Zip Me In

It’s been a while since I’ve been gown shopping, and even though I rarely have a reason to wear a gown, it’s so exciting when I do. Now that I purchased my cocktail dress and swimsuit for Miss New York USA, it was time to shop for the most glamorous part of the competition. I was about to have the one-on-one shopping experience at Boom Babies in Syracuse, NY! Boom Babies sells formalwear, vintage clothing, jewelry, and accessories. It’s located on Westcott Street, and is the most prominent retailer of this neighborhood in the Syracuse University area. 

Shopping at Boom Babies is such a special and meaningful experience. From the time my mom went back to work after her maternity leave, through the time I started preschool, I spent every day with my maternal grandparents, who lived right around the corner from Boom Babies. Growing up, it was a real treat when I’d go in this store, and I’d make a beeline for the formalwear, dreaming of when I would be old enough for prom dress shopping. 

It was surreal when I was finally ready to shop for my junior prom dress. Given their dress inventory, I happily spent over two hours at Boom Babies, trying on potential junior prom and senior ball dresses. Each sales associate was so helpful and patient, constantly bringing more dresses to my fitting room, until I made a decision. 

Junior Prom
Senior Ball

Post high school, I found some beautiful pieces there, many of which I have worn to professional events in college and to work. Whenever I would shop for clothes, I’d always treat myself to browsing the formalwear.

I was so excited that it was time to shop for my Miss New York USA evening gown! I had looked at gowns online, and I was really drawn to deeper colors. The sales associate set me up in a fitting room, I told her my size, color preference, what the gown was for, and that it needed to be floor length. The dresses began to fill my fitting room. My mom went with me, and I strongly recommend bringing someone along to assist with zippers. While sales associates are more than happy to help, it will be a better use of time to bring someone to assist with zipping you in dresses, since your sales associate will be pulling more dresses for you to try on. After trying on each dress, I stepped out of the fitting room for a better look in the mirrors out in the store. Sales associates nearby often offer feedback, too.

So many gowns were nice and were kept in the running. I must have tried on at least twenty dresses, and there were only a few that I absolutely could not see myself wearing. Those that I didn’t like were still beautiful dresses, but I preferred not having a two-piece gown or one with lots of straps on the back that could easily get twisted. I had been trying on dresses for nearly two hours when my consultant brought in two gowns with lots of beading. While they were both striking, one of them was simply breathtaking. The moment I pulled that dress over my head, I knew that was the one. No more dresses needed to be brought in. While I was confident in that dress, I quickly tried on a few front runners, just for comparison, but there was really no competition. It’s probably totally cheesy to say this, but from the moment I started putting on the dress I chose, I knew that dress was simply magical.

This dress was form fitting and had three layers of material. The layer that was closest to my body was tan, the middle layer was navy blue lace, and the outermost layer was navy blue tulle that was covered in silver beading. It fit nearly perfectly, with the only needed alteration being the length. 

I went to Nino’s Alterations in DeWitt, NY and learned about some challenges of altering a dress that was entirely beaded. The outermost layer of the dress could not be cut due to the beading. If it were cut, the beading would unravel. The back of the dress was kept intact, so I would have a longer train. When I had purchased prom dresses in high school, the dresses came with trains, which I had cut off during alterations, because I didn’t want it stepped on when on a crowded dance floor. For the pageant, I loved the idea of having a train, because it would look nice on stage. 

When making the alterations, the front of the dress had a larger hem and was not cut, in order to keep the beading intact. The length was perfectly altered and ready for the stage!

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