Finding the perfect prom dress

Published 7:09 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Albert Lea boutique specializes in helping girls with their big day


When high school girls walk in to Kari Brick’s store in downtown Albert Lea, she has one goal in mind: to help those girls feel beautiful.

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Past the furniture on the main level of Brick Furniture and upstairs into the loft of BG Brick Girls, the girls set out to find the perfect prom dress.

Some girls come in by themselves, while others bring an entourage of friends or family with them, as they brainstorm and search for the dress they hope to wear. For many, prom will be one of the biggest — if not the biggest — event of their high school years.

Brick said some girls come in with ideas in mind or photographs of dresses they like from the internet, and based on their ideas, they find similar dresses in the boutique. If the girls don’t have any ideas ahead of time, she has several catalogs they can look through to find out more about what they like.

Each girl is measured to fit, and she offers advice to the girls based on body shape about what styles of dresses would fit them best.

If a girl does not like any of the 60 to 70 dresses available in the store, or they want one in a different color, Brick can special order dresses. She offers sizes ranging from size 0 to size 24.

“There is a dress for everyone,” Brick said. 

Sometimes the girls find their perfect dresses quickly; other times it takes more searching.

But when they find the perfect dress, they know it right away, she said.

“You should see their faces when they put ‘the dress’ on,” she said, noting she usually feels goosebumps when she sees it happen. “I love it because you can tell they feel confident and beautiful.”

A mother of two grown girls, Brick knows the importance of instilling self-confidence in teenage girls.

Brick started BG Brick Girls with her daughters Paige and Erin over 10 years ago under a different name. The girls, who always had an interest in fashion, were attending high school at the time.

The store started out selling clothing, jewelry and other accessories and expanded into prom dresses after the closing of Courtly Manor about seven years ago.

Though the girls no longer live in Albert Lea, Brick said both still play a part in the store in helping her order inventory and attending markets with her in Las Vegas and New York to check out the latest fashions.

Now graduated from college, Paige Brick works for the Nordstrom corporation in the Twin Cities, and Erin Brick sells designer wedding dresses in New York City.

Kari Brick said BG Brick Girls has quite a few companies it works with to get dresses, including some from California and another out of New York City.

Her dresses in the store are usually available around the Christmas break each year when girls start looking ahead to the coming months in anticipation of prom.

One of the highlights of BG Brick Girls is that all dresses are registered, so the girls can be assured they won’t see another person in their same dress at the prom.

Brick marks on each tag when a dress has been purchased and what school it will be worn at. She does not allow the same dress to be sold to two people from the same school unless it is in a different color.

Another highlight is that she lets the girls make payments on their dresses as they work and earn money for the big day.

Though she can order dresses only a few weeks out from the prom, she encourages girls to come in early. Some of the companies she gets the dresses from only make a certain number of dresses based on demand, so there is a chance a dress will not be available later.

She estimated she helps about 100 girls a year.

“No wonder I’m so tired, and I dream about prom dresses,” she said with a laugh.

BG Brick Girls, at 225 S. Broadway, has clients that come from as far away as Rochester, Mankato, Blue Earth and Northwood.

The store can be reached at 507-373-2514.


What prom dresses are in style this year?

Brick said this year it seems anything goes — and in any color.

“Everybody has an idea of what they want,” she said.

Dresses, overall, are more subdued, and burgundy is popular.