Prom 101

Rebecca Caulton, Staff Writer

Prom is one of the most exciting and stressful times of the year for many seniors. A once in the lifetime experience, prom is a time where everyone goes all out on dresses, suits, nails, hair, and makeup. For those unacquainted with where to buy attire that meets this bar, it is overwhelming. With less than a month left before prom, now is the time to figure out the ins and outs of where to shop and who to take with you to prom.

Prom has a complex history and in the past few decades it has become more grandiose than ever. According to Panache, “The first proms were in the early 1800s. They were known as the Promenade. They were primarily thrown with the main purpose for young men to show their newly found manners and social standing.” While in the past, proms were used in all grade levels and were usually held at schools, prom often takes place off campus now. While during COVID many students missed their chances to attend school dances and the previous years missed their graduation and senior prom, this year students have the opportunity to enjoy the full experience.  Additionally, prom also has a little-known origin to their rise. According to History, “In the famous case of Charleston High School in Mississippi, white parents began organizing invite-only proms for white students in 1970, the year black students began attending.” After Brown v. Board, some schools used prom to continue segregation at their schools, resulting in a separate prom for white students ran by the school and black students often running their own prom. While this history is less relevant to how prom is held today in America, it is still an important factor to keep in mind.

While the senior class council is still planning prom, some details have been released. This year’s prom is on June 3 and the venue will be MoPOP from 8:00-11:00 pm with the theme of Starry Night x Met Gala. Tickets do not seem to be available yet but now is a good time to get your attire ready and buy a corsage or boutonniere if you have a date. Out of the seniors I interviewed, the majority said they did not have a date in mind for prom this year. Additionally, there was a lot of variety in how different students prepare for school dances. Senior Jack Gonzalos said that he “usually just wears the same suit to every dance.” To many students this is the most economical and convenient choice, especially for those planning to wear suits as accessories tend to make a suit more than the fabrics. On the contrasting end of this, senior Juliann Choi, has a different approach to dances as she “does not wear the same outfits at different dances.” I usually just buy a new one for a specific dance or look through my mom’s closet, she explains. For students that do not want to spend money on new dresses or suits, borrowing from a parent or buying second-hand is an economical approach to prom shopping. According to Brightly, “The fashion industry accounts for about 10% of all human-made carbon emissions. And together, these factors contribute to global warming and climate change.” These environmental factors motivate many students towards buying second-hand clothes and with tailoring being a common cost for both new and used dresses, the outcome can still be just as well-fitting and sleek.

If you do plan to buy your outfit new, it can be hard to know what store to shop at. One common option is to set an appointment at a bridal shop, although this requires a reservation and can be very pricey. According to Site Jabber, the top-rated store for prom dresses is Hebeos citing that “reviewers satisfied with Hebeos most frequently mention beautiful dresses, great experience, and custom size.” For students that have trouble finding dresses that fit them properly, choose a store that offers tailoring such as Nordstrom or a store with custom sizes such a Hebeos. Many other students mention shopping online for their dresses or choosing alternative stores such as senior Bella Verzosa who does not look for name brand in particular. “I usually shop at House of CB but just go for quality,” says Verzosa. For less expensive options, Macy’s is another great option as well as amazon if you are okay with the possibility of misleading listings.

While prom may be the center of senior year for some students, other students do not even plan on going. For example, senior Jonathon Liu said that he “[would] rather play ‘League [of Legends],’” than go to prom. Whether you plan to stay home and have fun, throw your own party, or go to MoPOP this June for prom, senior year is many students’ last chance to express themselves through fashion and have fun with the friends they have developed throughout high school.