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For my senior prom I always dreamed of making my gown so that I would be unlike my fellow seniors. I know many ladies that have this dream as well, but with Downey High’s prom next week and Warren High’s prom on May 22, the chances of personalizing a dress now are slim to none.
In order to create a dress, the seamstress needed to have the order at least a month in advance. On April 17 my mother and I ventured through Huntington Park looking desperately for a willing seamstress. Many of the ladies were booked with quincea?±era or sweet 16 gowns until June. Though there were some that offered to make my gown, they charged at least $100 extra to make the dress on time. The most expensive offer for my dress was $550, the cheapest, $305.
After coming to an agreement on the design, the color(s), and the fabric, a seamstress will schedule a series of fittings to guarantee that her customer is satisfied with how the gown fits before it is fully assembled. Thus far, I have attended two fittings, both of which leave me with rough sketches of how my gown will turn out.
However, personalizing a dress can go horribly wrong. If halfway through production the customer is unsatisfied with the item being made, they have the option of canceling the order but with a large fee of approximately $200 to $300. Also, the seamstress may encounter unforeseen circumstances regarding fabric or color that can severely delay the production. When either of these happens, the customer is left without their order.
If these disadvantages are far too negative there is always the alternative. Thankfully, majority of the boutiques I visited had amazing dresses on display, some personally made by the boutique to show-off their best work, and others ordered in from manufacturers. Usually, if a gown is found in a small shop, the owners will be more than happy to alter the dress to fit the buyers shape-for a fee, of course.
But for people that are pinching pennies and cannot afford to be throwing away money into prom, there is hope. On Pacific Avenue in Huntington Park, there are a handful of boutiques carrying beautiful and inexpensive prom dresses. A general rule of thumb when purchasing inexpensive gowns: make sure that the seams are intact, the zipper functions properly and the dress does not fit incredibly tight or loose.
Truthfully, prom is not about materialistic things such as personalized and expensive gowns. A girl may labor for hours over her hair and makeup only to have it ruined by midnight, and boys will more than likely misplace their tuxedo jackets by the end of the dance.
Published: May 7, 2010 – Volume 9 – Issue 3