Prom season is in full swing, and this year the dresses are in neon colors and are full of bling, according to experts at area dress shops.
Bright, bold colors are the most popular this year, said Debbie Manderino, owner of Debbie’s in Whiting.
“The colors are all over the place,” Manderino said. “Neon orange, bright pinks and greens. There are also chalky pastels, blushes and very pale colors.”
Linda Ramage, the mother of the two women who own Pink Boutique in Hobart, agreed that neon was the hot color of the season.
“Bright orange, neon lime and bright pink are all very popular,” Ramage said.
Also popular this year is dresses with a lot of “bling” and sparkle, said Janice Strickling, sales manager for Elegance Wedding and Evening Wear in Highland.
“There are a lot of crystals and rhinestones,” she said. “We’re also seeing a lot of ruffles and a lot of fabric manipulations.”
All those extra embellishments come at a cost. The average prom dress costs between $400 and $600, with some dresses topping out at $700 or more.
“If they want a lot of beads or embellishments, that is very expensive,” Strickling said. “They’re usually hand-sewn on the gown. The better quality the dress, the more expensive it is.”
While some girls have been coming in since January to put down money to pay for their dress, some parents have been struck with sticker-shock at the prices, Manderino said.
“Sometimes we get a Dad in the store and he’ll freak out,” she said. “And we have Moms who say they didn’t even pay that much for their wedding dress.”
While the traditional ball gown never goes out of style, this year many dresses feature the mermaid silhouette or the trendy “high-low” cut, Manderino said.
“It’s short in front, and long in back,” she said. “I think it’s popular because it’s easy for girls do dance in, easy to move. Girls who want to be real trend-setters are going short. Short dresses are still a small percentage, but it’s more than ever before.”
This year, many teens are being influenced by Hollywood trends and by red carpet looks.
Top prom designers include Sherri Hill, Jovani, and LaFemme, Manderino said.
“Girls see something at the Academy Awards, or the Grammys, and they want to look like that,” Manderino said. “A lot of the looks are more red carpet than typical prom.”
“They do research online, and they know what they want before they come into the store,” she said.
Prom for the boys isn’t nearly as trendy as it is for the girls, said Sheila Zack, assistant manager at the Dunhill Tuxedo in St. John.
“They don’t change much. They want a classic, old school look,” she said.
This year, the biggest change is many boys are ordering tuxes in a light heather gray or a darker steel gray.
“Gray has replaced white as the number one color this year. It’s really hot this prom season,” she said. “Bow ties are back in style, this year, too.”
Although sometimes the boys are influenced by a new movie or star, ultimate it is their date who determines the prom look, Zack said.
“For many of them, they wind up wearing what the girl asks them to wear,” she said.