Prom that we see today has evolved with time, as did the prom dress. This range of dresses has been modified across the centuries starting from long sleeved gowns to midi length dresses never completing the full circle.
Interestingly proms are a very common event that is held across the world. But ofcourse the event is never so grand and exciting as it is in the United States. Prom that we know today started as promenade dance in its initial days. Basically the event revolves around a gathering of high school students. It is a semi-formal, black tie event.
Almost around the same time of the year young people get together for an evening of dance and celebration, which is sanctioned by local elders. This gathering symbolizes the transition of youngsters from childhood to early adulthood. Obviously young people attend the event in fancy costumes. Their dresses range from traditional gender tropes, stereotype concepts of sexuality to anything that is innovatively designed, tasteful and glamorous. And Americans call this grand event prom.
But the special event is also much more that what is discussed above. In the present times the event also stands for a rite of passage in social life of American kids. The convention that has set itself across the decades says prom is the space where American teens navigate – and also push back against – the social dogmas on gender, sexuality, values and tradition.
Dresses for prom parties
Prom is held at the end of a school year. Usually preparations of choosing the right dress and shoes start from April. Back in the bygone eras the event was not such a big deal for those teenagers as it is today. Back then ‘promenade’ basically revolved around presentation and display of guests at the starting of any formal event.
Until the 1930s, proms are found unmentioned in school yearbooks. This continued till the 1940 although the event was highly in practice as far back as the late 1800s when universities in America organized co-ed banquets for their graduating students.
Interestingly Hollywood has a lot of contributions in popularizing this event, points out designers of exclusive Prom dress gowns. The unbelievable craze over the event that is witnessed today results the countless number of teen movies that have been made over this timeline. Gradually since the late 1800s the event took its roots deeper in American culture. Other countries including many across the other shore of the Atlantic just adopted the event to set the trend rolling.
These days Proms are more about individuals unlike the bygone times. It is certainly much more than wearing a typical dress. Girls in particular choose every variety of style, length and color to attend the event. On an average an American family never stops short of spending thousands of dollars on dress, shoes and other accessories for a kid to attend a prom in style.
Changing styles of dresses for prom over timeline
1.) The 1930s – Prom, as a social event, started becoming popular with the American middleclass around this time. Girls chose floor-length, modest dresses for the event.
2.) The 1940s – Satin suddenly captured the centre stage in prom dress designing. Sleeves used to be puffy with covered shoulders and no cleavage revealing.
3.) The 1950s – With the ever-changing times full skirts – precisely tulle skirts – became very popular around this time. Skirts used to have ruffles, dresses varied between tea-length and floor length, shoulders went bare while the bodice started becoming more curve-hugging.
4.) The 1960s – The dresses started becoming bolder in colors as well as styles, reflected more attitude as skirts started becoming slimmer.
5.) The 1970s – This was the time when disco culture became the cult. Prom dresses too became longer and flowing gowns with longer sleeves made of sheer material.
6.) The 1980s – Poofy sleeves and skirts were introduced in this era as ruffles made a surprising comeback. The color code for the dresses turned metallic.
7.) The 1990s – Shorter and more stylish dresses were introduced with spaghetti straps.
8.) The 2000s – Thanks to a bevy of fresh Hollywood movies the dresses showed beaded, halter topped and with higher neckline.
9.) The 2010s – Elegantly designed prom dresses that range from backless to midi length and lacy ruled this era.
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