Prom: Is the dress worth the stress?

As the school year begins to reach its finale, high school girls begin to anticipate one of the most awaited events of their high school career – Prom. Everyone in the U.S. knows what prom is, some might even call it a rite of passage. It is that one day of the year where teens use prom as an excuse to spend a ridiculous amount of money to walk into their prom venue feeling their most confident. However, behind all that glamor is the financial burden which can affect both parties.

Attending prom can get really ugly when it comes to prices. It’s nearly inevitable to spend less than $200 for the event. With prom being a more formal event, teens start to stress about shoes, hair, dresses, tuxedos, makeup, etc. Yet, when comparing numbers it’s quite obvious that girls are left with a greater financial burden. According to Cost Helper men typically spend between $50-$250 in tuxedo rentals; on the other hand, prom gowns range from $100-$400+ which is bizarre considering both party members are attending the same formal.

For most girls, going to prom is almost mandatory as it’ll allow them to live out their Cinderella fantasies. A majority agreed that prom was ridiculously expensive for it just being a high-school dance. Yet, most girls still put themselves through the bargain to have a memorable night as seen in movies. Prom expenses vary depending on a girl’s preference, however, most girls have to buy the following: dress, shoes, nails, and accessories. Now, for the glamming aspect, girls are going out to book makeup and hair appointments to achieve the typical glamorous look. With this in mind we’re looking at an extra $70-$300 added to the girl’s expenses. When comparing both, it’s crystal clear that teen girls have more to lose during prom season. Guys typically only drop money on a tuxedo, corsage, and shoes if needed. Leaving them with a total of $50-$400 spent.

It’s undeniable, girls go all out for this one night event. The evidence is in the numbers. By the end of the prom season a majority of teen girls will have spent around $400-$1000 on a gorgeous gown, sparkly heels, divine makeup, and shiny pedicure/manicure. Meanwhile, guys are looking at $50-$300 on a nice tuxedo, shoes, and corsage for their date. Female products tend to be more expensive because of the way they are taxed. Women’s clothing is taxed around 15.1% and male’s are looking at 11.9%. The numbers are haunting, being a woman is expensive.

Now, why would girls put themselves through this? Prom has been highlighted as the prime event of a girl’s high-school career. As seen in movies it’s glamorized and waited upon by the typical American teenager. Every girl wants to feel beautiful and gather around with their friends to collect memorable pictures they’ll one day look back at and reminisce. “The idea of spending one last night together to commemorate the times in high school allows for us to get a nostalgic feeling for them and create one set of memories for the last time,” Emeli Monroy said. “Prom might be special for the glitz and glamor but for some of us it’s the idea to enjoy our youth one last time before we head our own ways that are yet to come.”

So is prom worth it? The answer varies by person. Reality is that prom isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, it may be worth it to the social butterflies, but a total waste of time for the homebodies. For me, prom is an essential experience for all high-school students before they graduate as it allows them to have one final dance with the people they’ve grown up with throughout the years.

I chose to go to prom this year because I didn’t attend last year’s prom since I got COVID. Plus, I’m also doing this to get out of going to work (LOL). I knew I didn’t want to spend a crazy amount on a dress I’d wear for one evening, so I ordered mine for $150. Aside from that, I just plan on getting my eyelashes and nails done, which would cost me a little under $200 for those two purchases. In total I’d be paying $350 overall for my dress, nails, and eyelashes. I personally believe that our experiences are what we make out of them.

With that in mind, get that dress you’ve been eyeing out, dance like nobody’s watching, and, most importantly, take as many pictures as you possibly can. The money will come and go, but the memories will be imprinted forever.