Prom. It’s the penultimate high school celebration; the party that results in the culmination of four long years of studying, stressing, jubilation, tears, joy and friendship. Many a teen dramady (dramatic comedy) have focused around the topic of prom (16 Candles, Mean Girls, and the terrifying Carrie, to name a few), as it’s an experience that resonates deeply with so many of us. The memory of proms past reminds us of our most memorable high school experiences. Meanwhile, current high schoolers looking forward to their prom next year hoping that it will be an unforgettable night that they look back on fondly for decades to come.
When we hear from what most girls worry about for prom, the topic of pulling together a cohesive & stunning prom look is a universal one. As if it’s not hard enough to find the perfect dress, then you have to match all of your accessories. And once your accessories have been purchased, you further have to worry about hair and makeup styles matching your overall look.
Luckily for our high school fans, we have put together a great guide on how to style your 2017 prom look. From earrings and bracelets to ballgowns and bows, we’ve got you covered with our easy-to-follow steps on dressing for the big day. We’ve broken things down for our readers into 5 simple categories: hair, makeup, jewelry, shoes and purses. Pull together the perfect look and be named prom queen for your trendsetting, beautiful style.
How To Choose a Prom Hairstyle
Prom hairstyles should always complement your dress and face shape. When you are trying to figure out which hairstyle to choose for prom, keep in mind the following:
- The neckline of your dress: Necklines that are high, like a bateau, halter or a gown with sleeves look great with an updo. By sweeping the hair up and off your neckline the style and shape of the dress can really shine. Strapless, plunge necklines and sweetheart necklines are low enough that they do not compete with your hairstyle, so a glamorous side part and a little old Hollywood glamour curl may be all you need to finish off your look.
- The shape of your face: Long, oval and rectangular shaped faces look beautiful with upswept hair that has some volume to it. If you have a round or heart-shaped face, consider choosing a prom hairstyle that is half-up or all down with a bit of volume at the roots, plus some wave or curl.
How to Choose Prom Makeup
As with your prom hairstyle, choosing prom makeup depends on a variety of factors. To find the perfect look, we recommend the following:
- Comb through Pinterest or magazines to gather inspirations and ideas of your favorite makeup looks.
- Once you’ve chosen your prom dress, narrow down the inspirations by eliminating the ones that do not complement your dress style and overall look.
- After eliminating the ones that will not work, further narrow down your selection by noticing trends and similarities between your favorite makeup looks and putting the different styles in piles. See if you can pick a makeup look from the pile that has the most inspiration photos, since that is likely the makeup look that resonates most with you.
- Take your favorite inspiration photos to a makeup counter at the mall, and have the salespeople help you pick out the right products to recreate that look. When buying makeup, the salespeople will usually test out the colors on you and can give you tips and tricks if you plan on doing your own makeup for prom night. The best part? If you find someone who creates the look you want, you can always book them for prom day to do the same look.
- If you want a professional hair and makeup artist to do your look, just take your inspiration photos to them – no need to purchase your makeup beforehand. Many times professional makeup artists will give you a small touch-up kit you can take to prom with you. If they don’t offer, ask to have a bit of lipstick and concealer for your purse so you can reapply after dinner and breaking a sweat on the dance floor.
How to Choose Prom Jewelry
Finding the perfect jewelry to coordinate with your prom dress is a fun process. If you aren’t sure what style you want, comb through images of styled prom outfits with dresses that look similar to your own. Just like choosing a hairstyle, choosing your prom jewelry depends a lot on your dress style.
Long sparkly earrings look nice with dresses that have a very clean neckline (bateau, high neck) or a lower neckline (plunge, sweetheart, strapless). If your dress already has a lot of detail in the top, skip the large earrings and choose a smaller, simpler pair instead. Rhinestone studs are always a good choice and go with nearly any style.
Bracelets and bangles should be kept delicate and with a bit of sparkle. Bulky bangles or layering too many can distract from the beauty of your dress.
As with bracelets, keep things simple. Either choose one large statement ring that complements the colors and style of your prom dress, or go for a few delicate stackable rings.
Necklaces are the trickiest item to pair with a prom dress. Between earrings (which are a must-have) and a dress, there is not too much room for a necklace. There are only a few dress style scenarios where a necklace would add and not detract from the overall look.
The best dress to pair a necklace with is a strapless prom gown, since there is a lot of bare skin on the neck and chest to ‘dress up’ with jewelry. The other kind of prom dress that can benefit from a necklace is a bateau neckline with simple fabric and little embellishments. For many style of prom dress, however, less is more and you should steer clear of necklaces.
How to Choose Prom Shoes
One of the most fun items to style with your prom look are shoes. The best thing about your prom shoes is that you will have many chances to wear them again – so choose a pair that you absolutely adore. When hunting down the perfect prom shoes, make sure they complement and don’t distract from your dress.
Strappy heels and stilettos are great because of their delicate look. Many prom dress styles have a high slit, so your shoes will peek out and play a major role in your overall prom look. For dresses made of silk, tulle and other ethereal, lightweight fabrics, a strappy shoe is definitely best.
If strappy prom shoes sound too uncomfortable, consider a peep toe pump to go under your gown. High school gym floors are not the most comfortable for dancing on top of all night long, and pumps can provide more support and comfort than strappy stilettos.
Our final recommendation on the topic of prom shoes is to bring a comfy change of flats that also matches your dress. Prom is about dancing the night away and having fun – and you need to be comfortable to dance and enjoy yourself. Packing a pair of lightweight, comfy prom shoe flats in your purse is a great way to ensure you have the best time all night long.
How to Choose Prom Purses
Once you have your dress and your shoes chosen, it’s time to find a purse or clutch that goes nicely with the rest of your prom look. Though there are many small clutches in fashion right now, we caution against choosing the absolute smallest purse unless you have a larger bag with you that can tote around your necessities. Be sure to check back on our blog for an article with more details about prom purses and what you should carry in them later, but for now be sure to have room for the following:
- Makeup touch-ups
- Small brush and bobby pins
- Cash, credit cards and ID card
- Change of shoes
- Stain removal kit
- Snack bar or a bag of trail mix to keep your energy up
- Bandaids or blister sticks in case of blisters from too much dancing
Now that you’ve read all about the elements you need to style the perfect prom look, tell us: What is your prom style inspiration? Hollywood Glamour, Ethereal Fairy, Gilded Beauty or Bohemian Princess? We want to hear how you plan to get your look – tell us all about it in the comments section.