Prom Fashion by the Decade

In the constantly changing world of fashion, the styles worn by boys and girls to prom dances has been no exception. Here’s a look into the evolution of prom fashion over the decades, examining the trends that have led to the styles of today.


 At the start of  World War II, fashion took on a new role. When it came to prom fashion, elegance was key. A popular style included long gowns with full sleeves. Covered shoulders represented a girl’s modesty, and ladies wore their hair in a variety of different styles during this time, the most iconic being soft curls that framed the neck


Hipsters among the youth became more popular, and tea-length dresses were all the rage. These dresses ended mid-calf, included ruffles on the skirt and had a classic sweetheart neckline plus a slightly cinched waist. They gave the illusion of a curvy figure which many girls wanted. 


As television grew in influence, the styles that characters wore on small screen was what everyone wanted to dress like. Showing bare shoulders became more popular, and many girls wore gloves. But the biggest fashion trend change during this period could be seen in the men’s outfits. Suits and tuxedos strayed away from the traditional black-and-white color scheme in favor of pastel colors.


 In the disco era, long flowy gowns with sleeves resembling a prairie style dress (which were flowy with long sleeves and also had many patterns) became the desired look by many girls while boys continued the popular fashion trend of colored suits. Instead of pastels, burgundy suits with ruffled shirts became the most popular men’s style.


 This decade can be defined in two words: big and bold. This time period had one of the most outlandish prom trends: metallic and shiny dresses. Satin Mini Mouse pumps which were low heels became the new trendy shoes. Girls also continued to wear strapless and low-sleeve dresses. 


The flamboyant trends of the 80s continued into 90s, but one thing that changed was the rise in popularity of tighter dresses, which showed off a thin, boyish figure. Off-the-shoulder dresses became increasingly popular, thanks to actress Brenda Walsh. A deep side part with crimped or permed hair completed the fashionable look.


The subtle minimalist style became the new fashion. Girls often wore plain spaghetti strap dresses paired with shawls. Boys also began adopting a more simplistic look by bringing back the classic monochrome tuxedos. By the end of that decade, girls were covered in bling. Bedazzled dresses with rhinestones are very common, and corsets helped girls flaunt a curvy figure. The color range of dresses increased greatly with brighter colors rather than soft pastels became more common.


Though the commonality of high slitted dresses and guys pairing their outfits with brand name belts such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton has grown, something our generation has been owning is individuality. When comes to prom looks, gender roles have been switched and its common to see girls wearing tuxedos or guys getting glammed.