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What Should I Wear to Prom?

Choosing the perfect prom attire is about expressing your personal style while embracing the event's elegance. For a timeless look, opt for classic silhouettes and colors that flatter your complexion. Remember, comfort is key for a night of dancing! Now, are you ready to discover the outfit that will make your prom unforgettable? Keep reading to find your dream ensemble.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Prom is one of high school’s most elaborate traditions. It can be about fun, going out with friends, dancing the night away, and generally having a great time. However, to many people, it’s mostly about the clothes. Unlike homecoming or other school events, this dance is most often full-out formal, and it is the time to let your inner red-carpet walker out into the room.

If your dance has an obvious theme, consider dressing at least somewhat in the style of the party. An underwater theme could be a great chance for a gown with a fish-tail skirt, while a blast from the past dance could be a great time to look for an outfit with retro details, like a fringe skirt or Old Hollywood cut. Be careful not to go too overboard with themed outfits however, as you want to fit the theme, not be a decoration. Unless it is a specifically costumed dance, try to keep your adherence in the details.

Many fashion magazines offer helpful tips on what to wear to prom and how to find the right dress.
Many fashion magazines offer helpful tips on what to wear to prom and how to find the right dress.

To help choose your gown, pick up a few fashion magazines to look at the latest styles. Around prom season, many will feature articles on finding the right dress silhouette to complement your body shape, and tips on makeup and hairstyles. Learn what colors and styles look best on you regardless of current trends or fads, and aim to stand out from the crowd. So what if everyone you know is wearing black and white fluffy ball gowns? If you look fantastic in a pumpkin orange sheath, then work it!

Tuxedos are a more formal choice for prom.
Tuxedos are a more formal choice for prom.

For many, budget for clothing is increasingly an issue. Prom dresses can be extremely expensive, sometimes priced at more than $1000 US dollars (USD) for designer clothes. Do not panic if you are on a limited budget for formalwear. Some cities and towns operate organizations that donate formal clothing to needy prom-goers. Check secondhand stores for fantastic bargains, or try to get a jump on the competition by getting your dress or tuxedo from an auction site like eBay. Style is so individual these days that it is almost impossible to tell what is new and what is vintage.

Semi-formal attire may be worn to a prom.
Semi-formal attire may be worn to a prom.

For guys, the clothing question is considerably simpler. However, eclectic personalities should not be afraid to show their glory. Although a simple black tux is de rigueur, don’t be afraid to toss on a 1940s suit, a show vest, or even go super-suave in a white coat. If you are going with a date, it is traditional to find out what color she is wearing so you can choose your accessories to match. Consider bringing your date with you to pick out your outfit, their advice may be invaluable.

Particularly if you are concerned about not having the best or most expensive clothes at the prom, it is easy to feel disappointed or uncertain. Experts will agree that the best thing you can wear to the prom is confidence. This is supposed to be a huge party, not a beauty competition. You are there to have fun, and when you’re enjoying yourself, you will look gorgeous.

Prom is a spectacularly stereotypical high school tradition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own, from the moment you step into your clothes. It can be about you and your friends, as much as it is about the quarterback and the prom queen. Dress in clothes that you like, that look great on you, and that are your own style. It’s never too early to start making a fashion statement, and that statement should always be about who you really are.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the appropriate dress code for prom?

The prom dress code typically calls for formal attire. For young women, this often means a floor-length evening gown or a sophisticated cocktail dress, while young men usually wear a tuxedo or a formal suit with a tie or bow tie. The key is to choose an outfit that aligns with the event's level of formality and makes you feel confident and comfortable.

How do I choose the right prom dress style for my body type?

Choosing the right prom dress involves considering your body shape and what styles enhance your best features. A-line dresses flatter most body types by accentuating the waist and flowing gently over the hips. For a pear-shaped body, a fitted top with a voluminous skirt can balance proportions. If you have an hourglass figure, a dress that highlights your waist can be stunning. It's essential to try on various styles to see what feels and looks best on you.

Are there any trending prom dress colors or patterns for this year?

Each year, certain colors and patterns emerge as popular choices for prom dresses. According to fashion experts, jewel tones like emerald green and sapphire blue are often in vogue due to their timeless elegance. Additionally, pastel hues and metallic shades have been trending. For patterns, floral prints and sequined designs can add a touch of glamour. Keep an eye on recent red carpet events and fashion shows for inspiration.

What accessories should I pair with my prom outfit?

Accessories can make or break your prom look. For a harmonious ensemble, select accessories that complement your outfit without overpowering it. Classic choices include a pair of elegant earrings, a matching clutch, and dress shoes that coordinate with your dress. Men might opt for cufflinks, a pocket square, and polished dress shoes. Remember, less is often more when it comes to accessorizing for prom.

How can I ensure my prom attire remains comfortable throughout the night?

Comfort is crucial for enjoying your prom night. When selecting your attire, ensure the fit is correct—not too tight or too loose. Choose breathable fabrics and well-fitted undergarments. For footwear, consider shoes with a manageable heel height or stylish flats. Breaking in your shoes before the event can prevent blisters. Lastly, if you're wearing a long dress, make sure it's hemmed to a length that won't cause tripping.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a WiseTour writer.

Learn more...
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a WiseTour writer.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

icecream17

Sneakers41 - I understand that a prom gown is a big deal but the prom is only one day and you should be able to enjoy yourself. I know that every girl wants the perfect dress, but putting things in perspective is important because if not a girl can get carried away with the details and not enjoy the event.

They can get caught up in the dress and forget that this a dance that they will likely remember for the rest of their lives and what they wore won’t be nearly as important as how much fun they had. Proms should be entertaining and looking for dresses for prom should be fun.

There are usually a lot of sales on special occasion dresses so you could probably find affordable prom dresses later in the season.

sneakers41

I think that looking for dresses for prom is probably one of the most important things about it. I think that sometimes it is hard to find the right dress, but you can get ideas from looking at old movies or going to vintage stores that sell designer dresses.

Designer prom dresses can be expensive but if you buy a used vintage dress you might be able to find an affordable prom dress that looks stunning that will also be unique. Prom fashion is a big deal so you have to give yourself some time to do some research so that you find the perfect prom gown.

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    • Many fashion magazines offer helpful tips on what to wear to prom and how to find the right dress.
      By: Dmitriy Raykin
      Many fashion magazines offer helpful tips on what to wear to prom and how to find the right dress.
    • Tuxedos are a more formal choice for prom.
      By: Tiler84
      Tuxedos are a more formal choice for prom.
    • Semi-formal attire may be worn to a prom.
      By: biker3
      Semi-formal attire may be worn to a prom.