Sometimes the gowns can be too costly, causing students to opt out of the annual tradition.
But one Bloomington High School teacher is working to change that by collecting gently used dresses for girls.
It's called the BHS House of Style and its currently taking donations.
Students can try on formal wear and accessories and take their favorites for free.
Organizer Gloria McElwain says it's important all students have an opportunity to enjoy the dance.
"By the time they buy flowers and go out to dinner and put everything together they need some help and they realize that we have some really great things here and it takes the stress off of the family and off of them."
BHS House of Style accepts donations all year round, including dresses, purses, and jewelry.
Items can be dropped off at Bloomington High School.