The initial high school dance of the year is arguably as exciting as prom, but typically not quite so fancy. Still, getting ready for this seminal autumnal occasion takes just as much planning as does that last formal spring fling. So, to be sure you’ve got everything under control, get ready with some keen options of where to buy your fashion statement as well as where to dine once dancing is done for the evening. Following are some smart choices that won’t be unreachable because the prices in these places are reasonable for a limited student budget while still offering the best that money can buy. Now that’s a deal in and of itself.
Blue Velvet Salon
4222 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91602
This San Fernando Valley salon is as creative as it is reasonably priced with experts on hand and ready to turn your regular-looking mane into a cutting-edge vision in just one sitting. Whether you’re looking to have your strands set in a visionary up-do that’s both alluring and unusual or you’re hankering to have your curly locks magically made stick straight for a night, book in at this popular outlet in North Hollywood. That said, do so early in your planning session because on dance day, this place can get crazy busy. Still, it’s worth all the forethought because, as this outlet advertises, “When you leave Blue Velvet, your hair rocks.” Tanning and make-up services are also available on the premises.
Out of the Closet Thrift Store Glassell Park
2425 N. San Fernando Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90065
It’s not the cost of your garments that will make you a standout at the high school dance but rather how creative (and even quirky) you can be with your outfit of choice. Of course, you don’t want to be too outrageous, but there’s nothing wrong with picking particular attire (like a fun ascot or a retro cocktail dress) for this soiree that is bold as well as beautiful. At this non-profit thrift store’s main outlet that gives money to help fight AIDS, expect to discover an amazing array of formal duds that are slightly used, lovingly cared for and that won’t be seen on anyone’s back but your own.
The Original LA Flower Market
754 Wall St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
To be properly prepared for the big dance, go classy (and old school) and be sure you have flowers to gift to your date: a boutonniere for the guy and a wrist corsage for the girl. Arguably the ideal place to find the best blooms without breaking the bank is to go to the source of most florists which is the flower market, located in downtown Los Angeles. Although this floral bonanza is only open to the trade during the week, on Saturdays it’s open to the public where you’ll discover just about every type of flower found anywhere in the world. With that in mind, skip the orchids (too expensive and too predictable) and settle for something more unexpected, like a handful of calla lilies. Although you may only need one stalk to make your dance-day present, you could goof up a bit before finally creating the picture-perfect version of your hand-made accoutrement that will probably be pressed and preserved for all eternity once this dance is over and only the memories linger.
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Musso and Franks
6667 Hollywood Blvd.
City, State 90028
All dressed up but not ready to go to the dance? Plan to dine with your date before the dance at a place with bragging rights that’s not going to cost a proverbial arm and a leg. The perfect venue that fits this bill is Musso and Franks, old Hollywood at its best but not at its priciest. Book a table big enough for all of your friends and then get ready for an experience right out of a 1930s movie from MGM, complete with no-nonsense waiters (who may or may not crack a corny joke or two) and straightforward entrees (like braised short ribs, the Saturday special). Oh, and don’t worry if you think you’re dressed too fancy for this not-so-fancy grill just because everyone else eating here will not be in such upscale attire as you will be. Remember, this is the oldest restaurant in this neck of our woods — opened in 1919 — and frequented by folks who have seen (and lived) it all.
419 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Boogying until the midnight hour can definitely work up an appetite so couples who want to wind down before calling it a night should head over to Canter’s for some post-dance deli fare that is not only delicious but also extremely bountiful. Order yourself a pastrami on rye and expect to share it with your date because that’s how big a sandwich you can expect to be served by the sometimes sassy waitresses who work here and who actually have hearts of gold underneath all that gruff. Also expect this Los Angeles institution to be open no matter what time you get there because the famous deli, around since 1931 and located in the Fairfax district, never, ever closes. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year; a real boon for the apres high school dance crowd.
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Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.