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When I noticed that it was prom season my mind immediately thought about my junior prom and how shopping for a prom dress was a wickedly horrific experience that ended with a very non-trendy money green spacious gown. Shopping for plus-size prom dresses can be beyond a headache and it’s an experience that could change your life–for better or worse.

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These days young girls are blessed with popular sites that are dedicated to providing tips for plus size shopping and then there are people like Meaghan O’Connor, from Little Lime Dress. Not only is she a wildly amazing stylist here in New York but she’s also an expert in all things size 12 and above. If only I knew her during my own shopping experience maybe I would not have ended up looking like ‘Glenda The Good Witch.’

In case you are dreading hitting the pavement this season in search of the perfect prom dress, Meaghan put together some tips and tricks to help you through the process. You can thank me later (by leaving a comment)!

1. Get excited!  Everything is more difficult when your heart isn’t in it. Whether you are making an appointment at a specific boutique or popping into a few stores throughout the day, if you aren’t pumped about this it’s all going to be exhausting. Get yourself ready by having some ideas of what you’d like to wear. Flip through magazines, scour the Internet and find a few inspirational photos. It doesn’t have to be exact, it just has to be inspiring and don’t forget to turn up the music! Prom dress shopping should be fun, not daunting!

2. Bring your besties. It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as that person is honest, patient and kind. Grab someone whose opinion you value, but someone who isn’t pushy or harsh. You need the truth but you don’t need to cry when hearing it. After all, shopping for prom is about feeling beautiful and having a good time so be sure whoever your shopping partner is understands that.

3. Be prepared. Odds are you aren’t going to wear those droopy undies and “washed too many times the wire is melting” bra to the prom, so why would you wear them to your fitting or while shopping? Foundation is key when dressing, but it is monumentally important when you are a plus size girl trying to find the perfect prom dress. Wear the right bra (make sure it is comfortable, lifts you up and is the right size), the proper underwear and if you plan on wearing spanx or shapewear to prom you should be wearing them to shop as well.

4. Speak Up. No one knows your body better than you do and sometimes those sales girls can be pushy. If you are headed to a boutique or a specific bridal/formal store you need to be ready to speak your mind. If you know what silhouettes look good on you ask to see those first. If you aren’t familiar with your shape and silhouettes ask for help, or before heading out on your shopping adventure check out some blogs or magazines. Don’t lose your voice because the process feels intimidating. Know what you want and don’t be afraid to ask for it. You shouldn’t feel pressured or like you have to follow “fashion rules.” Wear what you are comfortable in, what looks best and what YOU want to wear! It’s your night to shine.

5. Be positive. I don’t care how comfortable you are in your own skin, if you keep coming up empty-handed it can get discouraging. Fit, fashion options, general hiccups throughout the day can all put a damper on a pre-prom shopping party–if you let them. Remain calm, stay positive, feel sexy and be confident. YOU are beautiful and you certainly don’t need a dress to prove that. Sure, it doesn’t hurt, but at the end of the day it’s who you are inside that will shine on that special night. So don’t let the stress of it all get to you. Start your day on a positive note and odds are you’ll end on one too!

Check out this kinda awesome look book from some of our favorite bloggers (Alissa from Stylish CurvesCece from The Big Girl Blog, Chastity from Garner Style, and Allison from Allison McGevna) showcasing trendy plus size dress options. You can also follow their social campaign at #PlusProm14.

#PlusProm14: Plus-Size Prom Dress Look Book
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