Stand Out From the (Prom) Crowd


Ah, the '80s. In Prom-drama classic, Pretty in Pink, Molly Ringwald's character sews her own gown from thrift-store finds.

I admit, it's been quite some time since I've been to a prom, but when it comes to gorgeous gowns, I love them as much as ever. Back in my day, your choices were limited to the one or two department stores or bridal shops in your town, or maybe a thrift store find for the more adventurous. I would have killed for the wide, wild array of gowns available in-store and online today!  Even better, your prom shopping can now support the Vineyard's own non-profits through a few great vendors:

1. Rent the Runway

Badgley Mischka gown for rent on Rent the Runway

I am officially in love with this website. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a red-carpet knockoff, you can rent the real thing for the evening at a tiny fraction of the price. Most gowns ranging in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars retail are available at $50 to $100 dollars, with gowns available at higher and lower rental prices as well.

Prom photo of a happy RTR customer.

Even better than the selection is the Our Runway social shopping tool. View photos of other "real people" in the gowns they've rented for inspiration. Tailor your search to the styles, designers, or details you like best. You can even filter by size to see girls with your body shape in the dresses.

Sure, you have to send it back after a week, but just stuff it in the mailing envelope and off it goes. RTR will handle the dry-cleaning. They've even made the fitting easy by giving you a free second size to make sure you get a gown that fits. Head to prom in a dress you could never afford to buy, and prevent the glut of worn-once gowns filling closets across the country. After all, men rent tuxes all the time. Why should they have all the fun?

Rent the Runway gives 7% of your purchase amount to Tisbury Turkey, so your evening will be extra sweet knowing that a Vineyard charity benefits, too.

2. Betsey Johnson Planet Blue & More

Skip the bridal shop sequins-and-taffeta tradition and try something a little different. Many of our partner stores carry beautiful gowns and dresses for every taste. Check Betsey Johnson for something a little edgy, Donna Karan for sophisticated glamour, Coast for something flirty and fun, or Planet Blue and Swell for a sexy-flowy-beachy feel. Lane Bryant carries a cocktail dress or evening gown for every taste, and of course, you can find anything at Amazon.

Planet Blue

Betsey Johnson


Check out our store guide for a full list of stores including great sources for shoes and accessories like Steve Madden, Ross-Simons and more. 


3. ThredUp

Go consignment. There are a variety of websites for finding used gowns out there. We've partnered with thredUp, which has a great selection of cocktail dresses and evening gowns. The selection changes fast, though, so check back often to find your perfect dress. You'll protect the environment by wearing used, and you can still play dress up all summer long.

So there you have it, a few Prom gown ideas to put you on the best dressed list and Do the Vineyard Good.