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Seven Prom Dress Don’ts… and How to Avoid Them

You won’t be a prom fashion disaster with these tips!


Girls in Prom Dresses
Charles Gullung / The Image Bank / Getty Images
There’s a lot that goes into creating the perfect prom ensemble. The dress, the bag, the jewelry, the shoes, the perfect curly updo and makeup… that’s a lot of elements to coordinate for just one night! With so much to worry about, there’s always the fear of getting it wrong. You don’t want to end up a prom disaster and not even know it until you look back at photos and think, why the heck did I wear that?!

Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re already on your way to prom perfection. Here are seven of the most common prom fashion mistakes and how to avoid them.

Overloading on Sparkle. Jewels, glitter and sequins might be on your dream prom dress. In fact, in some boutiques, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a prom dress without at least a hint of sparkle! I love a sparkly dress for prom… the problem is when there’s sparkle overload. What’s sparkle overload? It’s pairing a sequin-covered dress with a loud, glittery bag, or gigantic glitter bangles, or heels that are too bejeweled. Instead, let your dress sparkle and your accessories remain neutral and subdued. That way, your dress will be the centerpiece, and you won’t blind your fellow dance-goers.

Showing Way Too Much Skin. A little skin is fine, so long as it’s in your school’s dress code. But, a dress that’s low-cut with side cut-outs and a slit up to your thigh? That’s just a little too much. Choose one part of your body to show off, whether it’s your chest and arms with a strapless dress, your stomach with cut-outs or your legs with a short hem or slit. A little skin is classy… too much skin is classless. You don’t want to end up like the girl who got arrested for wearing an inappropriate dress to prom. Yeesh.

Being Too Matchy-Matchy. A hot pink dress with a hot pink bag, hot pink heels and hot pink jewelry? Just saying it out loud makes me shudder. Too much of the same color on one body will make people stare, and not in a good way. Instead, mix it up a bit with complimentary colors. Bring a bag that matches your dress but that’s not the same exact hue. Match your bag and your heels to tie the look together.

Not Matching Enough. Of course, you don’t want to look like you threw your prom outfit together at the last minute. Take care and coordinate your accessories ahead of time. Avoid clashing colors, mixing prints and pairing awkward textures together.

Being Underdressed. Most proms are formal, but check your invitation to see what the official word is on dress code. Floor-length dresses and fancy mini dresses are always acceptable at prom, just make sure the fabric is formal-worthy as well. Silks, taffeta and other luxury fabrics will do. Avoid cotton, linen, jersey and other casual fabrics.

Being Overdressed. Again, most formal dresses will do for prom, but be sure to check your school’s dress code. You don’t want to show up with long white gloves and an Oscar gown if the rest of your class is going semi-formal. Here’s the difference between semi-formal and formal dress codes for girls and for guys.

Wearing an Ill-Fitting Dress. If your dress is too big or small up top, has a dragging hem or could be a little snugger around the waist… take it to a tailor. It’s worth the extra bucks. An ill-fitting dress is a fashion don’t for any occasion, and you don’t want to look squeezed, like you’re swimming in fabric, or have a strap break or a seam bust during the dance. You’ll also want to make sure to wear a dress style that flatters your body type.
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