Long Prom Dress or Short Prom Dress?

“Long dress or short dress?” That’s a question that came up in the shop a lot during the last Homecoming season. So how did I answer it?

The short answer is this: “Wear the dress that makes you happiest. Just make sure it’s modest and will stay modest throughout the evening.”

I can always tell when a girl is uncomfortable in a dress: she will stiffen up, and she will unconsciously pick at the part of the dress she doesn’t like. On the other hand, when a girl likes a dress, she will relax, start smiling, and often begin swishing the skirt – if not outright dancing around the shop!

The long answer has a bit more to it.

Nationwide, the trend is towards shorter dresses. This is especially true for less-formal dances such as Homecoming, Christmas, and Sweethearts. But it’s even a strong trend for Prom.

One factor for most girls is what the other girls in their particular group are wearing. Most girls don’t want to be the only one in their group wearing a short or a long dress. But as long as at least one other girl in the group is wearing what they’re wearing, they feel more comfortable.

Different schools sometimes have different trends. At some schools, short is more in vogue; at others, more girls are wearing long dresses. You can get a good idea of what your school is like by looking at your friends’ Facebook pictures (from what I can tell, almost everyone posts their dance pictures on Facebook).

Here in Utah County, where my shop is located, we tend to be a bit behind the national trends. For Homecoming 2011, most of the dresses I rented were still long dresses.

If you do choose a short dress, please be sure it’s long enough to stay modest through the whole evening.

The short dresses that seem to be in style right now are cocktail-style dresses that are strapless and designed to hit about 4″ above the knee. These dresses are especially impractical for vigorous dancing. If you can’t move your arms or bend over without worrying about the neck, dancing won’t be fun. When you raise your arms, your dress is going to go up at the hem, and if it’s already too short, this won’t be good. If your date is going to bend you across his knee, you don’t want to have to worry about the dress riding up at the bottom or about becoming uncovered at the top. (One mom recently shared a story with me of watching a beauty pageant in which a body part popped out of a strapless dress during a dance number!)

Here is one final thought of my own: You won’t get many chances to really dress up in your life. Once high school is over, the time of big pouffy ballgowns is mainly over as well. So I say – Dress up as much as you want! If short is your style, great. But if you really want to wear a long dress with a big pouffy dress and bling it up – go for it!