I was never one of those girls that dreamt endlessly about what my wedding was going to be like, how my hair would look or what dress I would wear. Likewise, I didn’t think twice about what I would eventually wear to my high school prom, despite the innumerable Seventeen magazine articles showing me ridiculous zebra-print-and-fuchsia ball gowns. Uh, no thanks guys. I’d prefer to wear something awesome and classy instead of the insane and utterly unwearable pieces marketed as “prom dresses.”
My older sister had her prom a few days ago, and it got me thinking about how the way people dress themselves for this monumental night has changed drastically over time. If you’ve looked at pictures from past decades (or if you’ve ever seen “Pretty in Pink”), you’ll be familiar with the usual ball gown-esque dresses that people usually wear to prom. It used to be a huge ordeal to go searching for a prom dress with your friends at some fancy store. My sister went to Urban Outfitters with one girl and bought a short strapless dress with a funky print on it. Do you see the strong contrast that I’m seeing? ‘Cause it’s definitely there.
Prom is changing, guys, so why not keep up with the times? Don’t be that girl. You know, the one that wears a dress with a poufy tulle skirt that has a circumference of approximately eleven feet and a tiara. Let’s just say you are in the market for a formal party dress—it doesn’t have to be for something so cliché and once-in-a-lifetime as prom—and you don’t want to look mega boring. Since it’s been on my mind lately, I’ve written down my thoughts on this topic here for Everybody Is Ugly!
Short, sweet, and to the point
You know how people (especially the elderly) always say that hemlines raise every year? Well, it’s true. Now it’s safe to say that it is socially acceptable to wear a short dress to your prom. I personally think one that goes to the knee is quite classy; any shorter and you risk looking a little risqué. I really like the ASOS SALON Floral Bandeau Dress ($165.25). It reminds me of Stella McCartney’s fruit dresses for some reason, and that’s always a plus. The fact that it’s strapless adds a lil’ bit o’ sex appeal while the length keeps it from being a bat mitzvah dress. When accessorized and styled correctly, this dress can be quite demure and sophisticated. There’s also some really nice ones for a higher price at the J.Crew Wedding shop.
Wear the pants
“Wait…WHAT? Did she just imply that someone should wear pants to their prom?!” Yes. Yes I did. Hey, it’s not so unfathomable: Chictopian Zoe from Girl With the Flower did it! She has a lot of guts when it comes to fashion in general, I’ll admit, but if she can wear a sequined top, high-waistedwhite pants, her father’s cummerbund and a floral headpiece with a zebra in it to her prom, you can too! I can’t quite give you any specific pieces to buy for this one. I think the more original, the better. The motivation and inspiration must come from within.
If you just can’t give up your childhood dream of looking like a Disney princess on the night of your prom, there are definitely some modern updates that you can make to prevent you from appearing to be a Barbie-themed wedding cake. There’s still brands like Marchesa, Zac Posen, and Christian Siriano that make gowns that are fit for a queen. It might be possible to find an awesome dress like that at a vintage and/or thrift store. I’ve seen gowns in stores like those before. It’s a thing. You’ve just got to be a ruthless, merciless, hardcore thrifter/vintage hunter. It’s a vicious world out there.
I’m a strong believer in the power of paying a ridiculously low price for gently used items, so if it were me, I’d be making my own prom dress and getting some heels from a thrift shop. (If you happen to live near/in/stop by Brooklyn New York City, here’s a list I compiled of five of the coolest stores to go to that may help you out.) That’s the way to go. Just like in the good ol’ days! Remember that? If you’re not into that, you can get some great ones at any large department store such as Macy’s, Bloomingdales, or Bergdorf Goodman. If you’re more of a I-like-to-exhaust-all-of-my-funds-online sort of person, I suggest zappos.com, net-a-porter.com or even asos.com.