5 Tips for Dressing Down at the Prom

5 Tips for Dressing Down at the Prom

Not everybody wants to be the centre of attention at the prom, and some people do but for reasons other than glamour. Here are a few tricks to dressing differently at the prom, because sometimes downplaying it is better.

Being the best dressed doesn’t always mean being the most decorated, of course not. There is beauty in subtlety. There is a skill to catching the eye surreptitiously, and prom night is a perfect time to work that skill. Yes there is a wide range of glittering, frilly, lacy and creatively cut dresses designed to grab attention, but there is something powerfully mysterious about the girl in the room who is confident enough to let her style entice the eye with natural beauty, instead of an overworked parade which cost enough to fuel a helicopter. Or maybe you want something that breaks away from tradition and formality. You want something that expresses who you are and where your interests lie. If this sounds appealing to you, take a look at these five ways of saying ‘this is who I am’ with your prom dress.

Dressing Down For A Dressup Event

1. This isn’t my dress, it’s a canvas.

Most prom dresses hold their rigid formality by sticking to single colours and shades, it’s a safe bet. So a good but tricky step towards getting rid of that formality is to add something to its design. You could even work this into the event’s theme, if there is one. It could be summery, wintery or have contrasting tones and patterns. Remember though, there is a fine line between pulling it off and looking just plain different; but some people can pull off ‘just plain different.’

2. I’m keeping it simple.

How do you stand out amidst a sea of designer dresses all trying to be the most striking? By not being striking of course. A simple yet elegant dress which doesn’t shout ‘look at me’ is great for sending the message that you aren’t so easily wrapped up in the glamour and traditions of prom. A carefully thought out dress can be elegant and graceful enough to make you shine, but simple and silent enough to allow room for your authentic character to show itself.

3. What happens if I cut this?

Getting artistic is always a risk, but if you do it carefully and don’t stray too far out of the parameters, you could pull it off. To be safe, work small; cut the skirt, change its length, or change the sleeves or the neckline of your dress. Although it would probably be best to get someone who knows what they’re doing to make these changes for you. Be careful of being too experimental with the shape of the dress unless you actually want to shock people. If you’re going for something unique, the Sherri Hill dresses catalogues have a fantastically dynamic and daring range which could help give you some ideas.

4. Accessories to the crime.

When it comes to personalisation, accessories offer plenty of room for play, so long as it’s not overdone; in fact, minimal jewellery is a statement in itself. Personalised necklaces, rings and earrings can say a great deal about your personality, or they can keep you mysterious. What kind of belt could downplay your look? And don’t even get me started on shoes, because there is no end to creative possibilities there. If it works with your dress, try it out; even if it seems unusual it might end up looking good. And as always, with accessories, never forget about their practical value, if they do nothing but cause discomfort, you’re trying too hard.

5. I even brushed my hair.

People are a bit scared when it comes to haircuts before big events. There have just been too many sad tales of hairstyle-complexes ruining a night out. What’s the secret? Get your hair done about a week before the prom. Give it time to settle into its new style. Fresh haircuts simply never look natural, so don’t panic when you first see it. Go through magazines and Google ‘hairstyles’ to get a good idea of what will work with your outfit. You can try different colours; wear it up, down, short, long, shaved partially shaved or simply tucked behind the ears. It probably need not be said but avoid ponytails and most definitely pigtails. There are also plenty of accessories you could use in your hairstyle, but, again there’s no need for overdoing it.


Mary is a millennial who works as a part-time freelance writer. She's trying to realize more ways to live a sustainable lifestyle while learning Spanish on her vacant times.

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