What A Real High Schooler Wants To Wear To Her Prom

We were swapping our own prom stories the other day, and—even though most of us looked fairly ridiculous in our corsages and swaths of tulle—we were glad that we stuck to our own teenage sartorial convictions, forwent suggestions from adults, and rocked those vintage scores/outrageous prom dresses/plastic accessories with all the zhuzh we could muster. So, when we were thinking about how to go about doing a prom dress feature for you, we thought it'd be best to go straight to the source. Introducing, Sophomore high school student from NYC, Emma (who blogs at The Emma Edition), who was kind enough to let us in on what people who are actually going to prom want to wear to it.
Because I’m in high school, the prom is an inevitable brouhaha that affects everyone, whether they go or not. So when thinking about what to wear, I look to movies like Pretty in Pink, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Never Been Kissed, and Grease because not only do all of the above movies feature iconic prom scenes, but also have leading ladies with nonconformist sartorial choices. Andie, Romy, Michele, Josie, and Sandy each were outcasts at their prom, yet weren’t afraid to let their fashion sense shine through. So for this post, I’ve selected items that would do these female heroines justice if they showed up to my high school’s 2011 prom. Read on for some inspiration for what to wear to your own prom as well!
Andie Walsh in Pretty in Pink (1986)—Andie Walsh is an obvious style icon. She loves wearing Peter Pan collars, boat hats, and piling on the pins (a trend that seriously needs to make a comeback). Pretty in Pink is a West Side Story-ish tale of teenage love and general angst. Andie isn’t one of the wealthy, preppy kids, but she doesn’t let that suppress her stylish spirit. Instead, she makes her own clothes and shops at thrift stores. While the other girls at her prom wear frumpy gowns, Andie dons an Audrey Hepburn-with-an-edge, bubblegum-pink frock, which she handcrafts herself. However, if Andie went to prom today, she would probably wear something more like this pink ASOS dress. It’s still reflective of her eclectic vibe but brings her '80s look into 2011. I paired it with these kitschy jeweled heels because they look like some rad DIY project Andie could have taken on. And Voila! Andie is ready to dance the night away. 

Above, from left: Haus of Price Multi Gem Arch Heel, $239.95, available at Solestruck; ASOS Premium Floral Applique Silk Organza Shift Dress, $152.41, available at ASOS; Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil (in Barracuda), $20.00, available at Sephora.
Romy White and Michele Weinberger, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)—Leading by example, style mavericks Romy and Michele taught us to be ourselves. They were ferociously into fashion and had a love for all funky colors, metallic fabrics, chunky platforms, and loads of faux fur. Much like Andie, the best friend-duo were the only individualists at their prom. While the popular girls all looked like they were at a pageant, Romy and Michele’s outfits were a pure homage to Material Girl Madonna, complete with corsets, tutus, and cross jewelry, showing that they were destined for something greater than their peers. Romy and Michele would love Motel’s bolt dress, not only because it’s a modern version of the bright, latex dresses they wear in the movie, but also because the dress feeds into the teen witch trend featured on Jeremy Scott’s fall '11 runway (a trend I can only hope they would find irresistible).
Above, from left: Motel Paloma Dress. $75.60, available at Motel Rocks; Jeffey Campbell Salvatore shoe, $184.95, available at Solestruck; Ecote Beaded Clutch, $38.00, available at Urban Outfitters.
Josie Geller, Never Been Kissed (1999)—For Josie Geller, prom night was the pinnacle of her high school embarrassment. But in her 20s, Josie poses as a high school student to do undercover journalistic work and get to experience the prom she had once envisioned. Although she's no longer a teenager, she is still one at heart, as reflected in her unconventional ensembles throughout the movie—remember her head-to-toe white faux fur get-up? Josie’s 2nd prom was themed “Famous Couples Through History” and she goes as Rosalind from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. If Josie was attending a prom in 2011, I’d put her in this embroidered squiggly maxi dress. It’s perfect because the pattern embraces Josie’s inner free spirit while the length allows her to feel like a princess for one night. The platforms would make her feel like the adult she is, and in them she would be the furthest thing from “Josie Grossie.”
Above, from left: Topshop Limited Edition Embroidered Swirl Maxi Dress , $510.00, available at Topshop; Ameake Wedge, $89.95, available at Free People.
Sandy Olsson, Grease (1978)—New girl in town, Sandy Olsson is more conservative than the Pink Ladies. While the other girls make fun of her prim, coquettish look, Sandy stays true to her pastel cardigans and poodle skirts. When it came to prom night, she wore an angelic yellow taffeta dress and satin bow to match. However, by the end of the movie, Sandy’s wardrobe gets an injection of greaser style. So Sandy’s dress choice for 2011 would have to be a balance of biker-chick- meets-girly-girl. And for that, this badass, red Topshop dress meets all of the requirements—the juxtaposition of the lace and tulle skirt make for the ultimate '50s revival. Can you say sock hop time, guys?
Carvela Amigo Platform T-Bar Sandals, $233.09, available at ASOS; Coral Lace Pleated Skirt Dress, $85.00, available at Topshop.