View Full Version : To St. Louis Dis'ers - formal gown help!

07-20-2011, 01:45 PM
My daughter, who is 9, is going to be participating in the IL National American Miss pageant in early September. We need a floor-length gown! She's pretty tall and is wearing girl's size 14-16, so she's on the verge of moving up to junior/miss sizes.

This will be her first-ever pageant and we are both super excited! A month ago, I never would have imagined her wanting to do something like this. Looking forward to the mommy daughter times this will bring. :)

We are trying to find lesser expensive options, as she'll likely just wear it one time. It needs to have straps and be a solid color (can have beading). The style I really like is halter strap on top with a higher waist. A little poofy in the skirt but not too extreme, as it doesn't need to be glitzy. I think this style will flatter her the most.

I went to 6 stores in my hometown this morning and had NO luck. I live about 100 miles from STL. I found some cute ones @ JC Penney for $20 today but I don't think any of them will work as most are strapless.

Please let me know of any great places to go for reasonably priced formals, whether it be resale or retail stores. Thank you!!!

07-20-2011, 01:51 PM
A suggestion I have would be if you can sew or know anyone who can, buy one of the JCPenny's dresses that looks nice and try to get it a little long. Then hem the dress and re-purpose that fabric into making matching spaghetti straps. Much cheaper and only an afternoon's work.

07-20-2011, 02:12 PM
That's a great suggestion.....I may take her back to JCP and see if we're close on any of them. She is at a difficult size right now.....the junior dresses are going to be too long so we won't be able to find one perfect off the rack anyway. Making straps out of extra material is a wonderful idea. Another potential issue is the bust area. At 9, she obviously has NOTHING to fill in. :) This will definitely prove to be a learning experience for us. I wish I knew how to sew.....I know exactly the style we're looking for and would love to be able to make a dress for her.

07-20-2011, 03:41 PM
I've found some great pageant/flower girl dresses on ebay--brand new. Might be worth a shot. Good luck to your daughter!

07-20-2011, 03:47 PM
Thank you Alleson. I have been looking on eBay but so far haven't been successful in finding something.

This afternoon I found a dress called dress-shop dot com and their prices seem very reasonable - and you can pick your color and put in custom measurements. I've never ordered anything like this online so it makes me nervous. But the turnaround is pretty good (3 weeks I think) so by the time I'd get it, there would still be time before the pageant to make any necessary alterations. I think a custom dress might be the way to go for my girl. Even with a $20 JCP dress, we'll still have to have alterations done, which I'm sure won't be too cheap.

Decisions decisions! This is such a challenge!

07-20-2011, 03:59 PM
We are roughly about the same distance from St. Louis, and I know Dillards in Marion, IL and Paducah, KY both had formal dresses for under $20 (regularly $190+)

There is also a store in Marion called Melisse's Consignments that has some consignment gowns, but she has a good selection of new. She is normally high priced, but she has clearance stuff often. They are very nice, try calling her. I can get you the number if you need it, just pm me.

Burlington Coat Factory sometimes has nice stuff, Gordman's also - both in Fairview Heights, IL (near St. Clair Square)

There is a Mexican store in St. Louis that has tons of gowns, they are used for sweet 15 birthday parties, and they have gorgeous stuff, but you will be paying a few hundred at least.

07-20-2011, 04:00 PM
THE pageant store in St. Louis is a place called Shaely-Bugs. They have branched out into bridal now, but they are still locally known as a pageant shop.

Another possibility is Chatfield's Bridal in West County. They specialize in "modest" formals for religious minorities, which means that many of their bridesmaid and prom gowns are very suitable for a younger girl. (A lot of my DS' classmates wore dresses from there for 8th gr. graduation mass.)

The Quinceanera dress store previously mentioned is probably Novedades Perlita; it is on South Grand.

Also, the local Dillard's clearance center for formals is at their Galleria store, and they also make it a point to stock some more modest styles.

Have you considered asking around at a local ladies' church group, etc., for someone willing to make a dress for you? That way you will get exactly what you want. Depending on who you find, it might not cost all that much (folks who mostly sew as a hobby will tend to charge less than market rates for a project like this.)

07-20-2011, 10:41 PM
Thank you all so much for the great advice so far. We went to JCP tonite and bought one of the $20 gowns in case we can't find something better. I have people who can probably do alterations for us but not sure about the full production of it especially since it's the first weekend of September. Thanks again all! :-)

07-22-2011, 12:07 AM
Another place to try is David's Bridal...they have sales all the time.

The Quinceanera dress store previously mentioned is probably Novedades Perlita; it is on South Grand

Yes, thats the name of the store.

07-22-2011, 12:55 AM
Do you have any thrift stores or consignment stores in the area? Instead of driving to them I would call them and see if they have anything.