Sequins or plain? Tight or flowy? Finding the perfect homecoming dress is the most important part of the homecoming experience. However, it is nearly impossible to find a dress with every other girl also searching for one at the same time. The scavenger hunt for dresses is the toughest battle ever fought, and it doesn’t stop until you find one that looks and feels amazing. 

One of the biggest problems for finding a dress is the timing. For many people, shopping for a dress online is much more convenient than buying one in-store. Online shopping can be done with the click of a finger in the comfort of your own home, and it typically has significantly more options, while in-store shopping lacks decent dresses. While online shopping might seem like the easier option to most people, many dresses take 10-14 days to ship excluding the reshipping period if the dress does not fit. Junior Talia Brodsky adds, “When you order a dress, the shipping date is usually around October 16th.” Not only do the dresses come later than the homecoming date, but many dresses get lost in the shipping process if the company is based overseas. This poses major problems for people buying dresses online, and forces them to resort to in-store shopping and its much narrower selection of suitable dresses; A completely different, but equally aggravating problem.

Now that it has been explained why many people are forced to shop in-store for homecoming, one might intelligently think that they should immediately go to the nearest store and look for a dress there. But wait! When you arrive at the store, there are only three decent dress options left. How could this possibly happen? This is the second biggest problem that every girl faces when shopping for a homecoming dress. 

With every girl in your district rushing to the same two stores, they are bound to go out of stock. Cutting it so close to homecoming, the options get slimmer and slimmer, and the thought of finding the perfect dress slowly begins to seem like a dream. When asked about her own dress shopping experience, Junior Katharyn Nugent states, “I got my dress from Windsor…I had to go to two different stores to find the right dress.” Just like Katharyn, many other people had to do the same when looking for a dress. If a decent dress store is in fact located, one may proceed to start their hunt for gold.

The third and final challenge that ambitious dress shoppers face is the originality factor of their dress. This is a more nuanced judgment category, which makes the shopping mission even more impossible. Talia adds, “Me and one of my friends both actually wanted the same dress.” Talia’s dilemma is the exact problem many other shoppers face when looking for a dress. Shoppers strive to find a dress that checks the three major boxes: comfortability, style, and color. However, as homecoming approaches and more people are shopping in-store, dress options become scarcer, and a dress that fits all the criteria while also being original to the person is extremely rare to come upon. 

What more can be done to prevent this terrible tragedy? Getting a dress earlier than everyone else is the clearest, and by far the best, option. However, as every other high schooler plots the same scheme in hopes of outsmarting others, the vicious cycle will continue to push dress shopping earlier. Others might suggest wearing the same dress from last year’s homecoming. While a temptingly easy solution, this violates the originality factor for wearing a dress. Finding a fun and unique dress is, by far, one of the best parts of the homecoming experience, even if finding the dress itself is nearly impossible.

Alas, dress shopping is a tough, excruciating, and painful activity that should only be done if one has the mental and physical strength to keep up with the constant disappointment of not finding a dress. Despite the situation, hopeful dress shoppers time and time again continue to prevail, and come out victorious with gorgeous dresses. Is there really anything that can be done differently? There are only so many dresses and so little time.

Maddy Friedman ’25


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