The Prom Dress: A Rite Of Passage Garment

Aside from the wedding dress, the dreamy prom dress is the most important garment to many teenage girls in America. The dress has evolved over the years, but the ritual of dressing up for prom has stayed constant. Prom is a teenage rite of passage that every young girl looks forward to, and picking out the perfect dress is as important as attending the dance itself.

The History of the Prom Dress

The prom dress takes its inspiration from the princess-like gowns girls once wore to debutante balls. However, the event girls wear the dress to — prom — only came about at the beginning of the 20th century. Proms first gained extensive popularity at high schools across the country in the 1930s.

Traditionally, parents dressed their debutante daughters in what they deemed tasteful clothing. Today, many schools have instituted dress codes for proms. That said, girls continue to push the envelope, where style and sex-factor are concerned.

Dance the Night Away

The 1930s saw the first variations of the original debutante ball gowns. At the time, the dress was mostly conservative in style. In the 1940s, styles became more risque with off the shoulder, tea-length a-line gowns.

The 1950s saw the influx of full skirts. Meanwhile, empire waist designs were popular in the 1960s. In the 1970s, a mix of bohemian style gowns and mini-skirted dresses came into being. Ruffles and cap sleeves were popular in the 1980s, while the 1990s saw lots of velvet and halter tops. Finally, the 2000s brought in slinky sheath-like dresses. The fashion of the times inspired each decade, and that’s still true today. However, the invention of social media lent new inspiration to the prom dress.

Inspiration for the Ideal Dress

Social media shapes the way many see the world, and it’s no different for teens searching for the perfect prom dress. It’s no surprise that this generation is more willing to push the boundaries.

Generation Z is more on-trend than ever. Gone are the days of white ball gowns. The prom dress has truly evolved to show the diversity of America today. Many teens are inspired by celebrity styles or a deep-seated desire to highlight their individuality.

Getting Pretty for Prom

Prom dresses range in price and style. They can be less than $100 or upwards of $1000. The designer determines the manufacturing of each dress, but most gowns can be found in department stores or specialty prom dress stores. Girls can often purchase their dresses directly off the rack. While the dress won’t be the only expense for prom night, it will be one of the most critical purchases any teenage girl will make.