Jo-Ann’s Prom Dress Contest

Jo-Ann’s has announced their Prom Dress Contest, and I got very, very excited until I realized (headsmack) that you had to actually be a student, attending a prom. Hmph. Jo-Ann, what about all those girls who aren’t going? Or, alternatively, girls (uh, young women) who haven’t attended a prom in years, but would love, love, love, to make the perfect dress?

A few things: first, I’m not crazy about the dress they chose for the ad, but maybe they did that on purpose to encourage young women to go out and produce something that actually fits and has a bit of pizazz. It isn’t that the dress is ugly, but that it screams “high school prom!” Ruffles? Check. Ribbon? Check. Awkward bust line? Check. Causes girl to stand as though about to curtsy? Check.

The high school prom dress is that bizarre creature of style that can neither be too immature, nor too old, or too boring. After all, the average prom goer wants to be taken seriously as a young lady, to feel beautiful in her dress (whatever it looks like), and not to spend the entire evening twitching uncomfortably due to scratchy material, or worrying that the bust line is going to slip right off during the macarena (well, she would worry about it if people still danced the macarena). So how do you get sexy without the see-through strip tease of Renee Russo in The Thomas Crowne Affair?

At any rate, the ad has totally worked. It has utterly convinced me that even despite the fact that I’m completely not eligible for this contest, I could dream up a fantastic dress for the prom. And I think I’d do it based on a very simple concept (as The Thoughtful Dresser put it a few days ago): Fashion is cleavage, style is collarbones.

In my own case, I went to a few proms. The first time I wore a royal blue (not my color, as it turned out) bridesmaid’s dress. The third dress was velvet dark blue (I didn’t learn) and rather shapeless (because I was wearing it, not the fault of the dress). I bought it when my family went to Italy. But it was from Italy! The second dress was far and away the most wonderful dress I’ve ever owned. It was light, pastel green (perfect for my skin tone), empire waist (generally flattering), and a satin halter top (sounds “high schoolish” but it was tastefully done). The best part of the dress, though, wasn’t the color or the cut, but the back–it had a V cut with satin laces that somehow avoided looking like I’d picked the dress up at the Renaissance Festival.

If I were to make this prom dress, I think I’d go for something similar–have fun with the back of the dress! Or make it sparkly without looking like a disco ball! Look adult, but without scaring your date’s parents! And don’t wear bright red nail polish with a pastel green dress (ooops)!


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