How to Find the Perfect Prom Dress

Prom Dress Styles and Lengths

Here, ladies, is where your school's dress code, if there is one, comes into play. Some of the trendiest, most highly desired dresses feature such details as bare midriffs, plunging necklines, and slits like the one that gave Angie's Right Leg its own Twitter account. You may love these styles. Your school may not. Find out, lest your prom night ends before it begins (or your perfect dress ends up paired with your date's jacket).

Know what's allowed? Great. Now, what's your look?

Are you going for classic, romantic, bold, fun, sexy or even sporty? And what's going to flatter? In conventional-beauty terms, that typically indicates the style that will turn you into an hourglass shape, balanced on top and bottom, and smaller in the waist.

The range of current prom-dress styles give you lots of wiggle room, so to speak. You'll find everything from mini to floor-grazing, strapless to flutter-sleeved, and bodycon to ball gown. The high-low hemline is everywhere, as far as on-trend styles go, along with bustier-style tops, cutout bodices and all-over feathered skirts.

You may think that wearing something feathered, or a cutout-bodice and skirt connected by crystal strands might guarantee you walk into prom looking unique. This line of thought is logical but unfortunately doesn't always hold true. While finding yourself wearing what is apparently also the perfect dress for four of your classmates can be a bit disappointing, and awkward, it's not the end of the world -- especially if you just happen to be carrying, say, some safety pins or a sewing kit in your perfect purse. Full-length gown? Not after you test your ruching skills in the bathroom. Hello, high-low hemline.

Or, in the protracted buildup to the big night, daydream some ways to make your perfect dress exclusively yours. Try embellishing or cinching with brooches, adding a contrasting sash, or even swapping out plain spaghetti straps with strands of beads. That, along with your unique take on shoes and accessories, will likely guarantee a singular send-off into your new, post-high school world.

Do remember to dance so much you sweat all over your perfect choice. You'll keep that memory with you a whole lot longer than you do the dress.

For more information on prom styles, flattering fits and related topics, check out the links below.

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More Great Links


  • Brown, Susan S. "Prom fashion 2012: This year's dresses, fashion trends run the gamut." The Denver Post. April 9, 2012. (Sept. 11, 2012)
  • Holmes, Elizabeth. "For Prom, Schools Say 'No' to the Dress." The Wall Street Journal. March 29, 2012. (Sept. 11, 2012)
  • Johnston, Susan. "5 Ways to Save During Prom Season." U.S. News & World Report. April 3, 2012. (Sept. 10, 2012)
  • Milligan, Lauren. "Vogue Loves: Prom Dress Inspiration." Vogue. May 9, 2012. (Sept. 11, 2012)
  • Perrin, Rebecca. "Prom Trends 2012: Go Color Crazy!" April 26, 2012. (Sept. 11, 2012)

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