Fort Mill Times


Emily Goins, 18, a Nation Ford High School senior, samples a potential prom gown at Lancaster's CB's as the store manger looks on. About two hours later, the teen left the store with the perfect gown for her May 2 prom.
Emily Goins, 18, a Nation Ford High School senior, samples a potential prom gown at Lancaster's CB's as the store manger looks on. About two hours later, the teen left the store with the perfect gown for her May 2 prom.

Prom season and all the glitz that comes with it kicks off in weeks. Some of you have yet to find and purchase your perfect prom gown let alone shoes and jewelry. Fort Mill Times staffers Toya Graham and Jenny Overman and intern Sara Metallo spent some time shadowing three students from Fort Mill, Nation Ford and Indian Land high schools as they took on the prom gown hunt.

Emily finds the perfect gown

It's March 28. Five weeks before the big day and the clock is ticking for Emily Goins.

The Fort Mill teen is on a mission: Find a prom gown. Now!

Flanked by her mother, Beth, and good friend, Debbie Vreeland, the 18-year-old Nation Ford High School senior left Fort Mill this rainy Saturday heading to CB's, a popular Lancaster business that offers an almost endless array of formal dresses, shoes and other accessories.

The mission kicked off at 11:15 a.m.

"We're just going to pick out dresses and she's going to try them on," Beth Goins said as Emily made her way to a dressing room with multiple gowns.

Then Beth Goins flashed a knowing look.

"We tried on a thousand [dresses] last year, and the very last one she tried on was the one we bought," Beth Goins said. "That was the junior prom. It was sort of a last minute thing."

But May 2 is the real thing, the last scheduled senior showcase. And the pressure's on to find the perfect dress.

Minutes later, Emily stepped out draped in a teal number with sequins.

"I don't like that," Beth said. "Not her color."

It didn't get high marks from Debbie either so Emily made her way back to the dressing room, where four more dresses waited.

Meanwhile, Debbie spied a black dress.

"This looks good," Debbie said.

But there's a problem.

"She had a black and white dress last year," Beth said. "She wanted to stay away from black, but she looks good in it."

The two paused as Emily cut the corner dolled up in a vibrant floral dress.

"It was pretty, but it was tight," Debbie said as Emily retreated.

Next up, a canary yellow backless gown.

"I like it, but my gut's tight," Emily said as she surveyed herself in a floor-length mirror.

"I like that one," Beth said. "That's a big possibility. She said she wanted a yellow dress."

Then it was Debbie's turn to critique the dress.

"It looked really good on her, and I really like the back," she said.

The canary yellow number was the first to get the group's approval, but a red dress got the boot before Emily tried it on.

"Even though she looks good in red," Beth said as she waited for Emily to try the black gown and an orange one. Almost on cue, Emily walked out bathed in black.

"Oh, my God Emily," Beth exclaimed. "I love that one."

But Emily wasn't impressed.

"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 Debbie, who admired its slit.

"That's a possibility," Beth said as Emily returned to the dressing room. 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 yellow sequin low cut.

"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 total 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.