(Photo courtesy of Ryanne Garcia)
Some of you may know I teach high school and have for the past 17 years. One of the most exciting times of year for my students is of course Prom. The buzz around campus is so much fun this time of year, listening to the plans, who’s going with who, how to wear hair and makeup, etc. It always reminds me of my own prom and how excited I was back then…way back then :-).
The styles have definitely changed over the years…why not take a look back?
In the 1940s, prom dress silhouettes were often cut slim and close to the body. This wasn’t done for the sake of a sexier, more body-con dress: It was due to WWII fabric rations. There were higher necklines and covered shoulders.
Ultrafeminine, waist-whittling tea-length dresses dominated the fashion vernacular in a big way in the 1950s, and it was the preferred shape for promgoers during that midcentury period too. The style includes fitted waists, full skirts, and calf-grazing hems, falling 3 to 4 inches below the knees.
The early ‘60s brought about a return to closer-cut skirting that had been de rigueur two decades earlier, but purely for aesthetic reasons — not as a cost-cutting measure. Slimmer skirts were paired with higher waistlines, making for more of a baby-doll silhouette. Pastel palettes with Easter egg-worthy hues were popular, and dresses moved toward spaghetti-strap and boatneck shapes up top. Later in the decade, empire waist shapes rose to prominence, paired with a range of necklines, like sleeveless boatneck styles and square-neck short-sleeved iterations. And throughout the ‘60s, ultra-voluminous coifs were the norm. Prom wasn’t cool anymore toward the end of the decade.
My mom graduated in 1971 and swears it wasn’t cool to go to prom, so she didn’t go. In the 1970s, many prom dresses, reflecting the wider dress trends of the era, became roomier in cut, often without any definition at the waist whatsoever. Unlike the strapless, snug bodices or sleeveless styles that were dominant in previous decades of prom dressing, these frocks tended to have off-the-shoulder, possibly lace-trimmed necklines or long sleeves that were often sheer or billowy.
The maximalism of all things ‘80s certainly didn’t spare the prom dress category. The extravagant excess of the era translated to ultra-pouffy details like oversize bows or ruffles and flashy metallic materials.
In the early part of the ‘90s, prom frocks looked quite similar to those of the ‘80s in terms of having lots of pouf and ample metallic hues. Sweetheart necklines became quite popular for promgoers (and for fancy occasions in general), and while form-fitting bodices endured, the silhouette shifted slightly, with waistlines hitting closer to the hips.
The new millennium brought about a mishmash of prom trends (spurred by the era’s prevailing fashion trends). Think: bubble-hemmed looks, like a wildly unrealistic, straight-off-the-runway Chanel frock worn by Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) to the prom on The O.C. in 2006.
Info courtesy of Yahoo
Photos courtesy of Iris Cook