Prom season is upon us. These days, finding that perfect outfit is practically akin to shopping for a wedding dress. Luckily, Tampa Bay is rich with local boutiques that will make it easier.
African Fashions Pop Up
Michigan-based fabric and apparel company African Fashions will pop up in Tampa on March 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No one will miss your entrance in one of these dresses fit for the prom queen made from beautifully patterned African fabrics, designed by Yemisi Olorunsola. You’ll find a wide range of sizes. facebook.com/africanfashions
Address: Embassy Suites, 3705 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa
Belle of the Ball Project
This organization makes sure no student has to miss prom because they can’t afford a dress. They collect donated dresses all year and hold “distribution” days during the season. In-need girls can come in and fill out an honor form to get a dress. The $1-$5 suggested donation is merely a request. Distribution days take place March 23, April 6 and April 13. Donations of dresses can be made those days, too, as well as throughout the year. belleoftheballproject.com.
Address: 1210 Holt Ave., Clearwater
Lu’Jeanik House of Fashion
Owner/head designer Shanikki Chantel will make your dress custom, so there’s no chance of a “who wore it better” moment. She’ll work with you to create the perfect silhouette, has access to a plethora of fabric choices and will even recommend an entire hair and makeup look. Dresses take 6-8 weeks to complete. She makes accessories for guys, too, so you can coordinate. No time for custom? She has inventory in stock, too. lujeanik.com
Address: 224 Oakfield Drive, Brandon
Phone: (813) 517- 9904
A vintage look for prom will set you apart, and this Ybor City staple is the go-to, whether you want looks from the Roaring ‘20s, Swinging ‘60s or the many styles of the 1990s. And they solve the issue of vintage size limitations by carrying new fashions in retro styles, including plus sizes. They also have menswear, so your date can look dapper in their stylish jackets and hats. facebook.com/lafranceybor
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Address: 1612 E 7th Ave., Tampa.
Phone: (813) 248-1381
Nikki’s Glitz and Glam Boutique
When the boutique’s motto is “we will make you sparkle,” you’ve found the right place to help you come through dripping at prom. In addition to a wide variety of styles, price points and sizes, they have designers not found in department stores. They also offer layaway. And your date can rent his tuxedo here, too. Mention this article and receive special savings. nikkisglitzandglamboutique.com
Address: 34246 US 19 N Palm Harbor; The Shops at Wiregrass, 28929 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel
Phone: (727) 785-3399
Emelina’s Bridal & Boutique
Emelina’s also specializes in quinceanera dresses, so making girls feel like royalty is their specialty. They will order any dress you don’t see in the store and it will arrive quickly. Bonus: They offer free alterations, so you can get that custom fit. Tambien, ellos hablan espanol. emelinasbridal.com
Address: 9306 N Armenia Ave., Tampa
Phone: (813) 932-1755
CC’s was the first place to spring to mind when I was thinking of places to find prom dresses. There’s little wonder why: They say they have the biggest selection of prom and homecoming dresses in Tampa Bay. Whether you want to go full glam, flirty or edgy, they’ve got you. ccsboutique.com.
Address: Westshore Plaza Mall, 250 Westshore Plaza Blvd., Tampa
Phone: (813) 288-0101
Georgette’s is a popular recommendation, probably because they’ve been dressing south Tampa for more than 40 years. They also have a shoe salon, so it can be your one-stop-shop. And they register your dress with your school, so you won’t have that dreaded “she stole my look” moment at the big event. georgettesfashions.com
Address: 141 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa
Phone: (813) 254-1141
Renting a dress for the big night is a genius idea for the thrifty among us, who know they’ll never wear their prom dress again. Browse hundreds of dresses online, or visit their showroom on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-7 p.m. or by appointment. lendingluxury.com.
Address: 2102 W Platt St., Tampa