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Recession-friendly prom dresses? It can be done.

April 28, 2009 |  7:00 am

Prom fashions

Signature events like weddings and proms are being reshaped by these tough financial times, as The  Times noted over the weekend.

While features writer Susan Carpenter tracked the growing popularity of courthouse weddings and offered a glimpse of how people are managing to throw a wedding with all the (budget) trimmings, Business writer Tiffany Hsu told of teens opting for proms without the frills. "Out are $1,000 dresses and salon waxing treatments," Hsu writes. "In are consignment-store outfits and drugstore beauty kits. Kids are ditching rented limos for the family car, and even clambering aboard school buses in their formal wear -- hardly the dream coach that many had envisioned whisking them to their big night."

But the currency of style, as any "Grey Gardens" fan knows, is imagination, not cash. And in our quest for a showstopping dress -- an occasion-maker that would work as well for a wedding party as a prom -- we turned to that inexhaustible font of eternal cheap chic: the vintage shop. To see what a practiced eye might spot, Times reporter Melissa Magsaysay challenged soon-to-be-hitched fashion designer Wells Butler to find a rehearsal dinner dress for under $100. Melissa totally won, but Wells had a lot of fun finding a cheap, bohemian-style look that didn't break her piggy bank. (Think $48 for a gorgeous one-week rental.)

What about you? Planning to tie the knot or promenade soon? How are you cutting costs? Or do you have fond memories of your penny-pinching weddings and/or school dances? Share your tips in our comments section.

-- Whitney Friedlander


Simple weddings: Get me to the courthouse on time | Photos

A wedding with all the (budget) trimmings

Wedding dresses, cheap and chic

Opting for prom without all the frills

Bridal wear: It's a vintage throwdown | Photos

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Photo: Adolfo Camarillo High School seniors Ashlee Lopez, 17, left, Clifford Williams, 18, and Chloe Shavers, 18, walk the runway during a prom fashion show held on campus to boost interest in the upcoming event. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times