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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Dress shopping: say yes to the stress

Saanvi Arora
There is a lot of stress and pressure that comes with the dress buying experience.

Growing up, I always dreamed of what my perfect prom dress would look like. Would it be floor length? Would it have rhinestones and sparkles? And as WA’s version of Junior Prom, Cotillion, approaches for me, I realize there was a thing my dreams did not include: the stress-inducing, almost toxic, culture surrounding this experience.

The feelings that arise when I hear conversations related to Cotil is some excitement, but mainly extreme stress. Though this is something that I’ve looked forward to for many years, the thought of having to buy a dress, alter that dress, buy the $75 tickets, and get my hair, nails, and makeup done, worries me. 

To add to all that stress is the pressure of making sure to buy a dress that does not match with someone else’s. I’ve seen the tried and true movie trope of one girl getting upset over another girl wearing the same dress as her to prom. As a kid watching these movies, I used to wonder, why are they fighting? Having grown up, I have that same thought.

If someone is purposefully trying to match with someone else out of malicious intent, it would make sense why this would be such an issue. However, many times it is just coincidence. There is not much variety in dresses to buy something completely different. When I went dress shopping, I tried on several dresses that were extremely similar except for some small details. Many stores carried the same styles and colors, making it very difficult to step out of the box. 

And sometimes, things just happen. Matching dresses is not worth losing a friendship. 

Stores barring people from buying dresses because it is the same as someone else’s in a different color worsens this culture of trying not to match dresses. Many dress stores, such as Glitterati, track what dresses your classmates buy so that no one gets the same one. I had known this was a thing, but I wasn’t aware that it applied to different colors of the dress.

After many trials, I thought I had found the perfect dress. However, I soon found out that someone from my school had already bought it in a different color. The employees at the store told me I could not buy it unless I got consent from the person who already had it. I ended up getting consent to buy this dress; even still, I was still not allowed to buy it due to technicalities in their system unless I traveled to a different location of the store, which proved to be a large inconvenience. 

The stress of buying a dress continues with the amount of time that goes into finding the right one, because buying a dress is most often not done within one visit. I love shopping, however, going to several different stores on several different days before finding the dress added to the stress that I was already feeling with the SAT having been right around the corner. 

Though there are all of these stresses, a junior prom is necessary. Junior year is arguably the hardest year of high school for many students, with worrying about taking the SAT or ACT, maintaining good grades, touring colleges, and continuing to juggle extracurriculars with it. Having a dance at the end of the year is needed to lighten the stress and have something to look forward to. However, in addition to the stress that accompanies dress shopping, the thought that it will be at Kimball’s makes it much less appealing. 

I am excited to eat ice cream and play mini golf with my friends, however, to spend so much time and money on a dress that I will inevitably be dragging, and most likely ruining, through mud and dirt at Kimball’s is a difficult thought to wrap my head around. 

Navigating this stress and culture seems to be daunting, but keeping a lot of time aside for this and your priorities straight going into it is most important. What do you want to get most out of this experience?

Inevitably, there will always be pressure to conform to wear a certain type of dress. However, at the end of the day, it is important to remember that this is a fun experience you should look forward to; it is worth it to explore the different patterns and styles that make you feel your best. After all, the dress you wear is meant to capture who you are and make you feel happy and confident, not stressed out.

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