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Around Town Searches for Perfect (Mom) Prom Dress

With the Charlotte's Wings Charity Event less than a week away, I am scouring our town's shops for a fabulous frock.

Ah, the pain and the pleasure of buying a new dress.

Yes, it can be great fun to take a dozen or two dresses into the fitting room — best done with a good friend in tow — and try them on. It can also be a harsh reality check on just how pale you are after a long winter and what the aging process actually does to your upper arms (nothing good, I assure you).

However, with the (aka ) less than a week away, it was time to man up and find a dress!

In pure Patch style, I'm taking you along with the help of my camera phone. You can vote on what I wear to Mom Prom and find out what lessons I learned along the way.

Ruffles, ruffles, ruffles

My first stop was a downtown favorite, , the pretty yellow house on Third Street. What I love about Talulah Belle — besides the friendly staff — is the unique product. With 225 Rochester women in one place at the same time, there's something to be said for uniqueness.

I tried on three dresses at Talulah Belle and loved them all. The watercolor ruffle dress got the most votes from friends and family and, as luck would have it, I saw the perfect pair of sky blue shoes to wear with it from . 

But I tend to wear a lot of black, especially for formal occasions, and I'm not sure I can swing the multicolored dress. While I'm keeping it in mind, my search continues. 

My next stop took me to , where I tried on two lovely dresses that would be perfect for summer weddings but lacked the sass I want in my Mom Prom dress.

By the way, all five dresses were heavy on ruffles. At this point, I'm not sure nonruffled dresses are out there anymore!

Lesson learned: Holy glow-in-the-dark legs, Batman! Time to start the self-tanner!

Day 2 of the great dress hunt

This is what I love about — the selection (where else can you take 30 dresses into a fitting room?) and the sale prices. When Parisian has a sale, it does not mess around. The Friends & Family Sale is going on right now, knocking an additional 25 percent off already great prices. (But please note, the sale ends Monday!)

Needless to say, I started my second day of shopping there, coupon in pocket.

Yes, Parisian has a lot of dresses, and you can't get a good idea of how they look until you try them on. So there I was, in a big fitting room with 30 dresses. And because it's right there, I also ventured into the juniors department and grabbed some of those dresses to try on.

Lesson learned: Even if you can fit in a dress, that doesn't mean you should wear it. Juniors dresses are, well, for juniors.

I did find two dresses I loved, one black asymmetrical dress with ruffles and one in a lavender-silver hue with a flowered bodice. Best of all, with sale prices, I could get both dresses for about $100.

The White House Black Market way

I've heard that does a lot of business, and now I know why. Talk about customer service and the up-sell — White House Black Market has it down to an art.

When I walked in, I was immediately approached and asked what I was shopping for. When I told the associate it was for a charity event, she asked for my dress size and then whipped around the store like a whirling dervish, putting together seven dresses with matching shoes, jewelry, shrugs and the whole nine yards.

A dressing room full of beautiful things was created just for me. However, my time was running short and my minivan was about to turn back into a pumpkin, so I tried on just one of the dresses. Oh, my — it was a knockout. It was also the most expensive dress I had tried on, at $168.

And that is where I stand now — lots of options but no dress in hand. So I ask you, which dress is your favorite?

And I leave you with one last valuable lesson: Even if you're not writing a column about dresses, the phone camera is very handy in helping you remember what you tried on and for getting friends' and husband's feedback. It can also be more honest than looking in a mirror.

The fourth annual Charlotte's Wings Benefit begins at 6 p.m. Friday at the . The event includes hors d'oeuvres, dinner and a cash bar, along with a silent auction and live entertainment. Spots may be reserved by sending a message to charlotteswings@wowway.com. The message should include your full name and number of seats needed. Tickets cost $75 a couple or $40 for individuals.

Speaking of moms

If you are looking for Mother's Day ideas and missed my Friday column, click . It includes ideas on where to eat, what to do and, my favorite, what to buy!

Heather Mir May 02, 2011 at 10:52 AM
Love the Lavender/silver one from Parisian!
Mary Lutzke May 02, 2011 at 12:11 PM
Black off the shoulder is my fave BUT you can't to wrong with any of them really. You look great in them all.
Beth Reeber Valone May 02, 2011 at 12:34 PM
I love the lavender-silver one from Parisian!
pam zdrojewski May 02, 2011 at 12:45 PM
you look stunning in the lavender hued dress from parisian - i LOVE both dresses from Talulah Belle - i think the colorful one might be fun for oh lets just say, a delta zeta reunion...and the white house black market house looks really pretty and figure flattering as well. 1. lavender/silver parisian 2. colorful talulah belle 3. black talulah belle 4. black - white house/black maret have fun!!!
Sherry May 02, 2011 at 01:40 PM
Hands-down the asymmetrical dress from Parisian. looks fabulous!!! if you had to go to a 2nd and 3rd choice, the Silvery-lavendar one from Parisian or the Black one in the right size from White house/Black market.
Elyse C May 02, 2011 at 03:03 PM
I would go with either the lavender/silver one from Parisian or the black one from White House Black Market.
Kelly Gilling May 02, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Black, one shoulder....knockout!!
Lesli Maes May 02, 2011 at 06:30 PM
Seriously, you can't go wrong :) You look hot in the black one shoulder :) Love the lavender/silver from Parisian. Black one from WH/BM looks fantastic too. The colorful Tal. Bel one is fun for a slightly more casual event...
Tracie Gloudemans May 03, 2011 at 12:56 AM
Lavender/Silver from Parisian!
cathy May 03, 2011 at 02:15 AM
The lavender one is beautiful, or I think the colorful one from Talulah Belle would be so much fun!!
Mary Lou Gloudemans May 03, 2011 at 05:24 AM
I agree with Tracie, and Lesli, and Elyse, and everybody elso who gave the lavender/silver their vote, although the one-shoulder black comes in a close second. I could always bring down the black & white polka dot dress from your DZ days. ;o)
Kristin Bull (Editor) May 03, 2011 at 11:23 AM
Thanks for sharing your dressing room decision-making with Patch readers, Laura! The iPhone self portraits are so telling of everywoman's quest to find *the* dress, whether it be for this particular event or a million others. We can't wait to find out which dress you choose when we catch you on camera at the Charlotte's Wings event on Friday night.
MJ May 03, 2011 at 07:36 PM
My vote is for the black, one shoulder dress from Parisian.

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