DEAL OF THE DAY: Spend $60 on spring cleaning supplies and get a $15 Amazon credit

6 Clever Ways To Find Cheap Formal Dresses For Prom


Prom season is almost upon us, which means high schoolers everywhere are on the hunt for the perfect frock to rock on their big night. As exciting as the dance is, a formal gown can burn a major a hole in your wallet.

However, you don’t have to spend a ton to look spectacular on prom night. There are actually a number of clever ways to find beautiful formal dresses on the cheap:

1. Borrow A Dress

Every year, millions of high schoolers head off to prom. But the dance is typically a once- or twice-in-a-lifetime event, which means that there are plenty of stylish prom dresses just collecting dust in your relatives’, friends’ and neighbors’ closets.

Your teen can ask to go “shopping” in her most stylish cousin’s wardrobe and come away with something just perfect.

2. Rent A Dress

Why should guys be the only ones to get away with renting an outfit for the big night? With services like Rent The Runway, customers can rent a gorgeous dress for the night for a fraction of its retail price. The gown will arrive in the mail and comes with pre-paid shipping labels for easy returns.

Rent The Runway

3. Buy Secondhand

Thanks to apps like Poshmark and ThredUp, it’s easier than ever to find gently used clothing, including prom dresses, at awesome discounts. As they say, one former prom queen’s trash is an incoming queen’s treasure. Think of it as a digital thrift shop!


4. Go Vintage

Fashions are cyclical, so you might be surprised to learn that a dress you wore to your own prom many moons ago is actually back in style, according to your daughter. Dig your gown out of the attic and add some new accessories for a perfectly retro look.

Brande Walker

5. Get Crafty

Want to have a “Project Runway” moment? If you have sewing skills, making a dress for prom can be a fun challenge. This enterprising teen whipped together her own dress the night before the dance, and this creative genius made a prom dress out of trash bags:

6. Shop Smart

You never know when you’ll find a diamond in the rough while shopping at stores like T.J. Maxx or Nordstrom Rack, where designer dresses can be found for steep discounts. But be strategic! Consider shopping off-season, at consignment stores, or at retailers not necessarily known for formal wear so you can ensure your options have not already been picked over by someone else first.




About the Author

Kate Streit

Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. More.

More to explore