-Be prepared! Most stores register their dresses, so many dresses are "claimed" months before the event. Plan to buy your dress at least three months in advance to ensure you can lock down the dress of your dreams, and also to allow time for the store to special order your dress if necessary.
-Buy in person! Purchasing a dress online may seem simple, but you never know if a dress will suit your body until you try it on. If you must purchase online, do so well in advance from a reputable website: many discount sites send cheaply made knock-offs in place of what is advertised.
-Buy the correct size! Buying a dress that is too big and re-sizing it to fit can be very costly, and may result in having to drastically alter the design of the dress itself. Likewise, a dress that is too small usually cannot be altered to fit correctly without major design changes, such as adding a corset or unsightly side panels.
-Budget wisely! Buy your dress with alterations in mind: the more "bling" or embellishments are on the dress, the more time-consuming (and therefore costly) it will be to alter. Keep in mind that the more alterations the dress needs, the higher the alteration cost. Most prom dress alterations range between $75-$150 (rough estimate only), so plan accordingly.
Altering your dress:
-(Again) be prepared! An appointment is required for the first prom fitting. Call to make an alteration appointment as soon as you get your dress: spots fill up very quickly and will become unavailable closer to the date of the event. Alyssa usually stops accepting appointments about 6 weeks before the prom date, so even if you have not yet obtained the correct shoes and undergarments, at least call to set an appointment for a later date to guarantee your spot.
-Bring your shoes! This is a MUST: if you want your dress hem to be exactly the length you want, you must bring the exact shoes. This is required whether you are wearing high heels or flats. If you show up for your appointment without shoes or with shoes that are "kind of" the right height, Alyssa will be be unable to fit your dress and will be forced to reschedule your appointment.
-Bring your undergarments! Please bring the correct undergarments with you to the fitting, as they greatly affect both the fit of the bodice and the drape of the dress. These may include bras (strapless or convertible), adhesive cups, Spanx, or corsets. Bra cups may also be sewn into the dress by request. As with shoes, Alyssa will be be unable to fit your dress and will be forced to reschedule your appointment if you show up without the correct undergarments.
Picking up your completed dress:
-Be patient! Alyssa will call as soon as the dress alterations are completed (usually about 4-5 weeks). Please keep in mind that Alyssa is very busy with other girls' prom alterations as well, so we kindly request that you refrain from calling asking the "status" of your alterations.
-Try it on! Once your have received the notification call, plan to try the dress on at least one more time to check the fit. Please come in for the final fitting as soon as possible and no later than one week before the event to allow time for necessary adjustments. No appointment is necessary for the final fitting as long as you stop by during walk-in hours (Wednesday-Saturday 12-6).