As with bridal gowns the trends in Prom styles move more slowly than high street fashions and are a slow evolution rather than a complete turnaround each season. 2014 has been an interesting year as it has been fascinating to see if the increasing tendency towards extravagance would continue and if the importance of the school prom would rise further. Watching the girls choose their outfits in my shop this year has certainly been enlightening and change has indeed been in the air.
Year on year the proms have become a more and more significant event in the UK with more time and attention being lavished on the occasions and families splashing out ever increasing amounts on the outfits and accessories for the big night. Some budgets now rival those for brides when it comes to the dresses and extras and that trend has continued in 2014.
There has been a noticeable change in the dress styles chosen this season. In previous years the choices have been dominated by taffeta gowns with fewer girls opting for chiffon floaty dresses and the big tulle princess dresses. Even fewer prom girls wanted short dresses. This year, however, taffeta has taken a back seat and it has been all about the two extremes of straight chiffon and full tulle skirts. The level of detail chosen has also been split down the middle with roughly half of the girls preferring plain dresses and the rest liking beaded designs.
The choices of colours have been really fascinating. One or two colours always dominate but there is usually a broad shades chosen. This year, however, it has been all about blue with the darker hues being the clear favourites. I fear that anyone wearing a dark blue chiffon gown is likely to arrive at their prom to find many girls in similar outfits. Red seems to be making a bit of a comeback and pale pinks were also reasonably popular. Aqua, purple and green which were all top picks last year have been left sitting on the rails.
Attention to Detail
Girls are clearly paying more attention to all aspects of their finished look with more and more opting for headpieces, fancy handbags, exotic footwear and even a new set of quality lingerie for the big night. Mindful of the growing expense many girls are now sensible enough to choose pieces which they know they can use again in the future for parties and formal events and use this argument to justify their wish list to their parents!
In a few short years the school prom in the UK has been transformed from a minor event on the calendar into the highlight of the year with more and more money being spent on the occasion. It is not uncommon for parents to splash out in excess of £500 for the dress, accessories and transport with many probably hoping it will be some years before that have to face the expense of a wedding!
Sally Stacey is a keen writer who worked in the bridal and prom industry for over nine years