What is a Prom Dress?

Lauren Romano
Lauren Romano
A prom dress.
A prom dress.

A prom dress is what is typically worn by teenage girls in the United States on prom night. It is considered quite important and much thought goes into choosing one. The opportunity for a teenage girl to pick out her prom dress is usually thought of as one of the best parts of preparing for the night.

While some wait until the last minute to buy what they will be wearing, scores of girls start looking online and in stores and magazines many months in advance. This provides plenty of time to help ensure that they find the dress of their dreams and that it fits perfectly.

A short prom dress.
A short prom dress.

The price of a prom dress can be rather expensive. While some teenage girls have the ability to spend any amount of money they desire, there are those that choose to go the less expensive route. In this case, a prom dress can be purchased online through an auction site, at a consignment shop or even at a garage or yard sale. Although it will most likely have to be altered, it could be much less then what the asking price would be in stores.

A corsage is generally worn for prom, and compliments the color and style of a dress.
A corsage is generally worn for prom, and compliments the color and style of a dress.

Many girls choose to bring a date to the prom, and it is usually customary to have the color of the prom dress complement the escort's vest. In addition, the corsage and the boutonniere, which are worn by the young woman and man respectively, are usually a complimentary color to the dress. In some cases, the dress will be brought when the tuxedo is chosen to ensure that the colors go well together.

The dress can play an important role in having the evening go well. Should the dress get ripped, have a strap break or get a stain on it, it can be quite an upsetting experience. Many of the teenage girls, along with the chaperons of the prom, take extra precautions to ensure that any wardrobe disasters don’t occur or can easily be fixed.

Choosing a prom dress can be a fun, although slightly stressful, experience. It is usually said to be worth it as the young woman gets the opportunity to dress up for an evening and wear an outfit that she wouldn’t normally be able to. While some get rid of their prom dress not long after wearing it, there are those that are so fond of theirs that they choose to keep it and wear it to a special event in the future.

Discussion Comments


There is a lot to be said for vintage prom dresses if you want to save money and get a nice look. There are plenty of prom dress stores out there but very few that actually carry nice vintage pieces.

I think if you want a classic look for cheap you need to start hitting the consignment shops and second-hand stores and really digging for things that can work for you. I have always hated buying new clothes that are over priced so with a bit of creativity you can put together something really unique. My white prom dress was actually a revamped wedding gown and everyone loved it.


@Sara007 - You may want to check out places like Promgirl or ever-pretty online which offer a huge selection of long prom dresses and short for discount prices. While things like a Jovani prom dress can go for $500 you can also find dresses for sale under $50 which may be the solution you are looking for.

I personally think that spending a fortune on any dress you are going to wear for just a few hours is a bad idea. I suggest visiting the sites with your daughter and a budget and finding something that works for both of you.


Can anyone recommend some good discount prom dress stores online where I can order a simple but lovely black prom dress?

My daughter is dead set on matching a look she found in a magazine but the original is so expensive I know there is no way we can afford it. I am hoping that I can find a store that offers celebrity replicas of gowns or inexpensive but stylish options for teens.

The prom dress hops in my city seem set on selling the most expensive dresses possible and going into them hasn't yielded good results for us. I think getting something online may be the key.

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    • A prom dress.
      By: ksena32@ukrpost.ua
      A prom dress.
    • A short prom dress.
      By: pelvee
      A short prom dress.
    • A corsage is generally worn for prom, and compliments the color and style of a dress.
      By: BVDC
      A corsage is generally worn for prom, and compliments the color and style of a dress.