ball gowns

What prom dress is right for me?

I have been really impressed this year at how organised the 2014 prom girls are!  We had our first one at the boutique early last month, and have had several since then.  Although some mums coyly say to me when entering the boutique: ‘we’re looking at prom dresses, but we’re a bit early’, I think it’s extremely sensible, just like a bride, a prom girl KNOWS when she has found her dress and it matters not a jot that she has found it months in advance.  Another reason to start early is that we never release the same dress to the same function, so make sure that your daughter gets first dibs on her dress for prom!

Nowadays there are so many different styles available, and there appears to be much less restriction on what is acceptable than before, so you could wear long or short, long and short, full on ball gown, or subtle and elegant.  However, we are well aware that although the increase in styles means more variety, it can also make the decision even harder and more intimidating, especially if you are a young lady who is not used to wearing formal attire.  The aim of this blog post is to give a little direction to prom girls who are starting out their research into which prom dress to wear on prom night.

The first golden question you should be asking is ‘what style of prom dress will suit me?’.  It is all well and good having your heart set on a particular style, but if it does nothing for you, you won’t feel comfortable on the big night and you will spend the whole evening feeling self-conscious and doing your best to hide in the shadows.  I recommend getting out a piece of paper and writing down what body shape you have, try to be as honest and objective as you can.  Remember that what you see in the mirror isn’t necessarily the same as what everyone else sees, so mum, dad, sisters or any other close family members are usually very helpful and will give honest opinions on your shape.  Try not to take anything they say too personally, after all, they only want you to look your best on prom night!  After you have established what kind of shape you are, pick out your body features you wish to show off and write them down.  Lastly, write down the body features you wish to hide.

In order to help you decide what prom dress style would suit you, I have pulled together the key prom dress styles with a general guide on what body shape would suit, so you can concentrate on the most important thing when choosing your prom dress: having fun!

nude colour prom ball gown - a perfect princess look!

nude colour prom ball gown – a perfect princess look!




Ball gown prom dresses

Ball gown prom dresses are traditional, or ‘classic’ prom dresses, and are the perfect way to achieve that fairy tale princess look.  With their full, flared skirts and their fitted bodices, there are not really many body shapes which don’t suit this style.  If you are a curvy girl, they are a great way of showing off a cinched in waist, or if you don’t have much of a waist, they are great at giving the illusion of a  waist.  If you are pear shaped or are concerned about the bottom half of your figure, this dress emphasises the waist and completely hides your bottom half.  The only body shape which might slightly struggle in this style is if you are very small and petite as you can look swamped by the skirts.  If you fall into this category but you still want that fairytale look, opt for an a-line dress instead as it still gives you a full skirt, and maximises the chance of you wearing the dress but minimises the risk of the dress wearing you!




Sequin fishtail prom dress - perfect for showing off an hourglass figure!

Sequin fishtail prom dress – perfect for showing off an hourglass figure!




Mermaid prom dresses

These dresses are also known as fishtail prom dresses or trumpet prom dresses.  The mermaid prom dress typically has a figure hugging fitted bodice that goes right the way down to the mid-thigh and then flares out to give the illusion of a mermaid’s tail.  These dresses look great on prom girls who have a hourglass shape (i.e. who are well balanced at the bust and hips with a proportionately smaller waist).  If you have more of a boyish figure, this style of dress will probably emphasise the straightness of your figure and will probably not show your body off in the best way.  These dresses tend to fit very closely to the body and will give a true silhouette of your body shape, so if you are a bit shy about your body, it’s probably best to stay away from this style.


Pinky nude chiffon empire line prom dress

Pinky nude chiffon empire line prom dress






Empire line prom dresses

These dresses have a high waistline with the skirt gently falling from under the bust.  They tend to be made out of a light, floaty fabric such as chiffon which falls elegantly to the floor.  This style of prom dress works well on most body shapes and is probably one of the most forgiving styles.  It also makes a great plus size style.  They are fabulous if you are concerned about showing off your mid-section, providing you with a bit of extra coverage, whilst still giving you the ability to achieve that whimsical, elegant look.  At the other end of the spectrum, they also make great dresses for girls who have a less defined waist, or a ‘boyish shape’ as they don’t emphasise the waist and drape graciously to the floor.




High low hem prom dress - perfect for showing off your pins!

High low hem prom dress – perfect for showing off your pins!





Mullet prom dress

These dresses are also known as high low hem dresses.  These dresses come in a variety of styles, e.g. fitted down to the thigh, fitted to the waist or empire line.  It’s a fantastic alternative to a full length gown and is absolutely brilliant if you (like me!) are a little vertically challenged as you won’t have to worry about having the hem shortened or tripping over a long dress at prom!  If your legs are the feature that you want to show off, but you still like the idea of having a long prom dress, this could well be the option for you.  Make sure that you team up this style of dress with a fabulous pair of shoes, but if you are going for a pair of peep toes, make sure that your feet are in tip top condition and that you go and get yourself a good pedicure beforehand!






Once you are aware of what shape you are, the process of prom dress shopping changes from being stressful to being exactly what it should be – fun!  Remember that it’s not every day you get to wear a glamorous dress, so I recommend taking full advantage while you can and seek out a really special dress.  This is definitely one of those times when high street just will not do!

If you require any further help regarding what style is best suited to your shape, feel free to leave us a comment below, facebook us at Walk in Wardrobe Brighton or tweet us @walkinwardrobe