Here To There

By Chandra Orr

March 4, 2011 5 min read

Short and sweet or long and elegant? Your choice of prom gown says a lot about you. From long, luxurious gowns that convey elegance and sophistication to short, flirty frocks with red-carpet style, this season there are more ways than ever to show off your unique style.

"The length of dress can say a lot about a girl's personal style," says Kim Collins, vice president of online superstore PromGirl. "Short and flouncy is definitely suited to a flirty, playful girl. Long and romantic styles are for the girl who's a bit more serious and fashion-conscious."

Think about your ideal evening, Collins says. "Does it involve lots of dancing, or do you see yourself sitting with friends and relaxing? Decide on a length that will be the most comfortable and will allow you to have the most fun."

Do you picture an elegant evening, one steeped in luxury and romance? Ball gowns with ruched bodices and bubble skirts are big this spring, as are sleek Grecian-inspired numbers. Both convey sophistication and glamour.

"As seen on the red carpet, long, flowing ball gowns and Grecian-inspired stunners are here to stay and are classically elegant," says Sinead Kasch, spokeswoman for formalwear retailer David's Bridal. "Glitter, tulle and layered color is especially hot."

Perhaps a party atmosphere and kicking your heels on the dance floor is more your style. Be a trendsetter with this spring's shorter fashion-forward gowns that blend bold accents with glam accessories.

"Shorter dresses are all over the fashion runways," Kasch says. "For prom girls looking to re-create a celebrity-inspired look for less, short and flirty dresses with bubble hems, three-dimensional embellished skirts or ruching are the way to go."

Those high hemlines are a great way to show off a hot pair of heels. Add some fabulous faux gems and a tiny clutch with a lot of sparkle and you'll make a one-of-a-kind statement on the big night.

"Short gowns allow for more accessorizing, which adds some personal style to the dress and allows girls to express themselves in different ways," says Lauren Dubin, spokeswoman for Faviana, a leading formalwear designer and producer.

Girls who crave cool accessories but long for length don't have to compromise. High-low hemlines offer the best of both looks.

"This season, a major trend in gown length is the 'high-low' dress, which incorporates two lengths in the same dress. It's a sassy hybrid that features a shorter front and a longer, more dramatic train," Collins says. "A high-low dress is for the girl who is a bit more daring and wants to steal the show."

It's a look that's getting a lot of attention.

"High-low dresses were all over the red carpet this past awards season. With a high cut in the front and a long train in the back, this trend is sure to be all over the dance floor this prom season," Dubin says.

Finding the right frock to show off your unique fashion sensibilities is important, but find a gown that flatters your figure and you'll really stand out on the dance floor.

"Body types definitely play a role in which length the girl chooses," Dubin says. "Not everyone can wear long and short dresses. Shorter girls tend to look better in short, whereas taller girls prefer long. A long gown on a short girl can just make her look shorter, whereas a short gown with nice heels can elongate and create a more elegant, mature look."

Looking to show off your figure? Look for a higher hemline or a form-fitting mermaid-style gown. Need to hide some flaws? A-line gowns and dresses with Empire waistlines are universally flattering, Kasch says.

"The styling you choose will definitely depend on which features you want to emphasize," Collins says. "If you like to show off your tiny waist, go for a dress that is more form-fitting and cuts in at the waist; it could even have a waistband or embellishments to bring further attention to it. If you love your arms and shoulders, strapless is definitely the way to go. Love your legs? Then keep it short, or try a high-low style."

"Remember that it's all about finding a dress that shows off your unique style and makes you feel confident and comfortable," Kasch says. "Have fun trying on both long and short silhouettes until you find a dress you love that best fits and flatters your body type."

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