I'm A Teen In Vermont — & I'm Paying $370 To Go To Prom

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Welcome to Beauty Diaries, where we're tracking how much money people actually spend on their beauty routines. Whether it's rooted in self-care or self-expression, they explain, in their own words, why it's worth every damn penny.
Today: Two high-schoolers on different coasts break down the costs of attending prom.
Name: Sabrina*
Age: 17/11th grade
Location: Aberdeen, Washington
The theme of our prom is A Thousand Roses and it's being held at a Log Pavillion, so it'll be forest-y and woodsy. There are six of us in my group — three couples total — and we're all pretty chill about the night. We're taking pictures at a local park, then going to a nice restaurant for dinner before. I'm in the Junior ASB that helps organize the dance, so I have to stick around after to help clean up, which will be a lot of fun at, like, midnight (I’m kidding, it’s gonna suck). On the other hand, I have a twin sister and she’s going in a group with 24 people and they’re renting a party bus so, take what you will from that about our personalities.
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Ticket: $25
Dress:
For the last year, I’ve had a Pinterest board of prom dresses I found online, so I just chose my favorite from that and ordered it from Amazon. I’ve done the whole insane dress shopping experience before, but it’s not worth it in my opinion. I live in a small town and everyone goes to the same dress shop, so sometimes a bunch of girls will show up wearing the exact same dress. With shipping, my dress was around $80 and my parents paid for it. After prom, I'll likely try to sell it.
Total: $80
Shoes:
What I really want to wear are my black sneakers with light-up stars on them, but my mom had a slightly different opinion than me about that, so I'll be wearing black heeled sandals I already own for the pictures.
Total: $0
Accessories:
I found a plain black clutch on Amazon that I can use for other events in the future. It was just $13 plus a low shipping cost, and my parents paid for it. For my jewelry, I’m going to buy some velvet ribbon from Walmart and make a choker out of it, which will be a couple bucks. I also made these cute little pearl barrettes for my hair by cutting up an old pearl bracelet and supergluing a bunch of pearls to bobby pins, so when they’re in your hair, it looks like floating pearls. I don't really think corsages and boutonnières are necessary, but I’m pretty sure my date is getting them. My mom will be charmed.
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Total: ~$20
Hair:
I'm going to style my hair myself and wear it half-up, half-down with a tiny braided bun in the back and the pearls. I trimmed my own bangs and re-dyed my hair a dark blue/green ($10 Manic Panic) in preparation, and I'm afraid if I went to a salon, they would be aghast at the condition.
Total: $10
Makeup:
I love a good grunge look (I live in the town Kurt Cobain grew up in, so it’s to be expected), and I like wearing strange or different makeup. I think I’m going to go for lavender eyeshadow and a lavender lip with smoky eyeliner and dewy, highlighted skin. I'm a control freak and only trust myself to do it.
Total: $0
Nails:
My friend is really talented at doing nails and has a lot of professional equipment, so I asked her to do mine for prom. I’m getting plain black gels and she's doing them for free. I’m artistic, though, so I’ll draw her a World of Warcraft character or something in return.
Total: $0
Grand Total: $135

I made these cute little pearl barrettes for my hair by cutting up an old pearl bracelet and supergluing a bunch of pearls to bobby pins, so when they’re in your hair, it looks like floating pearls.

Sabrina*
Name: Gaby*
Age: 16/11th grade
Location: South Burlington, Vermont
I’m on the prom committee and we chose Enchanted Forest as our theme. I went as a sophomore last year with my then-boyfriend, a junior, but I'm going solo this time around. When I didn’t get asked, I figured going alone would mean less pressure to be perfect and to do things with a date. I’m likely carpooling to dinner with my best friend and her date before, and then wrapping up the night at our local diner or her house. I'm definitely looking for low-key.
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Ticket: $25
Dress:
It took a LOT of online research to find and I tried on two dresses before getting this one from an Australian clothing company called Showpo. It was $80 after shipping and my mom paid for it. I'll probably save it after prom — it can definitely be worn other places.
Total: $80
Shoes:
I'm borrowing shoes from my sister's closet.
Total: $0
Accessories:
My mom bought me a clutch TJ Maxx for $40 and a necklace, bracelet, and earrings that were $60 altogether.
Total: $100
Hair:
I'm going to wear it down and with whimsical waves, and my mom will pay for the $65 salon appointment.
Total: $65
Makeup:
Since the theme is Enchanted Forest, I’m going for something glowy, sparkly, and whimsical, with light tones to match my tan-pinkish dress. I'm paying my friend $15 to come over and do it for me.
Total: $15
Nails:
I’ll be getting a tan-ish/white-ish gel manicure done professionally. Once again, my mom is paying the $30 it'll cost.
Total: $30
Facial:
I’m planning on getting a facial a few days before. It'll be $55 and I'm paying with my own money.
Grand total: $370
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

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