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The Cost of Things: For HER

Depending on what you're determined to get for prom night, the prom gown is probably going to be the most expensive item on your list. Other than that, you also need to accessorize--in some cases, borrowing from mom will do; but some things, like shoes and backless bra, you're just going to have to go out and buy. Then you will probably also get an updo, and maybe a manicure & pedicure, and possibly even some tanning. Below are the bare minimum necessities to get you all nicely set up for prom night. There's lots of things you can add to this list, but since they're not strictly necessary, we won't discuss them.


The gown is so difficult to price because there's every type of quality out there, which means you may pay anywhere from $75 to $500 for your gown. What is the average? Well, we began conducting a poll in Spring 2002 on what you spend, and here are the results from the 2259 girls who took the poll: 30% of you will buy a gown ranging between $100 - $150, 24% will buy between $150 - $200, 24% will buy one between $50 - $100, 14% will buy over $250, and 9 % will buy between $200 - $250.

So is this polling accurate? Probably. But does it mean that a dress is worth what you pay for it? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Fact is, it's not about price, but about the quality, look, and feel of the dress. There are dresses that you pay a fortune for, but they're garbage; and there are dresses which are perfect gems, and are quite literally bargains. Whatever you end up paying, just remember that prom is a very special night, and that you don't want to look like something the cat's been messing with. And definitely remember: price is not the final word on quality!

For detailed information on selecting the gown that's right for you, take a look at the "Dress How-To" section in the menu on the left.


What's an accessory? We'll consider the following accessories: shoes, hose, gloves, purse, hair ornaments, and jewelry. You don't need all of them (gloves and maybe a purse, for example), but you do need some of them (shoes, hose, jewelry).

Depending on where you shop and what you buy, expect to pay between $40 to $200 for these items (Dyeables or Coloriffics shoes, for example, are $40, while Guccis are $200). And this cost does not include jewelry, which is very personal and therefore nothing for me to talk about. If you're skimping and only getting shoes, then you should be able to keep it under $60 for a fine set of heels. If you're adding a purse ($25 - $50), gloves ($15 - $25), and hair ornaments ($10 - $50), you can expect your additional expenses to climb as high as $125.

Although I am not trying to make you spend all your money, I do recommend you get a good pair of shoes to start with--you don't want to be saving too much here because you will need them to fit, look good, and above all be comfortable. Just remember: cheap heels just aren't worth the pain they cause. Although you can get away without it, I also recommend that you get a purse--just a small handbag--to carry identification, lipstick and other makeup, and some money (you never know).

Hair & Nails

You don't have to, but it might be a nice idea to treat yourself to a beautiful updo, and perhaps a manicure and pedicure. The updo will not run under $60; and the manicure and pedicure may run between $25 - $50, depending who you see and what they do.

Wax & Tan

You also don't have to do this, but again, it might be a nice idea because, amongst other things, you will feel good about yourself if you have at least your legs and upper lip waxed several days before prom. It will also help, if you're pale and just coming out of winter, if you have a few sessions at the tanning salon. What can you expect to pay? For the waxing, $30 - $65, and for the tanning, $10 - $15 per session, with a minimum of four required sessions.


The boutonniere is like a small version of the corsage, which you usually get for the guy. Often, the flowers are co-ordinated, so you should find out what flowers he's ordered for your corsage, then get a matching boutonniere. You can expect to pay between $5 - $15 for this item. You give it to him, usually pinning it on his lapel, just after he gives you the corsage. If you're not sure if he's getting you a corsage, and you definitely want one, then here's a little trick: ask him what flowers are in the corsage he's getting you because you want to match the boutonniere's flowers with the corsage. This way you have him on the hook and he'll have to get you the corsage.

Sample Budget
Gown $225
Shoes $32
Gloves $21
Purse $32
Hose $4
Bra $21
Hair $85
Manicure $26
Wax & tan $70
Boutonniere $11
Total $527

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