It is that time of year - the season Monsoon waits for like elves waiting for Christmas. Hairdressers poise themselves, the blow-dry at the ready, manicurists perfect their brushstrokes and tanning salons get ready to spray. Yes, it is prom time.
I remember my year 11 prom, not for the event itself (cheesy music, a 'buffet' - read crisps and greasy sausage rolls, the whole night over quickly) but for the build up, namely choosing the dress. In the end I'm afraid I was a cop out. My mum chose and bought mine for me, as I was nearly falling to pieces stuggling to find something I liked. ("Everyone's going to look BEAUTIFUL except for me, I'll just have to go in jeans... maybe I won't go AT ALL...!!!") It shows how much I trust her; it fitted perfectly and was lovely: sea green, 50s style with a big bow at the waist. However, looking back I think I would have liked to go for something a bit different. But at the time there just seemed to be nothing. Anywhere. Well, perhaps if I had £600 to spare, but unfortunately (but unsurprisingly) I didn't.
Anyway, I have therefore spent a bum-numingly long time trawling the internet to find what I hope are dresses fit for the ball. They may not all scream prom / ball, but then perhaps that's because to me prom screams shiny synthetic materials and dresses with skirts so wide it's a struggle to fit through a doorway. Perhaps it's best to be different after all...
The dress above is one of my favourites. When I was about 11 I was on holiday in Spain when I found the wedding dress of my dreams. It was of a beautiful white chiffon, and it looked as though a blossom tree had been shaken above it because the whole train and skirt were covered in fabric flowers. This Coast dress (£175) reminds me of that dress, and I love its bright purple colour and figure hugging shape.
The green of this dress (£135 Coast) reminds me of the dress Keira Knightley wore in 'Atonement'. The draping fabric is very grecian goddess, and the cute bow finishes it off perfectly. Team with bright red lipstick.
Channel your inner Parisien heartbreaker in this Karen Millen dress (£165). Red lipstick also required.
The ruffles on this dress (£55 Lipsy) make me think of a tiered cake. The dress is just as sweet.
Part of Asos' premium label, ASOS BLACK; this fabulous sequin number (£120). If you can't wear sequins to your own prom, when can you wear them?
This may not count as a prom dress, but I had to include it simply because it's called a 'Samurai Dress'. Who doesn't want to look as 'don't mess with me' cool as a Samurai princess? (£195 ASOS)
For my leaver's ball in a few week's time I'm wearing a dress I already have, but if I had the year 11 prom all over again I would choose this limited edition dress from Miss Selfridge. It is so sparkly (not in a diamante kind of way, but in a glam fairy-dust sort of way), such a pretty colour, and has a vintage feel to it. And the deciding factor has to be the bow at the back. I'm a sucker for a bow.
(£85 Miss Selfridge)
Admittedly this model may look mildly confused / depressed, but I promise YOU would be very happy in this dress. It is pretty and simple, and its loose shape says your body is so fabulous that you don't even need to get it all on show.
Great fun and right on trend with its lingerie detailing is this dress from New Look (£40).
Sexy bodycon dress from Asos (£38). Dress it up with sparkly jewellery and killer heels.
This dress from Coast (£150) wins the pretty award. I don't think you can get more feminine than this dress. Big thumbs up.
Trinny and Susannah have apparently created a clothing range (I knew about their massive magic knickers, but didn't realise they'd done the things to go on top too...) and this is one of their dresses, sold at very (£49). Very lovely.
Again, this may not be STRICTLY a prom dress, but it was classed as a cocktail dress and looks like ice cream so that's good enough for me. (£45 POP by PPQ at very)
You may have an LBD, but do you have an LND? (Little Navy Dress deary) I personally have a slight aversion to navy - it was the colour of my school uniform and makes me think of ill fitting blazers and the prolific quest each year to find a decent pair of trousers. However, this dress from Asos (£55) might just have converted me. When I went to visit my sister in Cambridge recently I saw this dress hanging up in one of her friend's rooms. It was beautiful.
I love this monochrome dress and how quirky it is with that scattering of flowers on the shoulder. (£75, Teatro at very) (See previous comments about red lipstick)
I had to include this dress for one simple reason: Hmm, that dress is cool, but doesn't it look a bit like it's got a mosquito net wrapped around it... IT IS a mosquito net!! The dress was made for Asos by Markus Lupfer, and it is raising money for the charity 'Malaria No More'. Extremely cool, and helping a very worthwhile cause.
The quirky structural shape makes this more than just a plain old LBD.
This dress is part of Miss Selfridge's Gossip Girl range, and I love it. Just please ignore the photo on the website of it worn with a string of plastic pearls. No. Just no.
(£49 Miss Selfridge)
A bow and polka dots - I was bound to like this one really. It also makes me think of Luella (R.I.P)... which makes me think... I am extremely jealous of one of my friend's who had the ingenious idea of going to Luella's closing down sale to snap up her prom dress, a gold and black jaquard strapless beauty that I am extremely envious of. Don't you wish you'd thought of that idea too?
(£45 Miss Selfridge)
Can't go wrong with polka dots...
£19 boohoo.com (Yes that actually is £19)
Ok, granted this one is shiny. Very shiny. But I can't help but love it.
£39.99 River Island
I love the print on this dress from New Look, and it's just £22.40.
This is a dress to make you stand out for the crowd for all the right reasons.
My sister's friend with the LND from Asos also had this dress hanging up on her wall (in fact she had 3 dresses for 3 garden parties / May balls. SO. JEALOUS). The sunshine yellow colour is so cheerful and the floaty layers look amazing.
And now to the full length dresses... admittedly there aren't many compared to all those short ones, but believe me, I did look. These are the ones I liked that weren't in the £600 + fairytale price range...
You're allowed to hate this dress, because it is a bit mad, but I love it. If I was looking for a quirky prom dress, this has to be it. (£150 Catalina at House of Fraser)
This is a glamorous goddess dress, and the colour is gorgeous.
Let's face it, proms are basically just about showing off how fabulous you look. Therefore the peacock seems the perfect style icon.
£49.99 River Island
When I was in Cambridge I persuaded my sister to buy this dress for her June event. It is gorgeous and she looked so lovely I couldn't let her leave the shop without it.
£150, Star by Julien Macdonald at Debenhams
A tropical sunset in a dress. And with floaty layers perfect for dancing.
£39.99 River Island
Cinderella is ready...