Feels like spring's on its way. Your closet, however, says otherwise. No matter a woman's age, this time of year evokes a near-primal urge to buy a frivolously pretty dress. Promgoers have a good excuse, but I encourage the rest of you to try on a hot little number or two, if only for the chance to bare your legs in public.
306 State St., 310-5866, www.citrineonline.com
What: The best assortment of colorful and unique dresses in town. Between the tulle dresses with Mother Ginger-style skirts and the sleek satin gowns of Oscar-knockoff proportions, it was no small feat trying to stuff everything I wanted into one tiny fitting room. My friend Ilsa and I spent easily an hour twirling in front of the mirror, and our results ranged from breathtaking to cringe-worthy. Worth it for the chance to feel alternately like a pretty Disney princess or a US Weekly cover story.
Who: Celebrity junkies, local retail supporters, eclectic fashionistas.
How Much: Keep a few Franklins on hand, to the tune of $175-$500.
8118 Mineral Point Rd., 827-6080, www.davidsprom.com
What: Seventeen magazine-endorsed gowns with plenty of bells and whistles for a prom queen wannabe. A cornflower blue trumpet-shape dress with rouched bodice and sweetheart neckline ($289) is the trendiest style of the season.
Who: Debutantes, only children, girls aching for a photo op.
How much: Pricier than my mother would have liked; dresses range from $150 to $300.
4530 Verona Rd., 271-4687
What: So-ugly-they're-beautiful bridesmaids dresses, '80s taffeta holiday gowns, and second-wave-feminist power suits
Who: Disaffected youths, urban hipsters, theater geeks.
How much: You couldn't spend over $40, even if you tried.
702 N. Midvale Blvd., 232-2400, www.macys.com
What: Reasonably priced dresses with the consistent, if not spectacular, quality you'd expect from a large department store. Peruse the selection of the prom mini-dresses, particularly a bubble-hem number by Morgan with a glittery mesh overlay and satin sash ($118).
Who: Working girls, short-skirt lovers, those prone to spilling.
How much: Affordable - it's possible to keep the total under $150, including accessories. And don't forget to have your makeup done at the Dior counter for free.
114 West Towne Mall, 829-0821, www.menswearhouse.com/tuxedos
What: For the men in your life, this formalwear edition of the Men's Wearhouse offers everything from pre-styled looks to date-specific color coordination for vests and cummerbunds.
Who: Prom kings, thoughtful boyfriends, young men on a short leash.
How much: Varies - but plan on renting, boys, unless you have $300-$400 to spare.