Rock The Prom!

For most people, the prom is still a little way off — & yet at the moment, it’s the hottest issue in my inbox! Girls around the globe are fuh-reakin’ out, lost in a sea of dresses, stumped by what to wear & how to look different, original & cute without spending a fortune or imitating someone else.

I think that to some girls, a prom is like a miniature version of a wedding — to be planned in intense detail & carried off with military precision. That’s okay! I understand! I am a Virgo myself; I am well acquainted with the joy of organisation. So I am here to help!


While you could go to a department store & pick a dress off the rack, that’s probably what every other girl in town will be doing, too. It’s okay to follow the herd, but not on a night that is important to you — or on a night that has so much photographic evidence! You want to look ravishing, mysterious, glamorous & stylish, & it is hard to feel like that when the girl you really dislike turns up in the same gown.

I strongly advise buying your dress somewhere else. Try the tiny boutique of a local independent designer, go vintage shopping, peruse your very stylish friend’s wardrobe, start looking at patterns or browsing online for the dress of your dreams. You don’t have to buy off the rack in your town — in fact, you don’t have to buy at all if you have well-dressed friends! Be open to other options, because it will help you stand out on the night.

Have a browse around online to see what you like. Some of the best vintage dresses can be found at Vintageous, Blue Velvet, Trashy Diva & Ballyhoo, & there’s always Ebay.

If you don’t like dresses, never fear! Androgyny is in & it’s hot. Have a read of Tomboy Boot Camp & then scroll down this page for more ideas!


A lot of girls go to a make-up counter to have their face done for the big day — in fact, in Australia & New Zealand I would say that’s the rule, rather than the exception. That’s great if you’re not wonderful with make-up, but if you have a very definite “look”, you might want to save the cash & do your make-up at home. A couple of my goth friends refuse to have anyone touch their faces because they can never find anyone who does their make-up as they like it, & they are not alone!

If you’re paying someone to do your make-up for the big night, I would recommend doing a trial run first. Some people have strange ideas about what looks good, & you don’t want to be frantically rubbing your make-up off in the limousine!

Remember that you can get anything you want. If you always wear pale pink lip-gloss with brown eye-liner, don’t be afraid to try something new! Maybe electric blue eye-liner will look amazing on you. Let the make-up artist play around with things & be open to their suggestions, because until something is on you, it’s very hard to know whether it will good or not. When I worked at Lush, we were friends with the girls at the MAC counter, so when we had a break we’d go to their shop & they would make us over. I remember one girl gave me yellow eye-shadow that faded into this brilliant parrot green colour — I thought it would look hideous but actually, it was totally incredible. So take a chance!

Feel free to take in pictures & photographs that show what colour your dress is & demonstrate the sort of make-up you want — if you do, it will make the artist’s job much easier. Also: be friendly! You will get better service & a more fabulous end result.


Just because a prim up-do is the “done thing”, that doesn’t mean you have to have one. You could have your hair down, curled, teased, in a beehive, dusted with talcum powder, under a tiara, or even wear a wig! If you’re feeling daring, you could even colour your hair. If your hair is short & you feel left out, don’t! Read Making Short Hair More Interesting & rejoice!


The prom is kind of a ridiculous tradition but it can be a lot of fun if you embrace it. Even if you loathe everyone you go to school with, it’s still great to dress up & see everyone else dolled up. People seem to act differently when they’re dressed up for a formal occasion — almost like adults, sometimes! You might even find yourself talking to (& making peace with) someone who was your arch-nemesis all year, so if you’ve sworn off your prom, give it a re-think.

On the other hand, just because it’s the prom, that doesn’t mean you should feel like you have to transform into some weird alien version of you for the night! Leave that Barbie girl look to those spray-tan-crazy girls who never answer questions in class. Don’t be afraid to inject a little personality into your outfit — or even allow your outfit to express who you are. If you’re a gamer, embrace it! Wear a brooch of the Nintendo logo on your dress or don initial rings that spell out ‘GAME OVER’. If you’re obsessed with France, dress in red white & blue & add a beret. (You could even draw a little moustache on the side of your finger & hold it up to your lip & laugh at people with a fake French accent!) If you’re a photographer, wear your camera like a necklace, & if you’re a ballerina, wear ballet shoes. You get the picture.

The accessories make it. Even if you do end up buying something that someone else wears, if you accessorise it properly, you won’t look similar at all. Think hats, stockings, bags, bracelets, rings, chokers, necklaces, glitter, crystals, feathers, tiaras, faux fur — & take it from there.


Obviously the idea is not to go out & buy these outfits as they are (though if you can afford a pair of Louboutins to wear to your prom then you’re doing pretty well)! Hopefully you will be able to use them as a jumping-off point; something to inspire you. Maybe you’ll look at one of these dresses & love it but accessorise it differently, or perhaps a colour scheme will appeal to you. I hope it helps!

What to wear to your prom

For the glamorous alternative girl: Todd Lynn Nachtotter leather jacket; vintage 1950’s strapless dress; gold Rolex; CC Skye bracelet; Alexander McQueen clutch; Jimmy Choo heels; initial rings from Girlprops.

What to wear to your prom

For the girl who thinks pink: Fendi Candy striped silk dress; Tarina Tarantino necklace; Alexander McQueen clutch; pink bangles; Christian Louboutin glitter patent slingbacks.

What to wear to your prom

For the geeky girl: Robot charm necklace; JC Penney dress; retro glasses; Fred Flare nerd/dork ring set; Cat5 bracelet; Balenciaga fingerless gloves; gold Kitson sandals.

What to wear to your prom

For the tomboy with taste: 3.1 Phillip Lim tuxedo jacket; Blondie t-shirt; Todd Lynn Bill Carson bow tie; Topshop cropped jeans; Christian Louboutin Ariella studded boots; Moschino handbag.

Oh, & if you need extra inspiration… Betsey Johnson‘s Spring 2008 collection is prom-tastic!