Prom is around the corner and you are beginning to look for that one dazzling, lovely dress. Here is a list of a few things to keep in mind as you embark on the lengthy perfect dress selection process:

Start early. Don’t wait until the last moment to choose your prom dress. Remember that on this special day you will want to find a dress that is gorgeous, flattering, and within the price limit – and with so many things to consider, it is bound to take time. Ideally, begin looking about three months in advance. That way you will have enough time to not only select the perfect dress but also find matching accessories and try out a few hairstyles.

Bring friends along. Shopping is more fun and constructive when you’re out with your friends. Try out a few dresses together and give honest feedback to each other. Also consider getting your mother or sister involved in the process. You don’t have to agree with everything they say but it always helps to have another opinion.

Stick to your current weight. No matter your resolution to lose X amount of pounds by prom night, keep it within reason. You will probably be stressed about finding a perfect prom dress and a date and cramming for the upcoming finals. Don’t expect your body to drop too much weight and by no means starve yourself. Shop keeping your current weight in mind instead of relying on the potential magic of the newest diet. If you are on the plus side, check out the many glamorous plus size options.

Emphasize comfort. While you may be overwhelmed by a wide array of beautiful dresses, remember that you will be spending a good five hours and probably more (with pre-prom and after party) in the same dress. Make sure that your final selection is not too tight or too loose and that everything fits perfectly. You don’t want to spend the whole night worrying about a wardrobe malfunction.

Be patient. Come in without expectations and try a variety of styles. Be bold and daring as you never know how well a dress sits until you try it on. Keep in mind that the prom ball gowns on the hanger will look completely differently on you. Don’t get discouraged if the first few dresses don’t fit as well as you would like. You’re there to experiment with different styles and colors. Consult fashion advice that is specific to your figure. With all the options out there, you’re bound to find the perfect one!

Don’t forget the accessories!Accessories can really make or break or the deal. If your dress has an elaborate pattern or a complex sequined design, go for simple jewelry and clutch. If, on the other hand, your dress features a large neckline and simple style, finish off your look with a statement necklace and earrings.

Don’t overdo it. Remember, less is more. Avoid looking like a Christmas tree by focusing either on the dress or the accessories. Over-styling and over-dressing speaks for poor taste and looks tacky (and sometimes even slutty). Balance out your look by focusing the drama only on one aspect – either on the dress or on the accessories or on the hair and makeup.

Be yourself. Don’t get lost underneath all that glamor, sparkle, and dazzle. Choose the dress that best represents your personality and individualize with the right accessories. Remember that the prom dress is not supposed to overtake you but to emphasize your best attributes. Don’t try to be something you’re not on the all-important night – aim for an enhanced version of yourself and let the real you shine on the dance floor.