Lisa Pow is determined to take some at least of the stress out of the search for the ideal prom dress.
Lisa, a manageress at the boutique Mousetrap in Chichester’s North Street, is masterminding events for half-term week (October 25-November 1) when the store will be demystifying the whole prom process, for girls and their parents alike.
As Lisa says, for many girls and their mums and dads, looking for the right prom dress is almost like a dry-run for getting married, with many of the big pressures that go along with a wedding.
In a way, it’s even worse. At least at your own wedding, you can be completely confident that no one will be wearing the same dress as you.
The etiquette for a prom-day duplication would be to stay as far away as possible from the your prom doppelganger or maybe even have a back-up plan, Lisa suggests - all aspects Lisa and her colleagues are happy to explore and explain during their half-term activities. Live mannequins in the window will help bring it all to life as part of their Prom Dress Premiere Week.
“We run it so that year 11s can come along and find out what the prom involves, and it is also a workshop for parents to start to understand what it means to the girls. Buying the right dress is so difficult, but it is more pressure for the parents because they want their daughter to look and feel amazing but at the same time they feel their daughter is growing up too fast.”
Plus, every year it all ramps up. Some girls even go so far as teeth-whitening, plus pedicure, manicure, professional make-up and a fake tan. Lisa knows of one girl who even arrived by helicopter. Plus there are the others who change dress mid-evening.
“It can be difficult when a girl doesn’t feel that she has had enough attention. And imagine if you spend £500 on a dress and you are not the only one wearing it! We get to know the girls as they come in repeatedly. They might spend six hours choosing their dress and then change their mind the next week, which is fine.”
In the end, for some they almost start to dread the day because they have invested so much in it: “We want to show them that it can still be great fun and that it is a good idea to start thinking about it early.”