May 10, 2013
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Finding the perfect prom dress

The best fit

Community Newspaper Group
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Imagine if your school created a PowerPoint presentation that told you how to dress for prom. Chances are there would be pictures of nothing but bathrobes, muumuus, and burlap sacks. They would probably even claim that this year’s hottest accessory is a belt made out of a rope.

Then suppose if Snookie from “Jersey Shore” made a similar presentation. It would be endless slides of skin-tight, mini-dresses, sloppy cleavage-bearing tops, tacky beehives, and her favorite accessory? Probably a pickle. Or a duck phone. Yuck.

There has to be a happy medium. And if there is, how do you find it? You’re having a hard enough time just trying to find a date! Chill out and stop worrying. Just like Snookie should do 99 percent of the time — we’ve got you covered.

The “jump test”

The easiest way to determine whether or not a dress is right for you is with the jump test — basically, if you can’t jump in it, don’t wear it. This seamless test — that applies to dresses with or without straps — will determine whether or not your gown will be prom perfect for a fun-filled night of dancing. Keep in mind that you want to feel comfortable all night, from slow dancing to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” to doing the “Cupid Shuffle.” You never want to worry that something is going to slip out.

Remember, this is a formal affair and may be the very first time in your adult life that you have the opportunity to dress up. You don’t want to look like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, or Lindsay Lohan jumping out of a limo. Embarrassing!

“If you can’t bend down without someone seeing your goodies, it’s not right for prom,” says stylist Shaunya Hartley who has worked with the likes of Usher and Lauryn Hill.

Be yourself!

You are extraordinary, even if you have an ordinary name. Let your individuality glow in a gown that is 100 percent Y-O-U by creating your own style, not imitating a celebrity’s persona. Over-the-top celebs on the red carpet, like Rihanna or Nikki Minaj, are great for inspiration, but superstars like these are cultivating an image and contributing to fleeting, cultural trends, which may not be as cool in the future. “Those costumes you see on your favorite artists are just that, costumes,” says Hartley. “Your prom is a reflection of what you’ve accomplish­ed.” Keep your prom style classic. “You want to look back years from now and not be embarrassed about your fashion choices.”

Tailor and tweak

The best dress for you is one that flatters your body type.

“You know why celebs always look so great in their clothes? They fit and tailor,” says Hartley. Don’t be afraid to get your dress hemmed or taken in at the seams, it makes a big difference. “Formal clothes are supposed to flatter you. That means the bust shouldn’t be droopy. If you’re petite, you shouldn’t be tripping over the hem. And if you’re statuesque, your floor-length gown shouldn’t hit you at the ankles,” says Hartley. “If your gown shop has a seamstress, speak with her. If not, ask your store to recommend someone. Off the rack is okay for a T-shirt but a seamstress can do a nip and tuck that will truly flatter a figure.”

Prom signals the end of an important era in “your” life, so don’t strive to look like anyone other than yourself. Variety is the spice of life —if we all looked like Beyonce and Katy Perry, how exciting would the world really be? Think about all the shoes you own, wouldn’t it be boring if all you had was one pair of black ballet flats?

So dazzle on your big night with a dress that shows off “you.” And if it happens to have a little sparkle even better — it will help you shine!

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