Fashion: Prom dress trends, popular styles

Senior prom is the pinnacle, the last hurrah of high school. Everyone wants it perfect, and for girls, that starts with the dress. It’s a dress you’ll remember all your life.

It’s been awhile since I went to prom. Okay, over two decades. So when researching this article, I wasn’t sure what to find today’s teens shopping for.

I was pleasantly surprised to see basics are the same: Girls want pretty, romantic dresses. So long is still favored over short (unless you go to New Trier), with a single should strap or strapless, and pastels are still red hot.

After scouring Pinterest and the web, today’s girls arrive at stores knowing exactly what they want.

“But that doesn’t stop them from trying on dozens of dresses,” says Shannon Ridgeway, marketing director for Westfield, Old Orchard.

They like hottest color on the red carpet this past award season, though it wasn’t really a color at all. Cate Blanchett, Jessica Biel and Jenna Dewan made the best-dressed list wearing nude-tone gowns. In real life, nude translates to a pale pink. And pink is ethereal, universally flattering — a perfect choice for prom.

As Lauren Rapisand, media relations manager at Macy’s says, “this season more than ever, girls are passionate about pink.“From blush to magenta — pink wins most popular.”

Beyond pink there’s blue, rich and dark. Or pale, glittering ice.

“While black and white are classic prom colors, this year we’re seeing more navy. Girls loved Sandra Bullock’s and Amy Adams’ Oscar gowns, and are seeking sleek, navy, strapless dresses for themselves,” says Ridgeway. Navy, she added, is a great choice for the girl looking for something a little more sophisticated.

For girls into glam, embellishments are key. Lace and cut-outs are all on trend, and Gigi Roberts, of GiGi’s closet in Glenview, says for some schools, “mesh inserts and elaborate beading are a strong look this year.”

Sparkle from beading and sequins also up the princess factor. Finding an ice blue gown with a beaded bust, Sarah Campise, a senior at Northtown Academy in Chicago was sold. “I knew instantly this was the dress for me,” she said. “It’s my dream dress.”

And these days, more girls than ever have the fun and exciting of buying a prom dress. So many girls go to prom with friends, without dates, reports Roberts, and it’s cool. “It’s such a fun and memorable night, everyone should be able to experience and enjoy it,” she says.

I couldn’t agree more. On the cusp of adulthood, every girl deserves to feel special and dance a night away with her classmates. So date, no date — don’t worry. Pick the dress that makes you happy and go make some memories!

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