My 18 year old daughter has a strong sense of style, but avidly hates any type of conventional, commercial and glitzy fashion, and needs a ball gown. She thinks it should be ankle length and not too clingy. She usually buys her clothes in thrift stores or on the street. Used clothes from my own closet, some of which date back to my own mother, were discarded as not correct. Where to start? —Susan, New York, NY
Not with “Euphoria”. This award-winning, high-profile teen streaming drama has spawned an entire fashion subset on TikTok, largely featuring what appear to be efforts to wear the smallest, most conscious amount of clothing in the world. possible body. Not so with “The Breakfast Club,” the 1985 John Hughes film in which Molly Ringwald canonized the prom queen stereotype.
There’s a reason the prom scene in “Carrie,” with its image of the titular character in her evening dress and blood-soaked crown, has entered the pantheon of pop culture. Prom is one of those social events that somehow manages to be very busy, regardless of generation or background. The Met Gala, after all, is effectively fashion/Hollywood/society’s prom, and think of all the effort and angst that entails! And these guests have stylists to help them.
The question is how to stay true to yourself while showing another side. Dressing up is an opportunity to push the boundaries of identity, especially late in high school, but also a risk in an arena where judgments and cliques abound – a strange bridge between past and future.
In this context, I can understand why your daughter prefers not to shop in your wardrobe: prom is, after all, about her.
Plus, of course, she also needs to be comfortable enough to move around and dance without worrying about a body part being inadvertently revealed. Not to mention eating and drinking without getting a stomach ache from corsetry or some other type of punitive clothing construction.
It may seem impossible. Still, there are actually plenty of alternatives to the generic spaghetti strap, deep V-neck, skin-tight, side-slit dress that seems to be the current prom cliché.
If your prom-goer is interested in the resale economy, she might check out Poshmark, which has an entire section devoted to prom dresses, and might offer more variety than vintage brick-and-mortar stores. But maybe it’s easier to think about finding a great long dress or even a jumpsuit.
(Note: there is often a small price increase associated with the “prom dress” or even the “evening dress”, as opposed to, say, the “long dress”, as is the case with “white wedding shoes”, so be careful with search terms.)
This one-shoulder kaftan dress from Anthropologie, for example, in bright blue is both breezy and funky, thanks to the fact that the shoulder strap is actually… a belt. Or take a look at this star-shaped sequin look from Free People and draped silk, which evokes the 1930s starlet – that’s also why I love this satin cowl neck jumpsuit from Lulus.
And it’s also possible that the simplest option, as suggested by my colleague Jess Testa, is a very simple dress and great accessories: high impact, low commitment, still very personal and as unconventional as one could get. wish it.
Answers to your style questions
Every week on Open Thread, Vanessa will answer a reader’s fashion question, which you can send her anytime via E-mail or Twitter. Questions are edited and condensed.