Party Clothes

Getting everything you want for the prom can be hard enough in good times.

The perfect dress. Matching shoes. Accessories.

Don't forget your hair, nails and makeup.

High-end stores sell prom dresses that can range from $150 to $1,000. Shoes also can send your bills sky high.

A French-tip manicure and pedicure can cost around $40. An up-do for your hair can cost $40 to $50. Getting your makeup applied will run you $50.

So how do you fulfill your wish list in the middle of a recession, when your parents are putting you on a tighter budget?

An alternative to buying straight from the store is to "take a basic piece and add your own embellishments or buy a vintage dress and adding a belt," said thrift-shopping adviser Emika Porter, who runs Haute Thrif'Ture.

Another way is to buy from secondhand stores.

Consignment store Ritzy Rags carries high-end labels that normally cost $3,000 to $4,000. The price at Ritzy Rags is one-tenth of that, $300 to $400.

"To cut back on the cost of everything, my mom actually made my dress," says Palo Verde High School senior Melissa Sasaoka.

That brought the cost of her dress to around $70. Sasaoka and her date are splitting the cost of the night. "We want to have the best night possible with the least amount of money," she says.

Kate Geonzon, a senior at Centennial High School, bought her dress for about $100 at Macy's. Her budget was around $300 to $400.

Not all kids are so budget-conscious.

Lauren Feather, a junior at Faith Lutheran High School, says she bought her dress for $250. She says expenses were not a major part in any of her decisions for the prom.

But for those who are concerned about budgets, the cost-cutting doesn't have to stop after the dress, shoes and accessories have been purchased.

"I always get my hair done at a beauty school," Sasaoka says. "They do a great job every time with less than half the price." She is going to go to a neighborhood nail shop to save money as well.

The Euphoria Institute of Beauty Arts and Science will apply makeup for $10, and an up-do for $20. Nails can be done for $15.

After your night is over and you're done with your dress, instead of having it sit in your closet, you can bring it to the Refinery Celebrity Resale Boutique store, which will give you half the price of what they sell it for.