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Finding the perfect prom dress

Merritt Sellers

Prom night—a magical experience for teenagers in the second half of their highschool career. Etched in your memories forever, you want to make sure it is a perfect night. And at the heart of it all, you want the perfect prom dress. With countless colors and styles to choose from, it may feel like finding a needle in a haystack.

Chloe O’Shea trying on her prom dress (Jenny O’Shea)

Some girls go for a more subtle look and some not so much. Senior Chloe O’Shea went all out last year wearing a periwinkle, glittery, princess ball gown. 

“I’m glad I got to do that before the end of my high school career,” O’Shea said.  “It was very extravagant though.”

O’Shea bought her dress at a boutique down in Burlingame where her sister got her prom dress. There, she got to have that magical moment of finding the dress that you just can’t get online.

There are many ways to go about finding the one, ranging from appointment only boutiques to a second hand prom dress store, to the seemingly unlimited options on the internet. 

One such place is Hello Gorgeous Boutique in Corte Madera owned by Veronica Rivas-Tramontozzi. If you’re feeling clueless about where to start, an appointment with Rivas-Tramontozzi is what you need. Her appointments run about an hour long, starting with getting fitted, then starting the process of deciding what styles to entertain. 

The storefront of the Hello Gorgeous boutique (courtesy of Hello Gorgeous)

“The biggest smile they have on their face will let me know what [kind of] dresses they are going for,” Rivas-Tramontozzi said. “I thrive on making people feel pretty.”

Rivas-Tramontozzi ends the appointment with teaching the client how to properly walk in the dress—a much more complicated task than one might think. Not being able to properly walk in a dress could be a safety hazard on top of ruining one’s night.

Rivas-Tramontozzi started out with other formal wear for wedding guests and gala goers. But during prom season, she was approached by girls asking if she had any prom dresses in her shop.

“I grew up in Los Angeles, and I would go shopping with my mother in these beautiful shops in Los Angeles.  And when I moved here to Marin about 24 years ago, I always wondered, “Where did everyone shop?” Rivas-Tramontozzi said.

So she took it upon herself to fill that void in the community. She found that many girls purchased dresses online and ran into issues with it not coming on time or not being what they expected.

People come from as far as Eureka to get Rivas-Tramontozzi’s expert insight on prom dresses.  Rivas-Tramontozzi goes to fashion shows throughout the year to pick out the dresses for her boutique. This year she has seen a rise in the popularity of barbie pink and sienna, with many dresses having an exposed corset. Many of this year’s dresses are more romantic and subtle versions of the sparkly dresses in years past.

A more sustainable and cheaper way to get your prom dress is through friends and classmates. Most girls don’t want to wear the same dress twice so many dresses just sit in closets collecting dust.

Jane Cort, residential life administrative assistant, had an idea to help facilitate the repurposing of these dresses. 

“I feel like thrifting is such a big thing right now. Everybody’s really learning about fast fashion, and how it affects the environment,” Cort said.

Cort did her best to collect old dresses this year to open a free prom dress store. It wasn’t a super big success; however, she looks more long term and hopes that students will donate this year’s dresses for next year. 

Prom is for making memories you will carry with you forever. Maybe finding the perfect prom dress will help you make the most of your night.

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About the Contributor
Merritt Sellers
Merritt Sellers, Head Illustrator/Social Media Manager/Reporter
Merritt Sellers is a sophomore at San Domenico and a contributor of The Panther Press. She enjoys sailing, sewing, and art.

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