Prom is a time for celebration and dancing. It's almost time to graduate and move on for seniors.
For girls there is a lot of excitement about who is going with whom and especially about finding that perfect dress for the night of prom.
If you are a plus-size girl, however, finding the perfect dress may add extra stress to the occasion.
Kim Grayston, the owner of Rent A Bridal Gown and Sales in Modesto, works with girls of all shapes and sizes, but had some specific suggestions for plus-size girls looking for a prom dress:
Though the style might be slinky fabric, a girl looking to accentuate her plus-size figure should not go with charmeuse or other clingy fabrics.
"Matte satin for sure for plus sizes," Grayston said. "The fabric of a dress impacts the look a lot. Matte satin makes for a smoother look to the dress and does not hug every part of the body."
Any girl who wants a smooth look should consider wearing Spanx bodyshapers. Grayston explained that they can flatten out your tummy and can be a big help for any size girl who wants a smoother, more sophisticated profile.
Grayston said that plus-size girls with nice legs can go with short dresses. Otherwise, she recommends a floor length dress.
"Also, if you have square shoulders, a dress that has a halter top or one with spaghetti straps will make your shoulders look smaller," Grayston said, although she warned "a rounded halter neckline can make a girl with a rounded face look even more round. So, if you have a rounder face, it is usually best to go with the 'sweetheart' or V-shaped neckline."
Another tip is that vertical lines on a dress make you look slimmer. And there are other illusions that can be created by lines, ruffles and the design of a dress to make your figure look stunning for the big night. It's important to try different styles and see what works for you.
The color of everything from your hair to your skin matters. If you intend to tan or color your hair for prom, it is best to go shopping for a dress after you have tanned and changed your hair color. This way, your dress will look its best. According to Grayston, popular colors this year include turquoise, bronze, orange and purple.
Casey Morasca, the Women's Department Manager from J.C. Penney's at Vintage Faire Mall, agrees that purple is big this year. He also says that black and pink are top choices. Each color goes with different skin tones and hair colors. Darker color dresses are always more slimming. Dresses with lighter or brighter colors work on areas you want to accentuate. Darker colors can cover areas you want to minimize.
What to take with you
When shopping for a prom dress, it is important to take a few things with you.
Shoes are key because they help determine how long your dress can be and the alterations the dress might need. Also, bring along Spanx and any other undergarments you plan to wear with the dress so that you can be sure everything works with the cut and fabric of your dress.
As an optional item, you might want to bring a camera to the dress store so that you can look at your top picks at home before deciding to buy the dress.
Like anything in high school, prom shopping can be a great learning experience.
Said Grayston, "If you can learn the right look for yourself while you are still in high school, you'll know what to look for throughout your life."
Katie Mussman is a senior at Davis High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom journalism program.
Where To Shop
Plus-size prom dresses are more readily available than ever before. Here are some great local places to look:
- J.C. Penney (Vintage Faire Mall) — Carries some larger sizes (up to 19 in some styles and 24 in others.)
- Rent A Bridal Gown And Sales (1057 W. Orangeburg) — This store carries (and can order) new dresses in all sizes, including many plus-size options. Dresses also can be rented.
- Torrid (Vintage Faire Mall) — This plus-size store carries long and short dresses for prom.
- Fashion Bug (2225 Plaza Parkway) — This plus-size store carries some short dresses that can work for prom.
- Bridal/Formal shops — Most carry some plus-size formals and can order others (check the yellow pages under "Bridal Shops" or "Bridal Gowns, Formals & Accessories").
- Go Online — Check the Internet to order plus-size dresses (promgirl.com/shop, ChristinaGowns.com, rissyroos.com).