Advice about Prom Dresses and Prom Night
Night is one time in your life you deserve to look and feel like a
by Elisabeth Archambault
And you want your date to
feel like a prince, too. It's YOUR night and it should be great!
You're on your own for
finding a great date, but here are some hints about finding the perfect
prom dress, and other advice for a memorable evening.
Prom Dresses: Before you
Take heart - there are
sure to be several prom dresses for 2004 that could be great for you!
Think about what you want. Are you looking for a once-in-a-lifetime
gown? Or do you want something classic that you could wear again as a
special occasion dress, perhaps with different accessories? Is your
style sleek and tailored, or more lace and ruffles? As you shop for prom
dresses, start with an idea of what you'd like but keep an open mind.
Tour the stores, read
magazines, visit websites selling bridesmaid or prom dresses such as
or even search for prom dresses on Ebay, the online auction site. (It's
free to register with eBay.) Another top site for dress ideas is
Dessy.com, famous for
bridesmaid and formal dresses. You can't shop online there, but
their site will help you find a local bridal store in the US or Canada
who carries their dresses.
THINK AHEAD: Whether
you're shopping online or in a special occasion dress store in your
area, or getting your gown custom made by a local dress maker, think
ahead and allow lots of time.
TIP: Most salons ask
patrons to remove their footwear when they enter the store, to help
protect long skirts and fragile fabrics from picking up dirt. Wear shoes
that are easy to slip on and off!
Know what dress colors
highlight your eyes, hair and skin tone, and what style lines are most
flattering for your body type. The best way to hide flaws is to
highlight your good points. So be sure you know what your good points
are! (Too many of us are insecure about that!) An A-line skirt with a
bit of flare is flattering on nearly everyone. Be cautious about white
or very light-colored prom dresses, especially if the fabric has a lot
of shine. They reflect light and can make you seem larger, not what most
of us want on prom night. Darker hues tend to have a slimming effect,
but on the other hand you want a shade with enough life to flatter your
own coloring. If you're drawn to prom dresses with a revealing or very
tight cut, remember there's a difference between looking sexy and
looking cheap. The line doesn't fall in the same place for everyone, but
know where it is for you and don't cross it.
Plan your colors
Plan your prom colors with
your date; it always looks attractive when a couple in formal attire
plan their outfits to co-ordinate with each other. Even if you keep your
dress a secret until prom night, tell him enough that he will be able to
accent his outfit with your color if he's not wearing totally formal
black and white. It can be a nice touch if his tie or cummerbund picks
up the color of your gown.
Be realistic. Media
emphasis on being thin can make perfectly normal gals feel insecure
about their size. Don't fall for that - have the confidence to celebrate
yourself the way God made you! (Marilyn Monroe wore size 16.) Buy your
prom dress to fit and flatter as you are now; don't buy a smaller size
planning to lose weight by prom night. If you do drop a few pounds it's
usually no problem to have a seamstress take in an inch or two. But if
you buy too small it can be difficult to make adjustments. There's not
much that's attractive (or comfortable) about squeezing into a too-tight
dress. A good foundation garment can help, but the most important thing
is being realistic about size in the first place.
If you're shopping online
or through a catalog, one of the biggest secrets for success (for prom
dresses or any other apparel) is measuring yourself accurately so you
order the right size. It's possible to look great at any size if your
clothes fit well. You want a fit that skims the body with enough ease to
move comfortably and gracefully. Loralie has prom dresses from size 2 to
26. Dessy's styles range up to size 24 Sydney's Closet has prom and
bridal styles from sizes 14 to 28 plus they can special order up to plus
size 50. You can look super at any size if you know where to shop!
(Again, allow LOTS of lead time.)
IMPORTANT: If you get your
dress altered, be sure to wear the same shoes and undergarments to your
fitting as you'll wear on prom night. They can make a major difference
to how your dress fits. Also, if you think you might need alterations,
avoid dresses with beading near the seams, as this can be costly to
way to hide flaws is to highlight your good points!"
Good shoes are as
important as your prom dress. It may take some hunting to find dress
shoes or sandals that feel good for dancing all night, but comfort
matters as much as good looks. Hey, if your feet hurt it ruins your
smile! It's wise to wear your shoes several times before prom night to
be sure they'll be comfortable. A low to mid heel is likely your best
choice, not really high. Be cautious about thin straps that can dig in
after a few dances. If you think you have big feet, avoid white or very
light-colored shoes; look for a color that doesn't call attention to
itself. A shade that blends well with your skin and hosiery tones can be
an attractive look. Some stores selling prom dresses also offer fabric
shoes that can be dyed to match your dress, but consider whether a
classic leather or subtle metallic look might give you more wear later.
If you choose your shoes well you'll be able to get good use out of them
afterwards, as well as looking gorgeous on prom night. If you choose
sandals, make sure your pedicure is perfect!
Let your date know the
color and style of your gown so he can order flowers to suit. For some
prom dresses, a wrist corsage or flowers in your hair can be a good
option. Amidst all your own planning, remember to order a flower for
your date! It's hard to go wrong with a classic carnation or rose for
his lapel. This could be another place to pick up the color of your
to order a flower for your date!"
Jewelry and handbag
things simple, and go for the look of quality. If you want to do
something special, consider investing in quality pearls or other jewelry
that you'll be able to wear for years afterwards, long after 2004 prom
dresses are just a memory. If your family is likely to give you a
graduation present, this is something you could suggest. You can get the
look of pearls or gold with costume jewelry, but it does something
wonderful to you knowing that what you're wearing is real! Your evening
purse should have just a few necessities, the fewer the better.
Lipstick, a small comb, some blusher perhaps, some tampons if it's that
time of the month, and enough money for phone calls or a cab ride home.
Give some thought to what you'll do with your purse when you're dancing,
as this can be awkward. One creative girl I know sewed a secret pocket
in the lining of her prom dress to keep a small comb and some money, got
her date to keep her lipstick in his pocket, and didn't carry a purse at
Prom hair styles and
Whether you choose a loose
and flowing prom hair style or a formal updo, this is the night for
something special. If you opt for an updo don't let it be uptight; avoid
"librarian" styles with hair pulled tight back off your face. A bit of
looseness around your face is usually more flattering. Make sure your
nails are in perfect condition, fingers and toes. Buff them to a sheen
with a good buffer, or choose an elegant polish. It might be wise to
choose a fairly neutral polish color. If you get a chip it won't show as
much as with a dark shade. A lot of guys don't like the
"blood-red-talons" look anyway. Use fragrance sparingly, just enough
that when he's close he'll be aware of how good you smell. One reader
wrote to me that something to watch out for is deodorant that leaves
white smudges. Choose the kind that goes on clear. Above all, remember
that when you're doing your makeup and hair, you want to look like a
beautiful, enhanced version of you, not like someone else.
The right foundation
garments can improve how prom dresses fit and flatter. Choose your
undies carefully to provide support in the right places and go with the
cut of your gown. This is one time you absolutely don't want elastic
peeking out where it shouldn't be. Like shoes, your undies can serve you
well later. Remember: If you get your gown altered be sure to wear the
same foundation garment and shoes to your fitting as you'll wear on prom
Plan for bad weather
Have a plan for how you'll
cope if the weather turns cold or rainy. For a spring prom, a pretty
shawl or dressy sweater to ward off evening coolness might be all you
need. Rain is harder to cope with when you're wearing formal attire.
Many rain coats don't have enough volume to cover a really full skirt,
so consider a nice cape or poncho. You'd likely need to wear rain boots
and carry your dancing shoes to change into. Stylish rain gear could
serve you well for years, so if you want to be really prepared this is
something to think about shopping for. But if the only waterproof boots
you own look like something a lumberjack would wear, so be it; have a
giggle and wear them through the puddles. Everyone will be in the same
boat, after all. As long as you have your sense of humor, you can handle
just about anything!
Give some thought to your
tan in the weeks before prom night. You don't want strange tan lines
conflicting with your perfect prom attire! When you're out in the sun
use sunscreen and choose your clothes so you develop a smooth, even tan.
Self-tanning lotions can help here, but only if you have used them
before and know how they work for you.
Practice walking in a
Many young women are so
used to wearing jeans they don't have a good sense of how to move
gracefully in a formal evening dress. Practice, practice, practice so
you can walk with a smooth, elegant stride in your prom dress. The old
modelling school trick of walking with a book balanced on your head is
still a good one!
Find a friend and take
pictures of each other in your prom dresses a few days ahead. Do a
practice run on your prom hair styles and makeup for the full effect.
Try different poses and expressions to see how you look your best.
Models know that some positions appear more flattering than others. Hold
your shoulders at a slight angle to the camera, then twist your hips a
bit more sideways, away from the camera. It's even good to practice your
smile in front of a mirror!
Look after yourself on
You need your basic
survival smarts even on prom night. Especially on prom night,
perhaps. Don't let excitement cloud your best judgment about things like
alcohol, drugs, sex, or crazy driving. Sometimes parties get out of
hand, and things can go in directions that are, um, unwise. Don't let
yourself be pressured into anything that makes you uncomfortable or
uneasy. If anyone tries to talk you into something you are not
absolutely sure is right for you, they do you no favors. It can be good
insurance to have your parents or someone else you trust on standby to
come and get you with a single phone call, no questions asked. People
who truly care about you will support your resolve to make wise
decisions. Okay, end of lecture. Did I say enough?
Capturing your prom night
on video can be fun, but afterwards you're more likely to look at
pictures in an album. For the nicest prom keepsake, I think your best
bet is professional-quality still pictures. Portrait photographers know
what to do to make you look your best. By all means get video footage
too if you want, but my suggestion is to do it in addition to good still
pictures, not instead of them.
Look after yourself,
Eat good food, get plenty
of rest, exercise regularly, learn to find joy in daily living. The
healthier you are and the better your attitude about life, the lovelier
you'll look on prom night. And the rest of your life, too!
Smile! You look wonderful!