Editor's note: Three local high school girls are preparing for prom, picking out the perfect gown and accessories. When we last left them in a series of vignettes published in last week's edition, the girls were trying on dresses and selecting the perfect one for their special night out. Did they all find what they were looking for?
Taylor Altier spent just 15 minutes in the dressing room at Group USA, a formal clothing store in Concord Mills mall, before she came out wearing "the dress."
The dress, a beautiful yellow satin, is nearly identical to one she admired from "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days," a romantic comedy that is one of Taylor's favorites.
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The dress is the first that Taylor tries on at the store and after it, no other dress compares. Taylor looked at herself in the mirror wearing the yellow satin dress, pulling her hair first onto the top of her head, then letting it hang down, trying to decide the perfect combination of dress and hair style.
Her face shows her excitement at finding exactly what she wanted.
"I don't want to try any more dresses on, mommy," she said. "This is it. This is the one."
Taylor tries on several more dresses, including a white dress that caught her eye and a navy blue that she was drawn to. But Taylor remains sold on the yellow dress. She looks much like Kate Hudson, the lead character in the movie, when she steps out for a night out on the town with actor Matthew McConaughey. When McConaughey sees Hudson, swathed in the yellow satin, he says simply, but breathtakingly,
With tears in her eyes, Amy Altier, Taylor's mom, smiled at her daughter in the yellow dress and echoes McConaughey's words from the film.
"Beautiful," she said. "You're beautiful."
"Oh, my God, Emily," Beth Goins exclaimed about a black gown her daughter cut the corner wearing. "I love that one."
But Emily, 18, a senior at Nation Ford High School, wasn't impressed. She had to find the right gown -- not a repeat performance -- for her senior formal, slated for May 2.
"I don't want to wear black because I wore it to the prom last year," she said crossing her arms over her chest. "They don't want a low cut."
The dress was a winner with Emily's good friend, Debbie Vreeland. The junior Nation Ford High student admired its slit.
"That's a possibility," Beth said as Emily returned to the dressing room at CB's, a popular Lancaster business that offers an almost endless array of formal dresses, shoes and other accessories. Several prom-shopping teens modeled gowns for their families before Emily emerged in a leopard pattern.
"I don't like that pattern," Emily said dismissing the gown. "I don't like the bottom," but, "I like the top."
Debbie didn't hide her dislike.
"I don't like the way it lays," she offered.
Then came a lilac, low cut gown.
"This is so 80s," Emily said.
Debbie added, "I don't like the way the ruffles lay near her hips."
Emily returned to the dressing room and popped out in a low cut, yellow sequin number.
"That's pretty, Emily," Beth said. "It would have to be taken up."
"I like it," Emily offered as she turned in the mirror. "I like the back."
Emily retreated as Debbie spotted a blue dress and carted it to the dressing room.
"She probably keeps thinking 'why do they keep bringing dresses to me?'" Debbie said as she took the blue gown and an orange one to Emily.
Some time lapsed before Emily stepped out in a peach-colored dress.
"A Beyonce look," Beth said.
"Yeah, but Beyonce can't dance," a restricted Emily said. "I can't move my legs."
Yet, the teen liked the dress.
"But you said you can't move in it," Beth reasoned.
Debbie added, "I really like that one because it fits her frame well. I like how the color fades at the bottom."
The gown made the possibility line up, raising the ante to three. Then Beth and Debbie started the gown hunt again. Emily turned her nose up at Debbie's purple selection, but another peach-colored halter gown got rave marks.
"It fits my body well," Emily said. "I like the color."
"It's between that one and the canary," Beth said. "I like simple dresses."
And so the leg work for the May 2 prom continued. Another blue gown failed to make the cut, but an hour and 20 minutes into the search four gowns, including the black, held center court.
"The last time we tried on dresses, it took us four hours to find the dress she liked," Beth said.
Emily sampled another orange dress that didn't earn points and a vibrant blue that needed to be taken up.
"Let me see what else I can find," said Beth, who fingered a black and green leopard print.
"Eww," Emily said.
"Her taste and my taste some time are totally different," Beth explained.
Then it was time for the showdown among the final four gowns, an array of orange and yellow-colored gowns. Only one made the cut.
"I like the way it fits and the color," Emily said of her perfect orange-colored gown.
"You won't have to do much to it," Debbie offered.
"I think it's simple, but it's pretty," Emily offered after a turn and second glance.
Then Beth chimed in.
"That's pretty, Emily," Beth said. "I think that's you. The color looks good."
And the two-hour mission for the perfect prom gown ended.
"OK," a satisfied Emily said. "I'm getting it."
"Last year, it took forever," Beth quipped.
The one in green
Sara Borer, 18, a Fort Mill High School senior, was abandoned in the dressing room at Group USA while best friend Lauren Davis, 17, left to find more gowns.
Five minutes later, the Nation Ford High School senior came back with a handful of styles, but one color stood out - orange. Maybe it would make the cut for Borer's prom this Saturday.
Even though Borer liked orange, she still worried about the fit.
"I should have brought my Spanx," she said, laughing from behind the dressing room door. "I have two more weeks to work out."
Nine prom dresses later, Borer stepped out of the dressing room wearing one that was orange, strapless and beaded with rhinestones.
"I like how it fits and the color and rhinestone make it simple, but not too plain," Borer said.
Davis added, "The prom dress is her best color and perfect fit."
The dress was so-so, Borer said.
"I don't love it, but I like it," she said.
But damage on the rhinestones and a hook was a deal breaker. Borer left the store gownless.
After sidetracking to the food court for some food therapy, Borer and Davis decided to look around the mall for fun.
When all hope was lost, Borer encountered a gown at BCBG Maxazria. The green dress was hiding on the sale rack. She decided to try it on.
"I saw it and thought it was perfect," she said.
And it was.
"It's my size and the right price, cut and color," Borer said.
Davis liked the black jewels on the dress and she believes they accentuate her friend's figure.
"I think Sara will stand out at prom because her dress is unique," Davis said.
Borer bought the gown and stepped out of the store with a bag in her hand and a smile on her face.
"It's a relief," she said.
But there is still more to do.
"The next thing is finding shoes to match the dress, looking up hairstyles and getting manicures and makeup done," Davis said as they left the mall to start their drive home.
Borer faces more preparation but understands prom isn't about the perfect dress or hair.
"This is my last prom," she said. "I want to spend it with my friends."