Prom on a budget

Make a date with a thrift shop



It’s the most important social event of your high school career.

For girls, it’s all about the dress. Everything is centered around the dress — shoes, hair, jewelry, makeup, and even your date’s suit. Much like for a wedding, the right prom ensemble can be the key to the whole event.

It’s no secret that teens are often cashstrapped, and if you’re footing the bill for your own prom, it can be a challenge finding that magical dress at a reasonable price.

Local thrift stores have rigged their racks with lots of nearly new gowns and dresses for the occasion. Don’t fret: Not everything in a thrift store is vintage and many of the gowns are stylish and trendy.

In addition to dresses, local thrift stores also have stocked their shelves with shoes, purses, and accessories.

Dresses that originally sold at retail stores and boutiques for hundreds of dollars are available in secondhand shops for a fraction of the price."

Most girls don’t wear their prom dresses again. If they don’t want them or [they] need money, they sell them and that’s how I end up with them,” said Raechel Kolling, owner of the Green Boutique, a Toledo thrift shop. “Just because it’s used doesn’t mean it doesn’t look good, or it’s not in good shape. A lot of my stuff is in perfect condition. I’ve got stuff with the original tags still on it.”

Thrifting for fashion requires some creativity because sizes and styles are limited and vary by store. If the dress is too big, buy it anyway and have it tailored to fit, or buy a  simpler dress and match it with statement jewelry and shoes, to create outfits that are original.“

You’re a little more comfortable altering it, because you didn’t spend a lot of money on it. You’re not going to do that with a dress you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on,” Mrs. Kolling said. “It’s upcycling. You get to make it your own, better than before.”

Contact RoNeisha Mullen at: or 419-724-6133