I'm fortunate to have missed the puffy-sleeve prom dress era (as much as I love the '80s!). But looking back at my prom wardrobe -- compared to today's scantily-clad styles -- you could say I looked downright dowdy. To my dad's delight, I'm sure, the "in" styles were almost exclusively long gowns. They had high halter necklines, substantial straps, or decent coverage even if they were strapless. They looked pretty stylish and elegant, in my opinion -- on a night that used to be about elegance and being on the brink of adulthood.
Not too get all granny-ish on you -- because prom is supposed to be fun, and my age starts with a "3"-- but any given prom dress you find on sale these days can have a crazy combo of features that make it look like it's been through battle: hip-high slits, torso cutouts, tattered layers of fabric, a camouflage-y smattering of a rainbow of colors, and sequins or some other bling (cuter than shrapnel anyway) to top it all off. Phew, ladies -- simplicity is out, eh? (Modesty has been for a while!)
As the news in New England will tell you, several high schools have had it and are adopting a fairly strict dress code for the 2012 prom (after all, teen pregnancy rates may be down, but STD rates are up with as many as 1 in 4 teen girls having one -- eek and ick).
Schools from Southington, CT to Saugus, MA have made prom dress rules like:
- No slits that rise above the fingertips
- No cutouts in the side or midriff
- No tops that fall below the bra line
- No backs that fall below the waist
- No hemlines below the mid-thigh
Saugus high school also reminds boys that prom is a formal affair: no sneakers or jeans, and jackets and button-up shirts are a must. (The ladies will love it -- trust us, guys!)
So what's a girl to wear? Our gallery of prom dress trends for 2012 should have something that pleases most teens, parents, and schools.
Good luck! Have fun! Go for a dress that will still make you proud(ish) when you look at your prom pics in 10 or 20 years. ;)