Let me set the stage - The Inaugural Military Ball for Young Girls that Attend a High School That Just Turned Co-ed After 170 years!
As a mother of a teenage daughter (14), the struggle is real to find age-appropriate dresses. The selection is either Holly Hobby meets Little House on the Prairie or Lady of the Evening meets Cardi-B. There is no in-between for a young girl who may want a little class with a little sexy. Then, add strict parameters from the school as to what the dress can and can't look like—modest, full length, no low back, no low front, etc. It's a recipe for disaster with one young hormonal girl and one pre-menopausal mother. I digress.
Our first bridal shop visit ended with 17 overly sequined, My Big Fat Greek Wedding style dresses hung on the "put back" rack. My daughter is petite, very pale and weighs 110lbs soaking wet; she is a baby; she is my baby. Many of the dresses were too heavy for her to even hold up for 7 hours during the dance. There was fabric and tulle in places that didn't need it and not enough fabric and tulle in areas that needed to be covered up! We left frustrated but educated on what was out there to choose.
We waited a week, and I took the leap of faith and brought her to a small boutique named Rockabella, in Saratoga, NY. A quaint little town filled with upscale restaurants, upscale boutique-type shops, and race-track memorabilia. She wanted to go "there" and check it out because some of her friends went there and had good luck. In addition to the school's dress regulations, Mom and Dad also had a budgetary restriction on the dress. First prom, a freshman, her date is a friend only, never going to wear it again, never going to make tea-length, and the list goes on. As we walked into the store, I proclaimed that we were NOT spending more than $250.00 on the dress; that had some wiggle room, but I didn't tell her. (insert teenage eye roll)
In Saratoga, you are lucky if you could find a pair of shorts for less than $250.00 but it was worth a try.
A personal stylist approached us and was very welcoming. I'm sure she heard me yell how much I was willing to spend. Of course, the dress I liked the most hanging in the window display screamed $950.00. Here we go, I thought. My daughter told her the color she wanted, the style, and we were off to the races, no pun intended (Saratoga Springs has a world-famous horse race track, home to many televised races).
She tried on a few, and they were meh. The stylist was honest, and we both liked that. My daughter had more clout in the stylist's opinion than her middle-aged mother (insert mom eye roll).
After about 10 minutes, what appeared to be the owner, took a dress out of a box delivered earlier. They had not even tagged it yet. It was the right color, the right length, and the right style. She walked out of the dressing room, and the bells and whistles went off! Hallelujah! She looked like a beautiful young lady, and it fit her like a glove. It had the low v-neck cleavage look and a cinched waist with beautiful spaghetti straps. I hesitantly, with that mother angst, as not to act as if I liked it, said - do you like it......drum roll. Mommy, I love it AND it has pockets!! All of the other girls in the shop, mothers, stylists, and the owner loved the dress on her!
Of course, it had no price on it—the moment of despair. Would it be in the budget? What if it were too expensive? Why did she have to pull the "one" we liked out of the UPS box?
I had to set the benchmark as a freshman, or as the years went on, we would be in prom dress debt. The owner nervously tapped the keys on the keyboard to her computer while holding the gem in her hand. My daughter was still getting dressed in the dressing room. She said that it would be $389.00. I could breathe. It was a little over budget, but a classy, timeless, age-appropriate dress for her first military ball. She delicately put it in the most elegant garment bag, and we were on our way. Mommy, thank you so much she said. I just love it. I could have cried.
The evening was upon us, and the dress hung flawlessly in my closet. We had it hemmed by a dear family friend that altered it to perfection. She loaned my daughter a beautiful white faux fur stole that accompanied it beautifully. Liv chose gold shoes, and my mom let her have one of her light taupe evening bags with gold embellishments.
I helped her put it on over her head so she wouldn't disturb her prom hair. She wore minimal jewelry. She snapped several selfies and a few Snap Chats, and we were on our way to meet up with her date. His eyes beamed with excitement when he saw her. He said he loved her dress. It was so kind of him. He looked equally dapper in his dress blues for the ball.
The evening went off without a hitch. She said she danced all night and everyone loved her dress. The 305 Facebook likes from the child's mother with the beautiful prom dress post - screamed it was a hit.