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Prom Dresses

Choosing a prom dress is one of life's rituals, since most people only attend their Junior and Senior prom at the end of the high school year. Of course, there is Homecoming, and some schools also have a Winter Formal dance as well as other, semi-formal dances on occasions like Valentine's day.
How do you know which is the best prom dress for the occasion? You want a gown that looks wonderful on you, so it should complement your coloring and your body shape. But you also want something that isn't strange in comparison to those the other girls are wearing. It's great to be unique, but if you're shy, you probably prefer something that blends in. Cost may be factor, and sometimes parents insist on a certain type of dress that may be more modest than you would like. But take heart: there are plenty of prom dresses out there, and you can find just the right one for you.

Formal or semi-formal? Formal occasions demand floor-length gowns, which are often also backless, sleeveless or even strapless. If you're the kind of person who loses or drops things, don't even think about getting a strapless gown: you'll always be checking to see what your bust is doing. Semi-formal dresses don't have to be floor length: they can be tea length, or hit somewhere at or below the knee. The long and the short of it is that the type of dance dictates (to some extent) the type of dress you'll be expected to wear. Mini-skirts are not okay for semi-formal or formal dances, so don't even think about it!

In days gone by, a young woman never wore black unless she was in mourning. Black was considered appropriate for married women, but it was thought too sexy for unmarried ones. Red is another color with associations that lead some people to think a red dress is "too much" for high school dances, especially if it has glamorous and grown-up features like a strapless bodice, a slit on the side or a deep neckline. If you want to wear a red or black dress to an upcoming dance and your parents are against it, you might try on dresses that are in those colors but of a simpler design, and see if they change their minds. Sometimes, just the fact that your dress has sleeves is enough to make parents relax and reconsider their positions on prom wear. The main goal of prom dresses is to make a young woman feel grown up without horrifying her parents. It's a tightrope, but you can walk it if you use your common sense as well as your fashion sense!

White makes a statement at a dance, but because of its associations with wedding gowns, you want to make sure a white or off-white dress doesn’t look like bridal wear. At the very least, it may give your date the wrong idea about how much you like him! A strapless sheath with opera-length gloves looks very grown-up: a white dress with a fluffy skirt would be very pretty paired with a belt or sash, gloves and jewelry in your favorite color and the colorful accents would take away any "bridal" look. Avoid lace, ruffles or frills for a more mature look.

If you have a lot of dances to attend, you may be able to find pretty evening gowns at a discount in vintage stores. Shopping the vintage stores combines wardrobe enhancement with treasure hunting. You can find clothes, accessories and jewelry ranging from inexpensive to downright cheap at second hand shops.

Trendy looks for prom dresses change from year to year, so look at magazines to find what's in for 2006 and what trends have outlasted 2005. Junior stores and teen shops often carry prom gowns in the spring, but if you need to find a dress out of prom season, you can also look for evening and party clothes at bridal shops, which also carry evening apparel.

If you can't find prom dresses you like in nearby stores, go online to shop. Look for brands like Jessica McClintock or Jovani. You can find designer dresses at places like Overstock.com, and many plus size stores like Chadwicks carry plus size evening wear as well. The online store www.sydneyscloset.com specializes in plus size prom dresses: so does Pretty shoes are everywhere, and if you're looking for something really unique, like a gothic gown, you can find the on the internet.

If you know exactly what you want, but you can't find it anywhere, you can find a dress pattern that works for you, or you can design your own dress and take it to a tailor to be custom made. This will certainly cost more than a ready-made dress, but when you're getting just what you want, many people feel it's worth it.

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