Guest Post by Samantha Abrams
Prom season is almost over, but there’s still time to find a great dress if you know what you’re looking for. Follow these rules before you buy to make sure you get the perfect dress. We’ll start with general tips first, and move on to specific body types.
1. Think about what you’ll do with the dress after prom
While dresses for prom should be formal and elegant, a bad prom dress will look noticeably “prommy”. If you can imagine wearing the dress at an adult, black-tie event, it’s worth considering. This doesn’t mean that your prom dress has to be understated or dull—but it should match your overall style. If you can’t see yourself wearing it on any other formal occasion, make sure you’ll want to wear it on prom night. Even if you decide on a prom dress that you can only rock on prom night, think about how you might modify it to suit other occasions—many prom dresses only need a few embellishments trimmed away and a higher hem to become beautiful cocktail dresses.
2. Make sure it suits the way you plan to use it
Try on the dress wearing the underwear you plan to wear to the prom, so you don’t end up with unexpected lines or exposed straps on the big night. Also, consider freedom of movement: if you love to dance, you might not want a full-length dress with stilettos, and consider lighter fabrics that will keep you cool. If you plan to spend extended time outdoors, be ready for heat, cold, and rain. No matter how elegant and lovely your dress may be in the dressing room, it won’t be so nice if you’re sweating through it or tripping over it on the big night.
3. Match the dress to your skin tone
Cool: If you have light-colored eyes and your skin has blue or pink undertones, look for icy,vibrant colors; something in red, navy, blue-green, black, magenta, or dark purple. Choose silver accessories rather than gold.
Warm: If you have green or dark eyes, and your skin has olive or yellow undertones, consider a prom dress in subdued, autumn colors—orange, brown, peachy-pink, olive, and earth tones. Gold jewelry is a better choice than silver.
4. Make sure it flatters your body shape
Pear-shaped: For you especially, a great prom dress is about flaunting what you like about your body, not hiding what you don’t. Go for a dress with a fitted top and an A-line or full-length skirt. If you’re comfortable with your caboose, a form-fitting skirt is a great option; but even if you’re not in love with it, don’t try to cover it up. Find a dress that lets it work for you.
Apple-shaped: Your dress should show off your lovely arms, legs, and bust, and an empire waist (or any dress with a waist closer to the bust line) will deemphasize any problem areas. If you like your legs, show them off with a shorter dress.
Petite: A Floor-length dress will swallow you up, so pick a shorter dress with an asymmetrical hem line to make you look taller. Go for a more delicate, feminine look to compliment your smaller frame.
Slim: If you’re slender, choose dresses that draw attention to your waist line and bust line to
make the most of your curves. A belted or wrap dress will also accentuate your slender waist, and consider choices that draw attention to your legs.
Busty: If you want to flaunt your bust, a deep neck line is good, but keep it understated—you don’t need to go crazy to be noticed. Make sure you have good coverage and support everywhere else. Check out dresses that draw the eye to the hem to balance out your look.
Samantha Abrams is a freelance writer and fashion and celebrity blogger over at the Style Cynics fashion blog.