I just saw over at the Loehmann’s blog that “Prom Dress Season” is here again.
I remember being a young girl and dreaming about the prom and beautiful prom dresses. It was always portrayed in the movies as the most magical of nights when every ugly duckling or even just awkward uncomfortable teen would be transformed in to the beautiful knockout swan with the addition of her secret crush on her arm and the most perfect prom dress.
I knew even then that prom was all about the dress.
Prom Dresses in the 80’s
Unfortunately, the 80’s were a really bad time frame in the history of the prom dress. Shoulder pads, already out of control on even a business suit, reached new heights when bestowed by ruffles and bows. The preferred and often only resource for prom dress shopping was the local bridal store where you could expect to shell out over a hundred dollars and certain things, such as lycra stretch lace, were only seen on MTV stars like Madonna. The typical prom dress in the 80’s resembled huge brightly colored human satin ruffles, milling about, and dancing to synthetic drums and synthesizers.
My Vintage Prom Dress
Thankfully, I only had to bring myself to wear a bridesmaid dress as my prom dress once: a dusky purple creation that I can’t recall what rock it grew under. For my own junior prom, the lure of the prom dress shops were vetoed and instead I battled man critics for going full on vintage way before it was vogue. A vintage prom dress wasn’t unique or one of a kind back then, it was just gross to wear someone else’s old clothes. Still, that’s what my best friend, Lauralei (in white) and I did. I still have the classic 1950’s rhinestone and tulle getup hanging in my attic.
Remember, it was the 80’s, so it was all about consumerism. We didn’t have to worry about being green or recycling then. Waste was cool and the more expensive a prom dress, the better it was.
Black Prom Dress?
My senior prom again provided a prom dress challenge as by that time I had begun my lifelong obsession of really only wearing, at least always wearing, something in black. And no one was making a black prom dress in those times. You still only wore black to funerals, never to weddings, and never for young girls at proms. The dancing seniors were still expected to resemble multihued flowers of beauty and grace. We weren’t supposed to look like Hollywood on Oscar night. We didn’t have Paris or Lindsey or Brit showing us how to look fab and hot.
The Perfect Ghetto Prom Dress
For my prom dress, I found some deep plum and black taffeta creation that I attacked with my seam ripper and completely reconstructed to the horror of my mother who was convinced that I had just destroyed “that ugly overpriced prom dress.” It ended up looking like something Morticia Adams would have been proud to wear and I was thrilled. I think my mother would have preferred me in dusky rose even if I saved her money by tailoring my prom dress to my own needs. By today’s standards it could be said that I had created the perfect Ghetto prom dress though my “Ghetto” was the South Shore of Long Island. Still, my prom dress fit my needs even if it was much harder to find, impossible even without the assistance of my sewing machine.
If I was only sixteen again!
So now, I am jealous. My prom days are long gone. Heck, even my eldest child’s prom days are gone ... luckily, I still have three more kids to make prom worthy. Yet, I look with envy at the multitudes of prom dress selections in store windows where prom worthy dresses are available all year long.
The prom dress choices:
• the racks of black
• the lack of nasty winged shoulder pads
• the rhinestones
• and glitter
The dreamy girl in me still desires to don the perfect prom dress and become that princess. And while the prom dress selections have gone up, the prices have gone down.
If only I was sixteen again and could get over to Loehmann’s for the spring 2008 Prom Dress selections. To spend a Saturday with girlfriends, loud and squeaky as only teen girls in masses can be, giggling and trying on multitudes of strapless creations, waiting for the “one” to turn you into a true princess.
With those prom dress selections, and the Loehmann’s discount prices, my time traveling self could hit a prom every weekend for the entire spring season and just dance the nights away.
To be able to find a name brand designer prom dress at huge discount prices… well that’s almost as good as walking in to the prom and having your ex boyfriend’s jaw visibly drop to the floor in response to the incredible vision of beauty one creates as you make your grand entrance in your perfect prom dress.
Ok, so that never really happened. I can still dream. And, I have a daughter. In ten more years, I can be the champion momma welding the credit card at Loehmann’s and making all her prom dress fantasies come true. A day trip to New York City for discount clothing purchases would be good times all around and at least I won’t have to get out my sewing machine!