Whether you're a girl that loves or hates trying on dozens of styles to the "oohs" and "ahhs" of admirers in the dressing room, knowing the styles and trends for prom this season may help local girls select that special dress in which they'll soon dance the night away.
Traditional long gowns will always be associated with the big event, but some fashion-forward prom-goers may also opt to wear one of the new "in" styles.
Laura O'Farrell, owner of the Ooh la la Boutiques in Altoona and Johnstown, carries short prom dress styles, including a turquoise dress worn by Kendall Jenner on the cover of Teen Prom magazine. O'Farrell said the dress has already sold in Johnstown, and many manufacturers are promoting short dress styles this year.
Mirror photos by Patrick Waksmunski
Lauren?O’Farrell, 15, of Ebensburg models a prom dress at Ooh la la Boutique in the Logan Valley Mall. The dress was on the cover of Teen Prom magazine. Short dresses are one of the prom fashion trends this year. Lauren’s mother, Laura O’Farrell owns Ooh la la.
"I think it's new," she said of the trend. "They're saying that someone who's a little more fashion-conscious is going to wear a shorter dress to be a little bit more trendy."
O'Farrell said other trendy styles include long, flowing silhouettes, feathers, split leg and asymmetrical hems and cut-out styles. She would urge girls to consider some of the trendier styles for a very unique look.
"It's a special time to get dressed up, look pretty and look different," she said. "It's not fun seeing yourself in what everybody else is wearing."
Cathy Alberts, owner of LuCretia II Bridal and Formals in Altoona, said even if it comes down to working it out with mom, girls usually end up with the style of dress they want - whether that be more traditional or more modern.
"I don't even know what's traditional in prom anymore," she said. "Girls are strong. They know what they like."
Alberts said LuCretia's best-selling style this year is the mermaid dress. Though the style tends to be close-fitting throughout the bodice and flair out only when it hits the mid-calf area, Alberts said mermaid dresses can look good on girls of all sizes.
"Even on girls that are a little larger, it just seems like they like the proportion and showing their curves," she said.
Alberts said girls may gravitate toward certain styles each year if it's what they see in advertisements or on the red carpet. Some trends also come as a surprise - dresses with short hems in the front that then become longer in the back, along with shorter dress styles, have been doing better than Alberts thought they would this year.
"Some girls are like 'Oh, I wore the big thing last year, now I want to be comfortable this year,'" she said. "I think that's why they end up going for those styles."
Alberts said they didn't get as many dresses with prints this year as they have in the past three or four years, but neon colors remain popular.
The scene when Alexis Shade, 15, of Bellwood, tried on a bright orange tiered gown at Pine Ridge Bridal in Duncans-ville would suggest truth behind this trend. Shade said she liked the eye-popping color and the funky style of the dress, and chose it over a shorter piece with a camouflage print.
"It feels more prom-like," she said of the longer dress.
On the other end of the dressing room, Rachel Johnson, 15, of Altoona, stuck with slinkier dress styles in shades of purple and pink.
Rachel's mother, Missy, said they had started their dress search at Pine Ridge without any idea what style Rachel would chose.
"We came in totally open-minded and had no idea what color, or anything," Missy said.
And though Rachel doesn't usually wear pink, she took the advice of others in the dressing room and chose a dress in a medium shade that had sequins and a cut-out style.
"All my friends say I look nice in pink," Rachel said. "I like to try different things."
Autumn Pruonto-McKinney, owner of Pine Ridge Bridal, agreed that asymmetrical hems were big this year, and added that they also carried a few styles that were short skirt dresses that also came with a long overskirt, and could be worn either way.
"I have girls that are going to two proms, so they're wearing the same dress but they have a totally different look for each of the proms," she said.
Pruonto-McKinney said ballgown styles are still really strong sellers because of the "Cinderella feeling" they can give girls on prom night. At the same time, prints like peacock, feathers and other animal prints have also been selling well, she said.
"It's fun, and you want to have fun for prom," she said.
No matter what style of dress they chose, Pruonto-McKinney said consultants are always on hand to make sure girls leave with exactly what they want, and what looks good on them.
"What our consultants try to do is match the girl's body type with the dress to maximize her best look," she said. "The last thing you want is someone going 'where did she get that dress' in a nasty way!"
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.