The verdict is in!

It’s perfectly safe to buy a prom dress in Barrie.

And here’s the rest of the story...

Kid Two and I persisted in her search for the perfect gown for High School Prom. Not totally satisfied with any of the magnificent gowns that presented themselves in Toronto’s fashion district, we came back home.

Frustrated by the duplicates in numbers, sizes, colours, and styles we found John, a designer who sews custom gowns, and we set out to choose a pattern and fabric which would make “the” dress perfectly unique.

We set a time to meet at the local pattern and fabric store. Mother and daughter, coming from two different directions. As I was about to leave the office, the phone rang...

“Mom, there’s one more store we haven’t tried. It’s a bridal store on Bayfield, just near Wellington. Can we try there first and then go on to the fabric store?”

I’m game for anything at this point.

I got there first, to be told by Melanie that prom season is in high gear. She explained which lines were regionally exclusive to their store and helped me find Kid Two’s sizes. And in walked Kid Two. All three of us carried gowns upstairs to delightful fitting rooms, with an easy chair for Mom and lots of room for twirling, mirror-gazing, and a stepping box for height.

As Melanie helped my graduating daughter into the first lovely dress, she casually asked which school’s prom this was for. And she disappeared while we enjoyed the impact of dress one. And then the magic of dress two. And ultimately the sultryness of dress three.

Melanie, as a sales person, was a customer’s dream. Kind. Sincere. Honest. She guided Kid Two away from the taffeta dress explaining that while it’s truly a ball gown, its fabric would be challenging to wear and have fun in at the same time. She listened to my daughter’s perceived figure challenges, commented carefully on all the attributes of each dress, ultimately encouraging her into the right dress for her... and not the one with the highest price tag!

As we went off to “think about it” she tucked the possible dress aside for an hour or so, and confirmed that this design had not been purchased for Kid Two’s school prom.

What a wonderful thing to know that she won’t walk in and see herself standing before her!

We had a coffee, chatted about shoes, and went back and bought what is now the perfect dress. And we thanked Melanie for excellent service.

Two days later, my email registered a letter that went like this... “Someone has just handed me your column of March 17, “Of gloves, tiaras, tulle and satin”, and I have to agree with you. Our daughters deserve to be the princesses that they are on the biggest night of their year.” Liz Maw went on to describe her store and guarantee me that for the past seven years she’s had a gown registry for every prom-buying, and graduation-buying elementary, high school and college student.

She then invited us to have a look at her dresses and enjoy the hospitality at the Bridal Wreath.

Imagine how much fun it was to write back saying we had, and that we’d found the right dress right on her racks two days earlier! What a coincidence!

A day later Jane Jeanes called to invite us to Sandpiper, her store in the Bayfield Mall. A sister store to her Wasaga Beach anchor store, the Sandpiper gowns are exclusive to Barrie, brought directly from Los Angeles. Jane says she carries a full range of sizes and since opening in Barrie five years ago, she’s also been diligent with her gown registry. She and Liz Maw share the same philosophy that a young woman deserves some guarantees on prom night!

Even though we’d made our purchase, I stopped by Sandpiper where Jane explained that right now a dress ordered for a specific size can expect a two-week delivery.

So there!

It’s terrific to have bought “our” dress locally. It’s equally terrific to pick up the best shoes here, too.

Thanks, Melanie. Thanks, Liz. Thanks, Jane. And now... the music!

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