How to Choose Your Prom Dress

How to Choose Your Prom Dress

1  Plan to choose and purchase your prom dress around four to six weeks before your prom. Many formal gowns (including prom dresses) require alterations for a perfect fit, and you will want to allow enough time to complete these alterations.
      If you don't get to buy a prom dress before the listed time, then just shop for a ready-made dress you would love to wear on your special night. There will always be a dress you like, even if it isn't a very fancy one.  
Method 1

Deciding on what type of dress

1  Get some inspiration. Check out different trends that are on the catwalk lately. Look through some magazines to see what you like and dislike about this season's dresses. You might also look at what celebrities are wearing to red carpet events, and use these things to inspire you but don't fret if you cannot match their looks, these are just for inspiration.
  •      Start looking at fashion magazines and stores as early as three to four months before your prom.
  •       Use the internet and take notes on your favorite styles. You may just be able to find a similar prom dress in your local boutique. If you don't, don't fret. There will always be a pretty dress somewhere out there.                                                              
Look for precious fabrics. For your prom dress, look for precious, fine and luxurious fabrics such as satin, tulle, silk, chiffon, lace and velvet.
Plan your budget for your prom dress and begin saving as soon as possible. Be sure to allow extra cash for small accessories like hair clips, pantyhose, and make-up.
Method 2

Matching the dress to your body and face shape

1 Focus on matching the dress to your face and body shapes, to ensure the ideal look and fit, therefore making your job of finding a dress easier. Finding out what your face and body shapes are will help you to match these to the ideal dress, one that flatters and accentuates all of your good features, hiding anything you might consider a flaw. The steps in this section will help you to match your face and body shapes to your dress style.

Consider your face shape in order to choose the perfect neckline If you have an oval face, then you are blessed with what it is considered to be the ideal face shape - forehead wider than the chin, cheekbones slightly prominent and face delicately narrowing towards the chin, which is narrow and oval. This mean you can choose any type of neckline you like.
  • If you have a round face (as wide as it is long, a little narrower at the forehead and jaw line), you should look for a prom dress that elongates your face to make her look more oval. V-necks, Queen Anne and Empire necklines, sweetheart and scoop necks suit best your oval face. Always avoid high neck dresses and supersized necklaces, as they tend to hide the neck and therefore make your face look even more round.
  • If you have a triangle face (wide jaw line, narrow forehead), look for necklines with a stronger vertical shape that can add curves to your face: Sabrina necklines, scoop necks, sweetheart necklines and cowl necks.
  • If you have a heart shaped face (sharp and oval chin, slightly prominent cheekbones, wide forehead), you need to make your face look wider, so opt for necklines that draw a horizontal line near the neck: high or wide necklines.
  • If you have a square face (square jaw line, forehead, cheekbones and jaw having the same width), the perfect prom dress for you should have a vertical shape, so look for scoop necks, Sabrina, sweetheart, cowl neck styles, and always avoid square necklines.
  • If you have an oblong face (prominent chin, forehead, cheekbones and jaw line having the same width), look for prom dresses with necklines that can make your face look wider and more oval: round, wide, Sabrina and cowl necks. Also, stay away from V-neckline dresses.
Know your body shape and how to match it to the perfect cut. You could be an apple, pear, hourglass, vase. There are various different categories for body shape .To match the body shape and dress, here are some suggestions:
  • If you have an hourglass body shape (well-defined waist, torso and hips having about the same width), look for prom dresses that accentuate the waist and keep a perfect balance between tops and bottoms: if they have sleeves, a full skirt is required; if the top of the dress is tight, the skirt must also tightly follow the hips and thighs.
  • If you have a rectangle body shape (no defined waistline, shoulders, bust and hips having the same width), you need to define your waist and add volume on both your upper and lower body. The best prom dresses for you are draped dresses with a defined waist and full skirt, Empire dresses, A-lines and any dress with a full skirt, ruffles and folds.
  • If you have an inverted triangle body shape (little waist definition, shoulders and bust larger than the hips), you must add volume to your lower body in order to draw attention away from your broad shoulders. You can create the hourglass silhouette illusion by wearing Empire line dresses, A-lines with deep V-necks, wrap dresses with a higher waist and other dresses with full skirts and details or embellishment on the hips.
  • If you have a pear body shape (torso and upper body smaller than the hips), you must make your silhouette look like the ideal hourglass figure, so look for prom dresses that draw attention to your shoulders and bust and reduce your lower body: A-line dresses, wrap and draped bust dresses, as well as prom dresses with well-defined waist and embellishments that draw attention to your upper body.
  • If you have an apple body shape (little or no waist definition, upper body wider than the hips), you need dresses that can create the illusion of a slimmer waist while keeping the right balance between the upper and lower body: Empire and A-line dresses with simple tops and a low and wide neckline (scoop, square, sweetheart).
Method 3

Choosing a color

Decide on the color. Different colors tell people what your personality is, like if you choose a bright red, then people would think you were bold and the centre of attention. If you choose black, sophisticated; blue, confident; pink, fun; purple, bubbly. It's all about what image or mood you want to show. It's also about what color you look flattering in. Some girls look better in blue, some in red. For example, girls with long brown hair and brown eyes might do well to avoid the color yellow. It really depends on your hair color, figure, eye color, face shape, mouth size, and eye size.
  • Look for special colors. Black and white are classic chromatic options when it comes to special occasions outfits. The first is elegant and mysterious, the latter is romantic and pure.
  • A red prom dress is perfect if you are looking for a sensual and passionate look, while gold and silver are always a good idea when it comes to party outfits.
  • Bright prom dresses are modern and eye-catching, but choose only one bright color if you don’t want to end up looking like a clown. Or you can always pair a bright purse, jewelry or pair of shoes with a neutral or pastel shade dress.
Method 4

Shopping for the prom dress

Start looking out for the actual dress, now that you know what you want. Ideally, you need to start this stage at around 4 to 5 weeks before the actual event. But, remember, if you see a really nice dress in the window, don't think 'that's the one' and just go in and buy it. You need to shop around because, you might buy that dress and a week later see an even nicer one. Good things come to those who wait but the leftovers to those who procrastinate, so don't leave it too long.
  • Don't purchase your dress too far in advance, as before big events you can easily lose or gain weight, from stress or something else, such as periods, boyfriend troubles, stress, season (winter versus spring).
Try on dresses in a variety of different styles and cuts to find the one that works best for your body. You should already have done the work on the body shape, but here are some additional considerations:
  • If you have a slim figure, you may look best in a sheath-style dress that shows off your silhouette.
  • If you are curvy, you may want to consider an A-line dress that will highlight your waist and minimize your hips and thighs.
  • If you're short and petite, dress shopping may be more challenging; cocktail dresses become full gowns and party dresses become cocktail dresses. However, with plenty of time ahead, you can get these tailored to your size.
  • If you're looking for a longer dress, look for a short dress that is long on you. It will fit better and will fit you everywhere else without being too long.
Choose the dress. Once you have narrowed your choices to one particular prom dress style, try on that style in a variety of different colors and finishes. Although you should already have an idea of the preferred color, it can't hurt to do a final check for a glamorous shade that brings out color in your face.
  • When choosing a fabric finish, keep in mind that shinier finishes will tend to show off figure flaws while matte finishes will obscure and diminish undesirable features.
Method 5

Designing your own dress

Consider getting a dress tailor made for you. You might not like this idea of waiting around and you also might have a creative flair. If so, you could also design your own dress. You are probably thinking 'what?' but you could just sketch what you want on a piece of paper and take it to a tailors to be made for you. Or, you can take in a picture of a dress and they can make a copy.
  • Do this at least four weeks in advance, so that you have time to have it altered if needed.
Method 6

Shoes and accessories

Start shopping for shoes and accessories at least two months in advance of the prom or formal dance. This way, you can try on your shoes, bag, and dress all together at the dress shop. If you change your mind, you can at least return the bag and shoes if time allows, and you will only have to pay the lay away fee rather than getting stuck with an expensive dress no one else would necessarily want.
  • Shoes usually look best when they are of the similar color or suit the color of the dress. A nice pair of heels are good if you want to be a bit taller.
  • When it comes to jewelry, don't go over-board, too much can just ruin the look of the dress and make it look cluttered.
Method 7


Sort out the perfect hairstyle to match the prom dress. While the opportunities are endless, don't leave the decision till the last minute. Are you thinking of dyeing it? If so, do this well in advance, ditto for a new cut. Some classic hairstyles are updos (they make the outfit look very classy and sophisticated) or long loose curls (they make you look fun and cute). A side bun makes for a quirky change.
Method 8

Getting ready for the prom

Try everything on to check how it all comes together. A couple of weeks before your prom, try on your dress with your shoes, jewelry, make-up, and hairstyle to be sure you like the finished look. Walk and move around in your prom dress a little to give it a comfort check.

    Get ready on the night of the prom. On the night of your prom, put your dress and a "cover-up" (any clean shirt or jacket) on before applying make-up or styling your hair. This will prevent any make-up smudges or product stains on your fabulous prom dress.
    To complete the look, don't forget that beautiful smile. Wearing a nice prom dress is good, but if you are smiling it will make you look like the best person in there. You confidence will go through the roof when you get all the compliments.

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