By Elizabeth Sheer, Cheapism.com
For students of a certain age, the end of the school year is synonymous with prom. Whether attending this penultimate high school event in a group or with a date, it's a can't-miss opportunity to glam yourself up. Making a statement is what it's all about, and for most girls that starts with the dress. But it doesn't end there. The guys need a tux (or suit) and the entire evening needs a plan. We found several free prom apps that can get you there in style and on budget.A frugal and fun prom can be a possibility.
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One caveat: Our research revealed that most free prom apps have problems loading, force close, or black out at times. The reviews we read indicate that these issues are particularly notable on Android devices. We tested all the apps mentioned here and didn't have any problems, but even if you do, these are free prom apps so you have nothing to lose by giving them a whirl.
Prom Night Moves 2013 (free for iPhone and Android) starts with Prom 101, a timeline that helps you figure out a budget and when you need to attend to all the preparations. Night Moves is a dress-design firm, so the big story on this free prom app is the dress. Enter your measurements, choose a dress based on the style you want, then share it with friends on Facebook. Once you've decided, select a retailer from hundreds listed throughout the country.
A word of caution. A big issue with ordering prom dresses online, says retailer Dress Goddess, is the possibility of being snared by sham companies selling knock-off designer gowns at huge discounts. If you do place an order with one of these sites -- and assuming it arrives at your doorstep -- Dress Goddess warns that it's likely to fall apart at the seams, literally. If you have your heart set on a designer look, you're best off giving your business to an authorized dealer.
Prom360 (free for iPhone and Android) promises that whatever you purchase from this site is the real deal. Prom360 is a one-stop shop that augments the process of selecting and buying a dress with a host of hints for everything prom-related. This free prom app features a countdown calendar that tracks the time remaining, down to the second, until the big night. It also provides a budget calculator for everything you might wear, but ignores other expenses. There's also a checklist so you won't forget anything, be it making a dinner reservation, arranging transportation, or buying a corsage or boutonniere for your date.Use these free apps to become a prom princess.
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The JCPenney app (free for iPhone, iPad, and Android) will appeal to male and female prom goers alike. Although this free prom app lacks a dedicated prom section, doing a search on "prom" brings up plenty of budget-friendly dresses, shoes, suits, and tuxes that are super affordable.
Tux: The Tuxedo Builder (free for iPhone and iPad) targets the male portion of the prom-going population with a selection of jackets, pants, vests, shirts, ties, shoes, and more. If you choose pieces that don't go together, this free prom app will tell you -- no worries about making a fashion faux pas. To assure a match with your date's outfit, use the app to select items by color, which are then added to the virtual model. Finally, you'll be pointed to a retailer who will sell it all to you.
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You might think that mobile devices were tailor-made for testing out hairstyles on your uploaded photo. But according to online user reviews and our hands-on research, most of the free apps don't do this very well. HairChange, a free Android app, performs better than most; the hairstyles are realistic enough to ask your hairdresser for a copycat look. Make-Up by ModiFace (free for Android and Apple products) is a virtual make-up artist that lets you try out make-up combos on an uploaded photo so you don't waste money buying colors that don't work. The makeup suggestions are readily available at local drugstores.
Once you arrive at the prom, you'll surely want to take lots of pictures. PopBooth Photo Booth (free for iPhone and iPad) lets you take four-picture photo strips that can be emailed or shares on Facebook. There's a choice of effects and filters, although the number of effects are limited. Saving or sending pictures, though, is easy. For Android phones, PhotoBooth Vintage offers vintage effects like sepia and retro colors. Once these pictures are stored in your phone, use the free Adobe Photoshop Touch (for iPhone and Android) to combine photos and add professional touches.
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