May 7, 2008 > All 'prommed' up
All 'prommed' up
By Justine Yan
Photos By Irvington High School yearbook staff
It is May, and with junior proms just behind us, Senior Prom season has again whipped into action. Students from Irvington High School and Washington High School in Fremont are ready for their senior balls on May 10, and Mission San Jose High School will end the glamorous month on May 31 at the San Francisco Galleria. The Milpitas High School senior ball will be held on the 17th, while Hayward High School follows on the 19th and Logan High School students prepare for the 23rd. Locations include the Hilton and GiftCenter Pavilion in San Francisco, and the USS Hornet, with themes like "Beyond the Sea" and "Under the Stars."
With so many preparations and decisions to be made (aqua or green?) before the big night, it is important to realize just how much the Tri-City area offers. To provide our readers with a taste of what is out there, TCV has compiled a list of potential stops on the search for must-have accessories, the perfect dress, a flattering tuxedo, and an unforgettable red carpet experience.
For those who do not mind slightly higher-end prices, Men's Wearhouse in NewPark Mall seems to be the one-stop place of choice. Complete packages, including vest and shoes, range from $110 - 160. Students are also encouraged to earn a free tuxedo rental and cash rewards by recommending Men's Wearhouse to others.
Dedicated to making prom affordable to everyone, Formal Headquarters, located within Sears at NewPark Mall, offers basic tuxedo rentals starting at $40 for students. With each purchase, Formal Headquarters donates a percentage of the profits to the customer's high school. Though the basic package does not include shoes and a vest, accessories are may be rented separately. Formal Headquarters boasts the largest selection of brand name tuxedos in the area, and is willing to make special orders of unavailable styles upon request.
Tuxedo Wearhouse at Great Mall in Milpitas offers basic packages for prom starting at $40 as well. If students chose to select packages with "everything," including shoes and a vest, the cost begins at $80.
Most girls agree that it is not easy to find "the dress." Many stores recommend that their customers first get a good idea of preferred styles and colors by looking through magazines, and then try on dresses even though do not look suitable at first sight.
When asked where she would look for a prom dress, mall-savvy sophomore Jane Dong from Irvington High School mentioned Jessica McClintock, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and "obviously, Macy's."
"Macy's is a good place," said Dong. Whereas you can't walk into Nordstrom, Jessica McClintock or Neiman Marcus without at least $150 in your pocket, Macy's evening gowns start at about $80. Also, with the store's generous return policy, it's safe to purchase a gown at Macy's early on, and then search for another one later.
Besides a handful of well-known brands and the several large department stores (including Macy's, Sears and JC Penney) located within NewPark Mall and the Great Mall, there are many more local apparel shops that specialize in elegant evening gowns for prom.
Nina's Boutique della Sposa claims to have "everything you need" in one location. The convenient and relatively inexpensive place in Hayward has about 75 in-store dresses, with prices starting at $75. Recently, the dresses have been going rapidly, given the low prices during the major sale that ended last week. Shoes, jewelry and other accessories are sold there as well. A florist is located next door to the store, and a hair salon, Ana's Cuts and Curls, is on the second floor.
Rose, a specialty store selling bridesmaid, cocktail, evening, wedding, and prom dresses offers a wide range of styles and brands with prices ranging from $100 - 400. The online in-store inventory displays the hundreds of dresses available (and their prices) to interested customers. Shoes are also sold.
The Princess Project is a non-profit organization based in the Bay Area that is dedicated to providing dresses and accessories to girls who wouldn't be able to attend prom otherwise. Find out more about donating brand-new or once-used dresses to this organization be visiting www.princessproject.org.
DSW is a major outlet for stylish and affordable shoes. Quality shoes are often priced under $25 in the clearance section. The store also sells pumps, leather sandals and sparkly T-straps for over $100.
At Bakers Shoe Store, a great selection of shoes flaunting the season's latest trends (including "gladiators," "naturals," "textures," "brights," and "buckles") is available. Most evening shoes, from metallic sandals to pastel pumps, range from $60 - 80, while a current sale has cut some prices down to as low as $30. Clutches are sold for about $30 as well.
At Payless Shoe Source, the price of dress shoes and 'special occasion' averages to about $20. By spending less on shoes, students can budget more money into dinner, accessories, limousine services, and other prom costs. Shoppers can also find a small selection of clutches for under $15.
Corsages and Boutonnieres can be found in many floral shops, where flowers, ribbons, glitter, and beads are arranged to match personal taste and outfit colors.
Kimmie's Floral Design is a home-based service. Customers may choose basic, simple, deluxe, and ultimate corsages and boutonni¸res. The artist also receives requests for custom-made arrangements. The prices are less expensive than most, with corsages ranging from $20 - 45, and boutonni¸res starting at $10 each.
Fremont Flowers sells many popular corsage and boutonniere arrangements at a price up to $10 cheaper than some other floral shops. You can call to speak to a specialist any time or talk to a florist face-to-face about customizing options during store hours. Prices average $30 for corsages and $10 for boutonnieres.
You don't have to be a prom queen to be pampered a bit before the night of prom! While searching on www.salonseeker.com, TCV came across a place to cool down and 'pretty up' in Union City.
At Aura Beauty Lounge, you can find several different contractors who currently offer hairstyling and facials, each starting at around $70. All new customers get a 20 percent discount (with a printed coupon from the Web site).
Searching www.limo.com yields a list of choices between various companies serving the Bay Area. Many companies have stretch limos, hummers, SUVs, party-buses, and limo coaches available for rent, each with different hourly rates and a required number of hours. Besides the price, search criterion can include the company's reliability and the number of people that the vehicle will need to accommodate.
Some companies, such as the San Francisco Bay Area Limousines based in Hayward, offer a red carpet service and will roll it out for your grand entrance. Depending on the type of vehicle you choose, a one-way trip can cost $200 - 400 for a 10 - 14-passenger limousine.
The price per passenger for a two-way trip could amount to about $60, perhaps the cost of a pair of shoes or a prom ticket.
Dinner is often included with the purchase of the prom ticket, but if it is not, grabbing a bite to eat before prom is a good idea. Since most limos require a certain number of paid hours, you might ask that the chauffeur come early to take you, your date and your friends to dinner - elegantly. You should still have time left over to head to the dance location afterwards. Fancy restaurants in San Francisco usually require reservations, so plan ahead especially if you and a large group of friends would rather have dinner in the city. Olive Garden, TGI Friday's, and Red Lobster's, and Elephant Bar are good alternatives that are closer to home. Popular places for a post-prom bite to eat are 24-hour places such as Denny's and IHOP, as well as some late-night cafes.
Senior Emmeline Lan of Irvington High School said that after prom she'd choose to have some sort of after-party, so that the guys and girls could get together for a fun bonding experience away from the noise and the crowd. She mentioned her friend's private community pool and clubhouse that can be rented for about $70 per hour. Some other options she said she is considering are singing karaoke, playing laser tag at Laser Quest in Mountain View, and going to Denny's for a late-night meal with her group, "as always."
Though prom is often seen to mark the end of the carefree high school days, it doesn't seem to mark the end of what money can't buy - a night of fun with good friends.
Places to go to get 'prommed' up
Gowns and Tuxedos:
198 Ranch Dr., Milpitas
In Newpark Mall
40650 Encyclopedia Circle, Fremont
6000 Mowry Ave., Newark
(408) 561 0658
102 Great Mall Dr., Milpitas
200 NewPark Mall, Newark
Nina's Boutique della Sposa
925 West Winton Ave., Hayward
416 Great Mall Dr., Milpitas
The Princess Project
43598 Christy St., Fremont
559 Southland Mall, Hayward
1106 Newpark Mall, Newark
2215 Newpark Mall, Newark
37085 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
Aura Beauty Lounge
3961 Horner St., Union City
San Francisco Bay Area Limousines
2513 Technology Dr., Hayward