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If the Dress Fits

As seniors get ready to attend prom tonight at the Museum of Science and Industry, Molly Julian takes a deep dive into what goes into finding the right prom dress.
Molly Julian
Erin Julian (23’) at her senior prom for Marist last year

As spring blossoms, so does the anticipation for one of the most memorable nights in a high schooler’s life: prom. It’s a time when fairy tales come to life, and childhood dreams come true, all centered around that one memorable piece of clothing — the prom dress. It has to be perfect, but how do you find the perfect one? For countless high school girls, finding the perfect dress is more than just a shopping trip; it’s a childhood dream being fulfilled.  

Every city has a store dedicated to girls attending prom. There are many in the Chicago area, including Elegant Couture, Windsor, Peaches Boutique, and so on. These boutiques have countless options.

Erin Julian, a graduate from Marist in the class of 2023, knew the moment she laid eyes on her gown. 

“I found my dress at the first shop I went into. It was expensive, but in my eyes, it was worth every penny,” Julian says.

Most of the time it’s not that easy. Many high school girls slip into dress after dress, hoping to find the one that makes them feel like a princess. Each dress has a different aura. From sleek mermaid silhouettes to Cinderella ball gowns, the options are endless. A dress can not only look incredible on someone, but it also can tell about a girl’s personality. 

However, that does not mean girls should spend their life savings on a dress because it can sometimes be the price of a monthly car payment. Many can not afford to purchase something that expensive for just one night. 

Many can find their dream dress by borrowing it from someone, which is precisely what junior Riley Eklund did.

“I saw a prom dress on one of my sister’s friends and knew I wanted it. I didn’t even have to go dress shopping,” says Eklund. 

One of the biggest struggles when finding the perfect dress is balancing making a statement and staying true to yourself. Yet, for every moment of uncertainty, there are moments of genuine happiness as girls discover dresses that speak to them. 

“I wanted something that would make me stand out, but not too much,” Erin Julian explains. “I wanted something big and bright. I tried steering away from the picnic style dresses even though I think they are cute.”

Behind the scenes, dress boutiques buzz with activity, as seamstresses work tirelessly to make every girl’s dreams come true. Every stitch and bead is a critical requirement that can make or break a dress. 

“I remember my prom like it was yesterday. I tried a lot of dresses until I found one that had everything I was looking for,” Margaret Reilly, a 2012 graduate from Marist, says.

The excitement grows as prom night draws near for Marist and neighboring high schools. Dresses are bought and picked up, and final touches are added. 

“I loved how I looked that night, and I’ll never forget it.  It was perfect, and I wish I could find some event to wear my dress again, too,” says Reilly.

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Molly Julian
Molly Julian, Journalism and Media 1 Writer
My name is Molly Julian, I am currently in MHS Journalism 1. I am a sophomore here at Marist. I play lacrosse and am a cheerleader for St. Rita  High school. I have 2 siblings and a pug, and I’m also an aunt! In my free time I like to hangout with my friends and watch Greys anatomy. I attended Mt. greenwood elementary school. I’m ecstatic to be in Journalism!

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