Where To Find Actually Affordable Prom Dresses

Prom season is in full effect, but you don't need to spend all of your savings from your part-time, after-school job or take out a loan from your parents so that you can dress beautifully for prom. Cheap prom dresses are not as elusive as you'd think and you can put together an affordable prom look without scrimping on quality or style.

You also don't need to be Molly Ringwald from Pretty in Pink, cutting and sewing two totally disparate dresses together to create your own Frankenstein prom creation. Unless, of course, that is what you are going for; you can see her epic cutting and sewing below. Even the most DIY-challenged can make it to prom without spending a bajillion bucks on a dress you'll wear once.

There are lots of options for affordable prom frocks online and there are also methods you can employ to seek out a stylish, gently worn option. There's no shame in grabbing a used dress, as long as it's been dry-cleaned. Retro-chic is totally in, and getting a legit dress from the past is even cooler. Plus, hitting up your favorite vintage store ensures you'll find a piece no one else will have — at a fraction of the cost of what most of your peers will pay.

If you aren't a thrifting fiend, there are plenty of under-$100 prom dresses out there that look just as legit as the pricier options. That'll leave you more cash to spend on cool shoes and accessories — after all, you're more likely to be able to reuse them than a big, sparkly gown. Brands like Free People and Urban Outfitters might not specifically market for prom, but their lacy frocks are perfect for the big dance.

Here are 12 cheap dresses that are beyond insanely cute.

1. Peachy Keen

This pretty, peach dress is so lovely and ladylike, and it's deceptively simple. You can shell out less than $25 for the dress and then spend a little more on your heels, your mani, and your updo! ($23, Forever 21)

2. A-List Asymmetry

This jewel-encrusted, asymmetrical confection is so lovely. I could totally see a celeb wearing this type of dress on the red carpet. You will wow your classmates. ($140, Adoring Dress)

3. Pink But Not Too Princess-y

The details of this flirty frock make it so chic, even for prom. It may seem dressed down, but it's so not. Short dresses are in this prom season. ($79, Promgirl)

4. Lacy Lady

If you want to go with some figure-hugging lace, this column gown is an option to take it up a notch ($89, Promgirl)

5. Portrait Of A Green Goddess

This soft seafoam gown has flow. ($74, Promgirl)

6. Mermaid

This straight, strapless dress is somewhat mermaid-like, minus the ornate tail, but it's way pretty and you can wear it for other, non-prom occasions. ($99, Promgirl)

7. Confectioner's Sugar

This fluffy white frock is as sweet as confectioner's sugar. ($99, Promgirl)

8. Like An Oscar Gown

This emerald and black strapless gown is like an Oscar dress at half (or maybe even a third of) the price. Celeb chic is obtainable, even for prom. ($84, Promgirl)

9. Boho Babe

This dusty blue dress has a beachy, boho vibe but I love the heart-shaped bodice. This is playful prom fashion. ($79, Macys)

10. Airy And Ethereal

The bottom of this dress just floats. That, and the delicate blush hue make it airy and ethereal, like an angel. ($79, Macys)

11. LBD And Blinged

Plus-sized lovelies are finally getting plenty of awesome options for prom, like this silky LBD with a blinged out belt. ($49, Ashley Stewart)

12. Think Pink

Long dresses are also a flawless option for curvy girls. This pink dress draws the eye. ($87, Ashley Stewart)

Images: _rachelerin/Flickr; Macy's (2); Promgirl (6); Adoring Dress (1); Forever 21 (1); Ashley Stewart PR (2)