Wingspan’s 2015 Guide to Prom

Women’s Prom style guide 

Prom is the long-awaited celebration where upperclassmen spiff up for one of the most memorable nights of their high school career. It’s a big deal, at least to them,  and everyone wants to be seen looking their best.

So here are some tips to keep in mind as you look for the perfect dress for the occasion. Some things are universal, so before we get down to the nitty-gritty, I want to establish three important things to be aware of throughout your prom dress pursuit. Ladies, here it is. My big three:

Comfort

We’ve all heard it: comfort vs. style. Although you may be tempted to go all out for one night, breaking out the 12-inch heels and six pounds of jewelry, you may want to keep in mind that you will be spending hours dressed like this. You will be walking around, getting dinner and dancing with your friends. As shocking as it may sound, you can be comfortable and still look fabulous at the same time.

Fit

Fit is very important. You want to be aware of which curves you want to emphasize and which you do not. Fit also applies to your personal style. Does the dress fit your personality? Don’t spend your money on the latest trend if you don’t actually like the way it looks.

Cost

According to ABC News, the typical teenager spends $1,139 on prom. You will want to save money wherever possible; clipping coupons, scouring sales racks or borrowing things from friends and neighbors are all good ideas. But the battle between cost and quality will ultimately depend on you. It’s a balance between recognizing that prom is for one night, and that prom is also “The” night.

Fit for Body

No matter what your size or shape, there is a dress out there that is flattering for you. You need to know where a dress should hug and where it should flow. There are six general “shapes” that categorize body types: busty, apple, slender, hourglass, pear and petite.

Busty

This body type is defined by a larger bust, narrower hips and undefined waist. In order to balance your look, choose dresses that emphasize the curves of your hips to create a more defined waist. Beware of shorter dresses, which will create a more top-heavy look.

Apple

Girls with the apple body type typically have slim legs and a shorter, undefined waist. They carry most of their weight around their middle. Empire waist dresses (dresses where the waistline of the dress rises above your natural waistline) of any length work best to draw attention to the appropriate areas.

Slender

If you have a thin frame throughout, you have a slender body type. A fitted dress will show off your physique, and a belt or slit will help define your waist and add dimension.

Hourglass 

Hourglass body types have curvy figures with busts and hips that are proportionate to each other and a smaller waist. The length of their legs balance their upper body. Flattering dresses will accentuate your waist. Look for form-fitted tops, v-necklines, open necklines or wrap dresses.

Pear

Pear body types have a well-defined waist with hips larger than their bust. Look for dresses that will add volume to the upper body, show off the waist and draw attention away from the lower body for a more balanced shape. Fitted tops with full or A-line skirts work well.

Petite

Girls with a Petite body type are typically under 5 ft., 3 inches with a more slender frame. Asymmetrical hemlines and shorter dresses that show off your legs will make you look taller. Stay away from more overwhelming silhouettes such as floor length gowns and full skirts.

Keep in mind you should be able to move around in this dress. Walking, sitting, standing and dancing shouldn’t be uncomfortable and shouldn’t require assistance. Confidence is key. Stand up straight, keep your shoulders back, chin up and always smile. It’s your best accessory.

Neckline

There are a variety of necklines available, the most popular including high-neck, sweetheart, scoop, v-neck and asymmetrical. The neckline you should get is dependent on several factors. You must keep in mind bra options; how much support you need and what you’re comfortable with. If you are getting your dress altered, talk to your seamstress about what you are looking for and see what they can do. Adjusting the shoulder length or tightening the dress here or there could open up more options for you. You don’t want to spend half the night adjusting your dress.

If you want a lower neckline, be aware of where that falls on your body. Keep in mind transparent portions as well. You will be out in public if you’re planning on going to dinner. You may like a more revealing look, but you don’t want parents to be covering their childrens eyes as you walk through the restaurant. It’s important to know the line between sexy and inappropriate. Keep it classy, ladies!

Color

Ever hear, “That looks great with your skin-tone!” and have no idea what someone is talking about? Depending on your skin tone, certain colors will either make you glow or wash you out, and some can be distracting. Additionally, most people have either warm or cool-toned skin and few have mixed. Go outside in natural light and look at your wrist. If your veins appear more blue-ish with a rosy pink undertone, then you have cool skin. If they appear greenish with gold or apricot undertones, you have warm skin.

 For light-skinned girls with warm undertones, earth-toned colors look great. Any shade of brown or green works well, as well as lighter reds and oranges. Stay away from bright colors and neons.

 For light-skin with cool undertones, jewel tones (rich-colored tones that resemble gemstones) and berry colors look great. Avoid metallics and any shade that makes you look too light or too bright.

 For medium-skinned girls, bright jewel tones, whites and metallics work well. Shades of blue, brighter pinks, deep purples and rich greens all pop. Try to stay away from browns, beiges and caramel colors, as well as pastels and grays.

 For dark skin, warmer colors such as pinks, yellows or oranges work best. All shades from pastels to rich jewel tones work well. Purples, greens, bronze, copper, and whites all work too. Some unflattering colors to be aware of are browns, blacks, silvers, grays, some blues and other cooler colors.

 Online Shopping

Online shopping offers a variety of options at a range of prices. Keep in mind where you are buying from, or you may never get your dress. You could end up with a cheap fabric randomly stitched together or no dress at all. So when you see that $45 dress online that is typically $300 in stores, be aware. That being said, you can find used prom dresses online that people are trying to sell for significantly less than retail price.

I highly recommend promgirl.com. I have been using the site for the past three years. They provide clear pictures with the option to zoom in and see detail. You can add dresses that you like to a “Wishlist” without having to create an account. They offer tons of categories that can help you narrow your searches and adjust your price range. The site offers everything from casual sundresses to ballgowns, and most dresses are available in several colors. You can check out the reviews of previous customers about the fit and if the picture stays true to the color of the dress they purchased. Additionally, it’s a Google Trusted Store, which means that Google will protect your purchases up to $1,000.

However, by buying in-store you have the benefit of actually trying on the dress before your purchase. Most specialty dress stores also give you the option to register your dress, making it less likely that someone will show up in the same dress as you.

Keep in mind that you are the best person to know what looks good on your body, what you are most comfortable in and what makes you feel beautiful. Take what you need from this article and mesh that in with your expectations for prom night. Do whatever makes you feel beautifully and uniquely you.

By: Rachel Raasch

 Men’s Prom style guide

Prom. The time when about 250 guys wear something ugly and rented, and a select few keep it classy.

It is important to nail the details, gents. You want to look back at pictures 20 years later and say, “Darn, I looked suave,”

Here are the top details that you should look for in your prom attire:

Fit

Above all else your tuxedo needs to fit well. It shouldn’t blouse all over your chest like an NFL jersey. Even if you aren’t the most svelte man, try to purchase trim or slim fit clothing. It will fit a little bit better in the chest and the arms.

To make sure of the fit, first check the shoulders. When you put on the jacket, it should hug your shoulders, not slouch off of them.

Next check the length. You should be able to cup your hands under the bottom of the jacket when standing up.

Now make sure it fits well in the chest. You should not be able to fit much more than your hand between your shirt and your jacket. If you can, try a size down. Also make sure your pants fit well. If you can, try and go see a tailor to make sure everything fits perfectly.

Black, White, Blue.

These are the only three colors you need. Always wear a black bow tie, white dress shirt and black oxford shoes.

Skip the ridiculous colored vests and long ties. If your date wants you to match, do it in a creative way. Go for colorful socks or a pocket square. The ugly vests will only make you standout in a bad way.

Buy if you can, if not rent well

Buying a tuxedo may actually be cheaper in the long run. Even if you only use once or twice a year, you are saving the cost of renting time, which is usually at least a hundred dollars. Investing in a inexpensive tuxedo will ensure that you have something to wear for at least a few years to come.

When shopping for a tuxedo, look for something wool with two buttons. I recommend the navy shawl collar tuxedo from Combatant Gentleman or the black peak lapel Tommy Hilfiger tuxedo at Macy’s. Both are inexpensive ($200 and $250ish respectively), are made from high quality wool and will look elegant for years to come.

If you can’t afford to buy, try renting online from The Black Tux. Their prices start at just $95, and they ship a high quality, custom tailored tuxedo to you a week before your event. I recommend their Black ($110) and Midnight Blue  ($120) peak lapel tuxedos.

Avoid chain stores as they often sell overpriced, ill-fitting and unstylish tuxedos to unknowing men. Also be sure to check ebay and your local thrift and consignment stores. You can often find formal wear at a fraction of the price of normal retailers.

Lapels

The lapel is the folded part on the front of the jacket that wraps around the neck. There are three types of lapels: notch lapels which have an angle sewn into them called a fishmouth, peak lapels in which the lower part of the lapel peaks up over the upper part and shawl lapels which have no break and roll all the way around the collar.

Contrary to popular belief, only peak and shawl lapels are acceptable in tuxedos. Many people make the mistake of wearing notch lapels on a formal occasion. I recommend peak lapels because they accentuate the broadness of your shoulders and show off the muscles of your chest.

Shawl collars are for smoking jackets and notch collars are for suits. Wearing peak lapels also shows everyone that you respect tradition and want to look your best.

Accessories: Ties, watches, studs, cufflinks, pocket squares, corsages and socks

Make sure to nail the finer points of the outfit. For the tie go with a bow tie that you tie yourself. It shows individualism while still maintaining class and sophistication. You can find inexpensive bow ties at The Tie Bar. The Tie Bar is also a good place to shop for other accessories like socks and pocket squares.

Either use the socks and pocket square to match your date or go traditional with black socks and a white silk or linen pocket square.

If your tuxedo shirt accommodates it, also look into wearing cufflinks and/or studs. Studs are small stones that replace the buttons on your shirt by going through a slit in the front and back of the placket. Traditionally, they are black or mother of pearl. A good set of studs can be found for about $50. Cufflinks are similar, but they go through a slit in the cuff of the shirt instead of the placket.

Fun cufflinks are another good way to show individualism, as long as they stay within the basic silver or black color scheme.

The most important piece of jewelry a man can wear is a watch. Try to find something with a black leather band and a white face. This can be anything from a $17 Casio to a $130 Orient Bambino. Also ask your father or grandfather if he has a nice watch or other pieces of jewelry you can borrow. There could be a hidden gem sitting in an old jewelry box. Also be sure to check ebay or consignment shops.

One of the sweetest things you can do for your date is buy a flower corsage. Ask her what kind of flowers she likes or chose some in her favorite color. These can found for as little as $17 at your local florist. I recommend Etowah Florist based on the work they have done in the past.

In Conclusion

Prom is a memorable night for everyone involved, so it’s important that you dress well.  This not only conveys class and sophistication it also conveys respect for yourself, your date and your peers. Classic colors on a well fitting tuxedo will always be better than bright colors and crazy accessories.

By Ari Sen

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