Deciding on what type of dress
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
Choosing a color
- 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.
Shopping for the prom dress
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
Designing your own dress
- Do this at least four weeks in advance, so that you have time to have it altered if needed.
Shoes and accessories
- 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.