has some of the things that are so hot in the vintage shops. She's sure to have an evening shawl, a glittery bag, and terrific costume jewelry. It's a way to cut costs and a guarantee you're wearing one-of-a-kind.
In Mother's day women had to cover their heads in church. A black or white lace mantilla could be just the touch of lace to wrap around your shoulders.
* You want a great hairdo, but not one of those grand productions that needs tons of mousse and hours of work. Soft, feminine hair even looks good tousled, but a fake do is a disaster when it collapses.
* It's fun shopping with the girls, but don't get caught up in a fashion frenzy. Ask the shop to hold a dress until you come back alone or with Mother. Who loves you best?