Questionable Prom Trends
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Night to Remember1 of 12
By Samantha Dunn
’Tis the season once again of prom, that traditional collision of hormones, heels and high hopes for teenagers everywhere. But technology and changing social mores are making the event something shockingly different from what parents grew up expecting. Here’s the 411 from fashionistas, parents, teachers and teens around the country.
4G Romance2 of 12
Why bother with the boy-awkwardly-approaches-girl-at-her-locker to ask, “Hey, you want to go to prom?” Because it saves time and potential embarrassment, the text message proposal is now common, says teen blogger Yvonne Hostler in Lancaster, PA.
BING VIDEO: How to Pick a Prom Dress
Over the Top3 of 12
Some students, however, take the art of the prom proposal to the level of extreme sport. Sally Camp, mother and volunteer at Monte Vista High in California's tony East Bay area, says, "A boy can't just ask a girl; it has to be over-the-top. A popup screen on a computer at school or a dessert ordered in a restaurant that comes with a chocolate sauce message, for example. Think of a typical marriage proposal, and that's what it's like."
Color Me Fabulous4 of 12
Gone is the ball gown look. Four words are in, says Hostler: Short. Tight. Satin. Bright. We’re talking skirts in bright purple with bikini-style tops. Screaming cyan, electric aqua. “The money clothes are loud,” agrees Gallay. “Not subtle creams and sages; these are not Donna Karan girls yet.”
The Big Reveal5 of 12
Not only are prom dresses tight and bright, they show far more skin than ever. Think bikini-style tops paired with skirts, backless dresses, low-cut necklines and cutouts.
Spare No Expense6 of 12
Hostler says $300 to $600 is the common range for a prom dress, preferably bought at a boutique to ensure a one-of-a-kind. (Showing up in the same dress as somebody else is the deadliest of fashion faux pas.) The $14,000, diamond-beaded prom dress sold by Philadelphia boutique DressGoddess must be the next logical extreme when a break-the-bank gown is already considered de rigueur.
What a Heel7 of 12
While boutique labels might be the “it” trend for prom dresses, Gallay says, shoes and bags should have a designer labels everyone recognizes. At her son's prom, she notes, "The cool girls had fashion shoes that took over their outfits as only $1,100 shoes can do—embellished, strapped, and teeter-totter high."
The Bachelor8 of 12
The $200 rented tux is still considered the standard for boys, but Gallay notes that she's seeing a flood of bright colors even for boys. She also says that cool, artsy boys might have done a vintage jacket or mix in a tuxedo shirt too.
Light Show9 of 12
But what about the actual prom event itself? Gone is the disco ball, says junior class adviser Fred Beverage, who has sponsored numerous proms in his New Mexico school district. In are light shows, fog machines — anything you'd see in a dance club. Beverage says proms cost schools an average of $4,000 but can go up to tens of thousands in some areas. And tickets to get in can be $100, like they are at Danville, CA's Monte Vista High.
Grind House10 of 12
Remember when slow dancing was the big thrill and Dirty Dancing was a movie with Patrick Swayze? Forget that. Hostler says doing the grind is still the rule, not the exception. Think of it as a lateral expression of a horizontal act involving the pelvis of one and the backside of another …
Get a Room11 of 12
Beverage says it's common now for parents to buy hotel rooms for their kids' "after-prom party." The idea is if the parents buy the room, then they’ll know where the kids are and minimize drunk driving. This trend has even spread to other countries: Instructor Garth Greenwell reports that in Sofia, Bulgaria, rich kids fly to Milan or Paris to buy clothes, and after-parties include screaming drum circles in front of hotels.
Performance Anxiety12 of 12
A 2011 study reports that the number of teens abstaining from sex is rising. According to USA Today, 29 percent of young women and 27 percent of young men between the ages of 15 and 24 say they have never had sexual contact. However, given that prom night remains a popular occasion for losing one's virginity, you may want to have a follow-up to that birds-and-the-bees talk with your teen.