Demystifying the search for the perfect prom look

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Demystifying the search for the perfect prom look

Katie Sones

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The dress on the left takes you back in time while the dress on the right is less formal. Credit: Katie Sones/The Foothill Dragon Press

Arguably the biggest fashion moment in any high schooler’s life is the hunt for a prom dress and accessories to accompany it. This task can be daunting and a little overwhelming, but here are some tips and tricks for creating your ultimate prom look.

If you’re looking for a more modern dress, there are several different styles and fits to choose from. There are long dresses, which can be fitted, mermaid style, flowy, and many more. Long dresses can make you look taller and elongate your legs. Some long dresses have side slits, cut outs around the waist, and low-cut backs.
Short dresses, especially strapless ones, are in style right now. They can be loose or tight, and they flatter almost any body type.
High-low dresses are relatively new but extremely popular. Essentially, they can be the best of both worlds by combining long and short dresses in a fashionable way.
While looking for shoes, you can either get heels, which tend to be more formal, or flats, which are more casual. However, there are flats that have a slight heel to spice them up. In the realm of heeled shoes, there are wedges, strappy heels, or the “classic” pair of heels, also known as court shoes or pumps.
Your hairstyle can make or break your prom outfit. Wearing your hair down, curly or straight, tends to look better with short dresses, and up-dos look better with long dresses. Wearing your hair half-up and half-down is a great middle ground and looks good with almost any dress.
You can also go vintage for your prom look. The most versatile retro prom dresses come from the 1970’s. The long, pleated empire-waisted skirts and draped or tank tops from the dresses of this era make for a surprisingly flattering combination, as do the often pastel colors of these dresses. And since they’re usually polyester, any thrift store finds can simply be tossed in the washing machine before wearing.
Platform shoes are a cute and historically accurate choice to wear with a 70’s prom dress, but nude-colored or metallic pumps could help modernize the look. Hair worn long or straight with simple, natural make-up best compliments the flowy, loose look of these dresses.
You don’t have to wear a floor-length dress to achieve a retro look. The shorter length of 50’s prom dresses are a fun alternative to the usual floor-length prom dress.
Prom dresses from the 1950’s are a cute way to channel the past while still maintaining a classic style. Often with a sweetheart neckline and a tiered tulle skirt that hits right below the knee, 50’s prom dresses look cute on everyone. The fluffy skirts are fun, and the lace, tulle, and light colors make the dresses very feminine and sweet.
Short heels compliment the mid-length hem of the dress, and by keeping your hair off your shoulders, you show off the cool neckline most 50’s prom dresses have. Most makeup looks go with the style of 50’s dresses, but a small cat eye really pushes the retro factor.
Whether you chose to get a prom dress from the present or chose to look to the past for inspiration, the most important factor in buying a prom dress is how you feel in the dress. The perfect prom dress is whatever makes you feel your best.
What do you think?