Prom Personality

By Isabelle Lipkin

March 6, 2009 4 min read


Express yourself in your dress on the big night

Isabelle Lipkin

Creators News Service

It's that one special night at the end of one special year. The conclusion of high school marks a teenager's passage into adulthood, and the prom is part of the closing ritual. Feeling and looking your best is essential to having a great time.

But what to wear? The options are vast. Whether you want to spend a little or a lot, create a do-it-yourself vintage gown or go all-out glam, there are many ways to show off your most stylin' self.

The best way to begin is to start thinking about your image. How do you see your big night? Is there a style you've been cultivating all year or is this a chance to try a new look out? Tear pages from magazines, browse websites or visit a nearby mall to get a sense of what you like and what will fit your body as well as your budget.

Try on contrasting silhouettes -- tight and slinky or retro and poufy, or maybe sweet and shapely at the same time -- and consider what colors look best against your skin. When you have a sense of what you're comfortable in, begin shopping for a dress that fits with your vision.

"I would advise starting at least two months in advance of the date," said a sales assistant at Tower Bridal in Portland, Ore. "That way, if you need alterations there's plenty of time." It also lets you shop for everything else that you'll need -- from your undergarments right down to your shoes.

After finally trying on some dresses, see what you physically feel most comfortable in. Would a strapless dress leave you tugging at the top all night? Does baring one shoulder make you feel sexy but not overexposed?

Whatever your choice may be, don't be afraid to get what you want. If a ball gown with pick-ups is what you've been dreaming about since sophomore year, consider this an occasion to indulge.

The three looks below cover a range of possibilities; experiment until you find one that seems both exciting and natural for you and the night you want to create:

* Flirty: Toeing the line between sassy and sexy can be fun. Consider a mermaid silhouette that both hugs your body's curves and flares out into wavy ripples. The accent of lace or ruffles as part of a pattern can tone down the sexiness of a strapless neckline while still showing off your upper body. Think about how you like to flirt best -- through a cute color or by showing off the most attractive part of your body -- and find a dress which accents it.

* Vintage: Rummage through a thrift store for a dress from another decade, or even see if an older family member has a beloved dress to share. Chances are you'll score a bargain and then can embellish and alter the dress to your taste through creative re-stitching. Customize it by altering the hemline and neckline and adorning with bows, pins or lush ribbon.

Crinolines can add retro pouf to any skirt. Feather headpieces are in right now and easy to make. For the do-it-yourself prom girl, going retro is a great way to show off personality and creative skills.

* Drama queen: For those who want glamour shots and to make an entrance to remember, the prom offers permission to go all out. Look for shiny materials with an iridescent gleam and stilettos that reveal a hint of toe. Splurge on a professional updo with glittering accessories for your hair.

Bringing on the drama doesn't strictly mean skintight fashions. Consider a ball gown's sweep or the layered texture of pick-ups on a skirt. Just remember that you school might have a dress code, and think about the weather. Despite dancing up a storm, you don't want to be too chilly on your big night -- although a flattering wrap can add to the impact when you take it off for your big reveal.

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