Thursday, April 18, 2013

Prom: Then & Now - Along w/ Saks

As the school year is about to finish, the word “prom” is thrust upon high school students.

But, what exactly is prom and how did it get its start?

Well, first off, it’s an abbreviated form of the French word “promenade,” which is a walking review of the guests at the beginning of a formal dance or ball (according to Prom Works).

The first proms took place in the late 1800s in Ivy League colleges and universities in the northeastern United States. Initially the goal of such an event was to develop social skills and etiquette in students. But, usually the attire was quite simple – students would wear their church clothes, where boys sported jackets and ties while girls wore their Sunday dress. At the time, very few (if any) would purchase special attire specifically for prom.

After The Great Depression, once the U.S. economy began to improve, proms in the early 1920s offered social tea, and by the 1930s, prom was far more common across the country. As the 1950s came to a close, prom venues started to shift from the chaperoned school gymnasiums to more sophisticated locations, such as hotel ballrooms, country clubs, banquet halls, etc. It wasn’t until after the 1980s that high-school prom took a shift to an almost iconic rite of passage. By the 1990s, “alternative proms” for same-sex couples as well as “couple-free” proms were organized.

Since then, we’ve come a long way; proms have evolved into a far more ostentatious, time-consuming, and expensive occasion. In fact, according to USA Today, the average prom in 2012 cost between $1,000 and $2,000.

Of course, proms are much more individualistic now – one can choose how much to spend, casual versus formal, friends versus date, dinner and dance versus hotel-room or house party, and best of all, one has the freedom to choose whether they want to go or not. There are so many more decisions and choices now than ever before. Wouldn’t you agree?

What’s your prom story?

Personally, I didn’t go to my high-school prom and I don’t regret it! I’m not really one for “formal dances.” But, one thing I am for is prom fashion… Though it may seem superficial to the eye, the essence of fashion is really about making individuals confident and jubilant, so why not look fabulous for prom (regardless of how much that dress/tux or accessories may have cost you)!

1. (left to right) Feyi Omodele and Chelsea Coffey | 2. Spanx | 3. (left to right) Rebecca Briscoe and DJ Fanci | 4. Taylor Brionne | 5. Smile Photo Booth | 6. (left to right) Lauren Farina and Elvia Francis | 7. (left to right) Yesenia Flores and Elvia Francis | 8. (left to right) Elvia Francis, Imani Talib, Yesenia Flores, Rachel White, Taylor Brionne, and Marcella Sky

As you may know, I was part of the Saks Blogger Prom Fashion Presentation earlier this month, which showcased some amazing trends for the upcoming prom season. Among the event attendees included Ruchi Mukherjee of Lights Camera Action, Chelsea Coffey of Mia’s Closet and fashion editor of Houston Style Magazine, entertainment reporter Rebecca Briscoe, DJ Fanci of Houston’s hip-hop radio station 97.9FM “The Box,” and fashion/wardrobe stylist Feyi Omodele.

Bloggers (including myself) who were on the panel shared commentary on the prom-fashion trends worn by Neal Hamil Agency models, Kristin Qualia and Caroline Mathis, while a Spanx representative spoke about what under garments would be ideal for each dress/gown.  

Trends featured at the Saks Blogger Prom Fashion Presentation included:
Sequins – in metallic hues and mostly featured on the bodices, if not all over the garment; “The Great Gatsby” inspired
Gold Metallic – balanced with black/neutral accents; “The Great Gatsby” inspired
High-low – where the hem is shorter/higher in front and longer/lower in the back of the dress; this trend traces back to Victorian Era dresses and formal gowns when the hem style was known as the “fishtail”
Ombré – French for “to shade,” the trend consists of a graduation of color from light to dark; Katie Findlay sported the ombré trend as her TV character Maggie Landers on CW’s “The Carrie Diaries”
All-Over Print – bold patterns; spring trend alert, as reported by Houston Chronicle fashion editor Joy Sewing
Bright Colors – jewel tones such as sapphire, emerald, ruby, and topaz
Sheer Surprises – make sure you have a Spanx bodysuit underneath for really revealing ensembles
Red + Long Slits – mid-thigh slits keep floor-length rouge gowns elegant, while offering an alluring yet tasteful slip of skin
Sweetheart Necklines – classic, romantic, and über feminine; flattering for almost any figure

Gold and silver metallic footwear were also trending, in regards to prom-fashion accessories.

The models donned Old Hollywood, Veronica Lake-inspired waves, which is one of my favorite 2013 prom beauty trends!

See more images from the event (via Twitter and Instagram) with the hashtag #SaksPromHouston.


Special thanks to the Saks Fifth Avenue – Houston Galleria PR team: Chad Carpenter and Tijuana Harvey, along with eveningwear dept. manager, Lauren Farina, and the Houston Fashion Bloggers.
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