Ask Alexandra: Knee Length Prom Dresses

dresses, prom, evening wear, choosing a prom dress, designer prom dresses

What not to wear to prom. Actually, what not to wear, ever.

I’m suffering from some sort of fashion month denial as I have hardly looked at any catwalk shows. Last week I was in London and quite busy (ironically, it was fashion week, but I only went to one show) and I haven’t had the time to trawl through the hundreds of images. It feels like a chore this time and I think I need a break. Plus I also skipped my Oscars coverage – I was away and by the time I could review the red carpet, it was too late to post something. That said, I will certainly do some sort of round up on the shows, after Paris. Because I am sure there will be a lot to love and loathe…

Anyway, here’s a blog post on something totally unrelated to fashion week: prom dresses! Ask Alexandra is my advice column. Have a question you want to ask me? Fill out the form here.

Dear Alexandra,

Is it acceptable/normal to wear a knee length dress to senior prom?

Anna

prom dresses, prom, evening wear, choosing a prom dress, designer prom dresses

Left, a Monique Lhuillier layered hem dress, and right, my top pick for prom, a fringed Tamara Mellon dress.

Dear Anna,

YES. Why do people think they need to wear puffy or frilly full length ballgowns and look like a fourty year old at prom? It seems like prom fashion ignores trends and fashion, and continues to promote hideous dresses that no one looks good in. I wore a full length dress to prom, it was custom made, didn’t fit properly (seamstress FAIL) and I wore an updo and looked really silly. Thankfully there are hardly any good photos of it.

dresses, prom, evening wear, choosing a prom dress, designer prom dresses

Left, an alice + olivia embroidered tulle dress, and right, a Loyd/Ford lace dress.

The first thing to consider when shopping for prom dresses is “what do I look good in?” Note this does not mean “what prom dress will I look good in?” All those preferences you have with clothing silhouettes (strapless/never strapless, show legs/never show legs, royal blue/never royal blue) should be the primary conditions when shopping for a dress. You should also consider trends, and maybe even try and find something you might want to wear again (there is no shame in that.) Lastly, don’t feel like you need to buy some sort of full length, meringue style prom dress in a bridesmaid colour just because everyone else is. Nothing wrong with standing out because you are better dressed than the rest.

dresses, prom, evening wear, choosing a prom dress, designer prom dresses

Left, Giambattista Valli macrame dress (I know, I know, this is way too expensive for prom) and right, Black Halo dress.

And if you feel comfortable and look good in a short dress, GO FOR IT. I always thought the girls who wore short dresses looked way more effortless and cool than everyone else, and that’s kind of the best way to look at a traditional event you will surely have regrets about in less than a year.

Here are some picks from Shopbop, who just happen to be having a sale this week (coupon code here). And if these prices don’t fit your budget, I am sure you can find some similar dresses in a store near you.

dresses, prom, evening wear, choosing a prom dress, designer prom dresses

Left, Donna Karan flutter front dress, and right, Monique Lhuillier party dress.

When it comes to shoes, don’t feel like you need to wear towering high heels, either. You’ll have a lot more fun wearing a gorgeous pair of gladiator sandals that slink up your leg and are comfortable enough to dance in. And lastly – you may have noticed that I’ve included quite a few strapless dresses in my picks. I’m not normally a fan of strapless dresses however I do think that young women are more likely to look good in them than us over 25s. However, don’t wear strapless just because you feel like you should, here is my handy guide on wearing strapless dresses.