All of us face obstacles in life. Too often, we succumb to them. That joyless result is not inevitable, however; we can strive to leap over hurdles in our path. My obstacle -- being considered male -- is larger than many impediments, but that only means that I need to dig deeper to overcome it.
Years ago when I started riding motorcycles, I saw a sticker among the hundreds of slogans available to bikers. (We put stickers on our helmets.) The sticker said, "It's Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood." That message encourages me: it prompts me to re-live earlier experiences, this time in my true self.
Michelle suggested to me that I live out this dream, to the extent I now can. I thought about that suggestion, long and hard.
I then decided to do a Prom Project. During the past two months, I've tried to re-create as much of the female prom experience as I can. The process ended yesterday with an elaborate photoshoot that took extensive planning and effort to set up.
The photography was done by my talented friend Jamie. My sweet friend Debbie did the makeup. (You've seen how Debbie's makeup advice has improved my pictures since her first tutorial.) My girlfriend Nicole attended the photoshoot to offer moral support -- and ended up holding a light-reflector. :) Robin provided support, as well.
The biggest decision was the dress: what should I get? I was torn between short and long. A short dress would look attractive and a long dress would indulge my fantasy of looking like a princess. After thinking about it, I suddenly realized: why not get both! I'm only taking pictures, not going to an actual prom, so there's no reason not to experience both types of dresses. I bought two dresses, each of which appeals to me for a different reason. Here they are.
The pleasure of planning the Prom Project was enhanced by sharing the excitement with my girlfriends. I kept them informed on my ideas and the success of my efforts. They offered valuable feedback on numerous points. (Thanks, Debbie, for steering me away from the white shoes.)
I didn't expect the prom experience to become as realistic as it did. A few days before the photoshoot, when everything was falling nicely into place, I suddenly got a pimple!! AAAGGGHHH!!! That hadn't happened to me in years. Now, all I could imagine was that it was going to ruin everything; that you guys would be so focused on its gargantuan prominence that you wouldn't see anything else in the pictures. I worried like an insecure teenage girl. Of course, I was overreacting: the pimple went away by itself. Whew!
I also learned new things. Debbie warned me to be careful not to pick a lipstick-color that would clash with my dress. It never occurred to me to coordinate makeup and clothing like that.
The process was also a catalyst for visiting new stores and areas of stores I've never seen: e.g., the handbag department; the beauty section. I bought my earrings from company named Cinderella's Pumpkin -- how perfect is that!
After acquiring dresses and accessories, I staged a dress rehearsal. Alone at home, I put on clothes, played nice music, danced around like a schoolgirl and imagined myself at a fancy ball. I looked out the window waiting for a horse-drawn carriage to whisk me away. :)
The Prom Project was joyous and fun. I enjoyed it; I learned from it; and I want to share it with you. I hope you like the pictures as much as I enjoyed creating them.
After the photoshoot, I realized my dresses had only been worn once, with no alterations, so it'd be a shame to put them in a closet. I've decided to donate them to a local organization which provides free prom-dresses to girls from poor families. I hope these dresses find new life and bring joy to someone else.
I'm eager to hear what you think of my idea and its execution.
First of all - both dresses are beautiful and you are stunning! I think it's great that you did this. Friends of mine were part of organizing a LGBTQ prom in our city - the idea being that it would be a safe space for anybody and everybody who didn't get to fully enjoy their own prom experience. Apparently it's a yearly event now!ReplyDelete
You know, I missed out on a prom, too. I never made it to my own, and my boyfriend (later husband) decided at the last minute that he didn't want to go to his. There is an incredible draw to go. Even my tomboy daughter who eschews anything femine gets giggly when she goes to one of the formal events.ReplyDelete
Having an older sister with tons of girlish tendencies and a love of clothes ensures that there is always a selection of both formal wear AND accessories in this house, so we generally only shop for a MAJOR event, and then its just the dress. Its kind of fun with all of us running around at the last minute trying to find gloves or the right strap for the purse.
I have to say, the blue was a much better choice in my book. :) VERY pretty! The seated pic is great.
I'm glad you're getting to dress up; now if only we can host a special "prom" for those of us who didn't get to have the experience as it should have been.
Thanks for posting!
Omg I have been waiting for this post! Both dresses look amazing, I knew you could rock that pink like the Barbie-doll I know you are but that blue! A perfect princess! The one with you sitting with the dress around you? I am sure a million teenage girls would have died to look that pretty for a prom photo. I am glad that the experience was such an amazing one for you with your supportive friends. And I am happy to hear that you just made two girls prom dreams amazing come next year. You truly are amazing inside and out!ReplyDelete
You look stunning! Congratulations! :) I am so happy to see you experience this wonderful rite of passage.ReplyDelete
Your makeup is just gorgeous. I think I prefer you in the blue dress. I totally applaud you for living out this dream.ReplyDelete
I am so proud of you.ReplyDelete
Omg, Ally, you look AMAZING! Both dresses are so beautiful, and the happiness I see in you actually makes them MORE beautiful! I went to both my senior homecoming and senior prom with one of my best girlfriends. For both dances, I bought two dresses that I thought were the most beautiful in the world. It was really empowering. I can tell you had a wonderful time doing these photos. Thanks for sharing this :-)ReplyDelete
:) I'm so glad you did this for yourself. I only wish you would have bought yourself a tiara so you could be prom queen! I was at mine and it just takes that special feeling and multiplies it. You look soooo beautiful!!!ReplyDelete
Wow, wow, wow. Fabulous post. Congratulations! Both dresses are very pretty, but the blue is my favorite. Your girlfriends did a great job with the pics. And the makeup? Perfect. It makes you look very young and very classy. I love the pic of you in front of the prom store. You summed up the whole preparation process well. Prom is always such an event. Everything needs to be planned and then planned some more. Lucky you got to get two dresses. Deciding between favorites was always the worst. I'm so glad you decided to do this. You are absolutely glowing!ReplyDelete
You look Gorgeous in these pictures! The makeup and dresses are Just Fabulous and Amazing! I am so glad that you did this! I agree that it is never to late to have a happy childhood. I LOVE that quote and live by it.ReplyDelete
This post made me smile! You look great. I also like both of the dresses but the blue one is my favorite. Its very cinderella-ish!ReplyDelete
FANTASTIC!! these photos are gorgeous and you are just radiating!! I love that you did this for yourself!! I totally love it!! and my most favorite photo is the second to last one, so gorgeous!! You picked absolutely perfect dresses and you look amazing!! xoxo JReplyDelete
I smiled from ear to ear reading this. :D You look gorgeous and I LOVE both dresses on you!ReplyDelete
Wow Ally, just WOW. What a wonderful project; how sweet of all your girlfriends to help you realize your dream. You're right; prom is a rite of passage and many girls' first foray into glamorous dressing. I remember searching for weeks for just the right jewelry, makeup, bag; everything had to be perfect (actually the build-up was way more exciting than than the dance itself!). I'm so glad you really immersed yourself in the process and got the full experience -- and you look gorgeous!ReplyDelete
OMG! That pink dress is totally PERFECT on you! I think it was a smart buy because all that tulle creates an hour glass silhouette - giving you some hips. ;) GOOD for YOU for making this happen! You look lovely.ReplyDelete
this is wonderful! i love that you were able to experience the prom experience. i like both dresses! long and short are both fun. and you also have really nice legs!ReplyDelete
You are gorgeous and truly look like Cinderella who just stepped away from the clutches of her evil step-mother (societal imposed restrictions) and turned into a princess by fitting into the right shoe (letting go of all past baggage!!) I give you a standing ovation for your bravery and courage to non-conform and shout out aloud Encore! Encore :)))))ReplyDelete
You look so gorgeous! And your make up! I love everything about this whole idea and shoot!ReplyDelete
Oh Ally! Your first prom!! This is so touching - I feel like your proud mom or something... I don't really understand the whole "prom procedure", (it looks like a beauty competition to me and I'm not sure it's very healthy for young girls... maybe a cultural difference here?). But I know about unfulfilled dreams and I'm so happy you got to live the experience you were dreaming about! I'm even happier it turned out that spectacular! You look great with those dresses and make-up!! I love the blue version and all the details that you've paid extra attention to (nails, hair, clutches, flowers)! Kisses dear :)ReplyDelete
Wow, that is such a great idea! Good for you that you had the time and means to plan it all and make it happen... I love both dresses - the first one recalls a modern version of the sugar-plum-fairy, the second one is also absolutely fairytale gorgeous! And you do look very feminine in them, I would never have judged you as a person without curves :) It's very good of you to donate them, too. I don't think I could have done it - my prom dress is still living in the back of my closet, even though I hardly have an occasion to wear it, but then I made it myself, and since it was the first strapless dress I made, it turned out less comfortable than it could have, so I don't want to make anyone else wear it *or* to give it up for myself (took me three weeks to make the darned thing!). I might take inspiration from your project and re-work it to fit me with more ease so I can wear it again. You know how bloggers sometimes stage internet-wide "tea parties", or "sleepovers", or "garden parties", or the like, where everyone gets to send in a picture of themselves in an outfit for the occasion? Maybe we could do this for prom! Those who had a prom could talk about our actual experiences, and - since few proms turn out ideal - what we would have wished to have happened differently, or what they would wear today, and those who didn't (either because they were outwardly living in the wrong gender at that time, or simply because it isn't done that way in their culture, or for whatever reason) could just live an approximation of the experience like you did with your project! What do you think?ReplyDelete
We don´t have proms in Spain, so i cannot understand very well; although I understand the fulfilment of a dream.ReplyDelete
You look beautiful beyond believe.
Love both dresses for different reasons.
Wow, wow, wow! What cherished memories you have now made, and pictures to always look back on too. You must be so happy :)ReplyDelete
Ally, You make me so proud and inspire me so much it can't be expressed in words. I will save this post to reread again and again just as a reminder to myself that dreams do come true, no matter how impossible they might seem at the time.ReplyDelete
Good on you for being an 'out' blogger! ... I am a queer fashion blogger and we seem to be few and far between eh? keep doing what makes you happyReplyDelete
Ally, what a fantastic project. Have you though of throwing a prom party? Perhaps your local friends ( I'd come if I lived closer ;) could all get together and dance and frolic and have cocktails? Just a thought that bubbled to mind as I was reading this post. One more step closer to your dream of a "real prom".ReplyDelete
Not for nothing, but mine was not a good time and I'd love a do over :)
You look absolutely beautiful in both dresses! I love the subtle makeup and princess fairy like pink dress and the bolder makeup and teal ballgown. Wow! I didn't look half this good at my prom! And I love northeastchic's idea of a prom party- everyone loves to dress up and you could play music, take photos, have food!ReplyDelete
Yes!! The culmination I've been waiting for!! Oh, Ally, you look SO SO pretty!! Everything came together just perfectly. The dresses, the setting, the jewelry, the hair & makeup, all of it. You know, I don't think I have ever seen you smile THIS big in pictures...your happiness just shines through as you're lit from within.ReplyDelete
I think the blue one is my fave only because it's so Cinderella-y! Really love the pic of you with the skirt swirling around you as you sit. So princess-y and elegant.
I should've known your generous heart would want to do something like donate the dresses. You're one of the most giving people I know.
I had to chuckle just a little at the pimple. When you really visualize something, you obviously don't go into it half-hearted!! heehee
Maybe I should just let you revel in this a little longer...but I'm already eager for what's next! A wedding project, perhaps??
I always seem to think of something else to say after I comment. :)ReplyDelete
I wanted to add that it's really inspiring to hear you say something like, "My obstacle -- being considered male -- is larger than many impediments, but that only means that I need to dig deeper to overcome it." You don't sit around just feeling sorry for yourself...you do everything you can to realize your dreams. Though I'm sure you have your moments (you're only human), you're the type person who chooses to look at the positives instead of dwelling on what many would view as limitations if it were them. People face challenges every day, and your example proves that we should all be staring them down and proving them wrong! Life is what we make it.
You are so deserving of all the wonderful things coming your way.
Amazing you got to do the prom experience! It's so much fun picking out a dress and matching accessories. (Also, getting a pimple right before prom is definitely part of the experience!)ReplyDelete
Both looks came out amazingly. The pink dress looks absolutely gorgeous on you!! And I love how you coordinated everything.
I love both dresses. And I love that you did this. Dreams do come true. May I have this dance?ReplyDelete
So, the zit thing was hilarious. I'm glad it went away as quickly as it appeared, but I also think it was perfect for the project. Your body was cooperating to help fulfill your wish.
You are my hero. I adore you.
Ally - I think it's fabulous you were able to live this experience.ReplyDelete
It's also made me think about my prom, which was sad because I went with one of the loves of my life and watched him make out with another girl that day. It killed me. It still does.
Anyways it also reminded me of how much we take things for granted - and how long you had to anxiously wait for this moment !
I loved all the attention to detail from the gorgeous princess like dresses to the make up, jewelry, shoes, the headband and most certainly the corsage.
I thought your friend was just a fairy ! a corsage ! it could not get any better.
You have a big heart - donating the dresses is a marvelous gesture - i hope the girls that get them look as pretty as you did wearing them.
I have to say that in this particular photo shoot there is a shine, a spark of happiness in your eyes - it's priceless.
Ps have I told you, you have the nicest skin ?
I LOOOVE IT!!! You look STUNNING Ally!!! The pink dress actually reminds me of the prom dress I wore my sophomore year! It was shiny and pink like yours but it went past my knees. Your dress flaunts your great legs!ReplyDelete
I love the long, blue gown too. How southern belle of you! The poses remind me of one of my favorite characters, Scarlett from Gone with the Wind!
Love, love, love!!!!!!
Two dresses is no big deal! One for Junior Prom and one for Senior Prom, yes? :)ReplyDelete
Very pretty and well done. Looks like the whole experience was a lot of fun!
Oh wow Ralph! First thing: Both the dresses are stunning and I really can't choose which one I like best! Second thing: I am SO proud of you for doing this. You really went for it and made your dream come true, and not everyone has the guts to do that, so well done you. Honestly, I couldn't be happier for you, I have this massive smile on my face. =]ReplyDelete
Oh and donating the dresses to that wonderful charity was a really lovely idea too.
Eeey I can't get over how proud I am of you! x
It came out so great! Words cannot express how happy I am that you got to experience all this. I especially loved reading what you had to say about the experience. The photos look wonderful, and very authentic... like true prom pictures! Both dresses look every bit spectacular on you, as I thought they would! The painted nails, accessories, corsage... It's all so perfect.ReplyDelete
And I love that you donated the dresses. That is so like you. Always thinking of others and always being such a giver. You're an inspiration!
Sending you BIG HUGS!
So glad you got to experience this!! You look absolutely lovely... love your selection of dresses and accessories, and the makeup looks awesome! Good for you :)ReplyDelete
It's so awesome that you did this!! I love it. The pictures are so pretty =) The pink dress is so awesome and i love the shape. And the blue dress is so elegant and magical. Kind of like a disney princess! Such a cute post!ReplyDelete
OMG! look at you, you look like a fairy, a princess...you look beautiful when you're dressed like that, awesome job overall and robin is so nice to support! I missed my Junior prom bec I was bullied as a worse dresser, i told you about this before, but came senior, i designed my prom dress, and had a new hair style, and first time to appear in make up..guess what happend? two guys fought each otehr for wanting to dance with me!!sigh!!!!! that is so kind of you to donate them...=)ReplyDelete
You absolutely rock that turquoise dress, the colour is fabulous against your skin and you look amazing.ReplyDelete
We've only just caught on to the prom thing here in the Uk recently, it was a school leaving disco when I was 18 and having attended a single sex school wasn't really a great deal of fun. x
I have more to say than this obviously but I'm on my phone so I'm going to make it short and sweet: you look gorgeous, my fave is the short pink dress, and I love that you donated the dresses! I'll be back with my computer later. :)ReplyDelete
You look so friggin' gorgeous. I can't get over how beautiful you are! Both dresses are stunning, but I really love the long dress on you. I am so happy that you finally experienced the prom as you always dreamed of experiencing it. :) Congratulations!ReplyDelete
This is such a beautiful post. You did something wonderful for yourself, and then further contributed to other people's happiness. You look amazing in both dresses. I especially love that pink one!ReplyDelete
I missed out on prom (homeschool kid), but got something better - a wedding dress months after graduating. There's something wonderful about dressing up and feeling like a princess for a day.
You look so happy in your dresses!
Wow!!! This is beautiful. You look great in both of them. I am deviating towards the blue one more ... You look like a princess in that one! And like everyone said, you look happy which is the best part!!!!ReplyDelete
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ohh, like a princess! :)ReplyDelete
Gee - it has been ages since I have been able to leave a message - I do visit often though - I love the Prom Project - Stunning idea - you look lovely and the dresses are so beautiful - Wonderful that they are going to make other girls feel like princesses - What more could a pretty dress ask for...I also loved your advice to Ashlee on Dear Ally - in fact have used it on my own blog this evening - Hope I have not broken any Blog Code of Ethics...Lotsaluv...ReplyDelete
Okay, so, now that I'm seeing these pictures on an actual computer, I'm changing my mind. I totally like the floor-length dress better! I mean, I LIKE them both, but that one is so special. Real Cinderella-esque, which I know is what you were going for! You have good taste!! I'm so glad you were able to pull this off (not like I doubted you or anything), and I'm happy you have such great friends that were able to help you, too. I think I need a Debbie in my life. Your make-up is spectacular!ReplyDelete
Wow, wow, wow!
You look lovely in both dresses and I like them both for different reasons - but the last photo of you in the blue dress... that's really special. You can see that you're glowing from the inside out.
I'm so very proud of you for following your heart. <3
the blue one definitely reminds me of cinderella! and when u want to dry pimples out fast overnight try using either 100% tea tree oil or toothpaste. both work well!ReplyDelete
Fantasy becomes reality--the princess at your own ball. You look better than I ever did at any of my miserable proms, I'll tell you! In giving this gift to yourself, you gave it to everyone in the world who ever wanted to magnetize an adoring gaze. Bravo.ReplyDelete
I'm sitting here crying tears of joy for you, Ally. You look so happy and beautiful - truly, truly beautiful. I am so glad you got to experience this and be able to try every bit of the prom dress-up, from the hair to make-up, from nails to flowers. To do both kinds of dresses you always dreamed of is such a great idea, and to donate them is incredibly generous and sweet of you. And absolutely typical of your generous and open heart.ReplyDelete
I love that you did a photo shoot. I hope you frame some of the pictures and put them up where they will remind you of fulfilling this dream (I particularly love the one of your blue dress spread around you).
Thank you for your inspiration as well, for every girl (or boy) who's ever been afraid or hesitant to go for what she/he really wants. You're awesome and I feel privileged to know you, in the small way of the blogosphere.
I was hoping that your previous posts and hints would culminate in this post ... I'm with Sheila, just mopping up happy tears at this experience for you.
You look absolutely stunning sweetheart and I wish I could have been there with champagne and strawberries and a carriage on hand to celebrate it with you.
Thank you for always being so true and amazing and in your way, for opening my eyes to how lucky I am to be who I am and live the life I do, I often take so much for granted and this post is yet another reminder to look carefully at my life and see it for what it is and how blessed I am.
Just enjoy your dresses one more time before you send them on ...
Hugz to you and Robin - the more I read your blog, the more I'd love to meet you both!
I'm sitting here with a big smile on my face!ReplyDelete
You look happy... and pretty! I found myself wishing the pink one continued down with a giant tulle skirt, for a princess ballgown look. It was still cute short, though.
And that blue dress was truly lovely. Some lucky girl will just love it.
Funny about how I was just thinking "I hope she donates the dresses when she's over them", than I see that you have!
I'm sure the recipients will feel as lovely as you did... more happiness to share!
And I really wish I had been there to help... I love this stuff!ReplyDelete
I so love prom dresses, they ooze femininity and are so beautiful. I would love to buy my own one day but there are so many beautiful dresses it would be hard selecting just one.
Blue dress looked so lovely on you it was my fav and good on you for donating someone else will be as pleased with it as you were. xxReplyDelete
This posts makes me so happy!! I'm so glad that you were able to live out one of your dreams. Your pink dress reminds me of my own prom dress, just shorter.ReplyDelete
I'm so, so happy you did this! It honestly did my heart good to read this post, and I think you look beautiful, and also radiant in both dresses (though I lean towards the lovely blue one). Big hugs.xxReplyDelete
What a fantastic idea - so glad you tried it out. Of all the photos I've seen of you on here, you look the happiest in these. And it's lovely that you donated the dresses, too.ReplyDelete
I was always fascinated by the idea of a prom, as we never did them over here in the UK. We're not that classy - lots of girls at my Catholic school got drunk at lunchtime and were hiccuping and giggling all through out 'Leavers' Mass'.
How fun :) I think I like the pink dress more than the blue b/c it shows off your fit legs!ReplyDelete
AWESOME! I am in a softball league and a couple years ago we had a themed banquet of PROM. Being a queer league, most of us had either bad proms or never went, so it was a similar feeling - a second chance at a prom our way! It was honestly, one of the most enjoyable evenings I have ever had.ReplyDelete
PS. I LOVE the blue dress on you!
Your prom project brought tears to my eyes...I find your emotional honesty and bravery making it public so very inspiring. I never went to prom...even though I chaired the committee... Kudos to you for recreating a past...and letting the rest of us share in the moment!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Tamera. Very kind of you to say.Delete
WOW! Inspirational, but its too much for me to go into all that right now ...ReplyDelete
Woah! AWESOME!! That blue gown is gorgeous! I'm so glad I found this post!!ReplyDelete
Thank you, buddy! This is my best post EVER.Delete
I just stumbled upon this post today. I love your pictures and your story. I liked the short dress and the heels you wore with it the best. I also would have loved to go to a prom dressed as a girl. As I write this, I am wearing a prom dress (with strapless bra, long petticoat, heels, etc.) I wish that I could be in matching dresses with you and some of your girlfriends and actually go to a prom -- you and me just one of the girls, all dancing together and having a good time. Wouldn't that be fun? I would like to talk further about dressing up in general, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (either you or anyone else interested). Thanks so much. Hugs, Kathe.ReplyDelete
I had never seen this post before. I'm glad you linked to it. What a blast! A brilliant fun idea, and the photos turned out wonderful! I hope that you had the one of you in the blue dress framed. In the close-up shot you are simply beaming...you have princess sparkly eyes : ) .ReplyDelete
You look beautiful in these photos! I'm glad you had such a fun time creating them, and that you were able to experience something you've wanted to for so long.ReplyDelete
The dresses are cut, I love the pink one. BTW I love the style and youthfulness of your hair, it is by far, my most favorite look.ReplyDelete
I hopped over here bc of your link to it today. I love this idea & LOVE how much fun you had! Both looks are so beautiful, I'm glad you experienced both short & long. The shot of you in the blue dress with it fanned out around you is stunning. So happy you embraced this idea & had this moment!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Sara. This was an important moment for me.Delete
Thanks for sharing such a nice Blog.I like it.ReplyDelete
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Dearest Ally! How have I never seen this post before!?!! I love it so much! Your two dresses remind me of the two dresses that Cinderella wore (in terms of colour) on my 1980's cassettes we used to listen to of the Cinderella story. You look so, so pretty and I love the idea of this project.xxReplyDelete