CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Left: Michael Forgue, a Radford junior, wears a gray Parisian suit with framed peak lapel, rented for $216 from Celebrity Tuxedos. Right: Alyssa Fukumoto, a Radford High School junior, wears a jeweled dress from BCBG, $360.
Enjoy the prom, properly
Some helpful tips will ensure fashion success within the confines of decency
For school administrators, prom season is a time fraught with peril. More scary than the idea of teens out late at night, one on one, is imagining the attention-grabbing outfits they might attempt to parade in if left unsupervised.
For all kids, that means plenty of rules are in place to keep major body parts covered. To disobey, according to one Castle High School administrator, would mean calling one's parents to come and take you home, which has happened at the school's proms, even with a review day during which those with dress concerns and questions can bring in their garments for approval.
If your school doesn't have that type of review, check with one of your student advisers. With dresses costing anywhere from $100 to $800, and tuxes renting for about $200, you don't want to risk spending the night back at home with fuming 'rents.
Prom dressing wasn't always so restricted. There was a time when students took their cues from their peers, collectively reining in any exhibitionist tendencies. But over the years, MTV and the Internet expanded the "peer group" to include rap groupies, spring-break beach bimbos and porn stars. It's one thing to expose impressionable girls and boys to an excess of body parts, but even worse is exposing innocents to bad taste gone wild.
Thank heaven for little rules. Here are a few do's and don'ts that will serve juniors and seniors well not only during prom season, but throughout life.
THE SURVEY SAYS
A survey of public schools turns up similar rules regarding prom-night dressing (check with your school for specific policies). Even more rules apply to dance moves. The gist is, keep it clean all around:
» Dress shoes
Don't try it
» No jeans
» No athletic shoes or rubber slippers
» No T-shirts or tank tops
» No sunglasses
» Gowns (usually worn by seniors)
» Cocktail dresses (usually worn by juniors)
» Flowers, lei
Don't try it
» No see-through materials
» No bared midriffs
» No backless garments
» Nothing that reveals top or bottom cleavage
» No shorts
» No sunglasses
Use your judgment
» If wearing a strapless dress, Radford High calls for the bodice to reach the armpits at its April 12 junior prom.
» Skirt slits must be no higher than fingertip length with arms resting at the side of the body at Kaiser High's April 19 junior prom. Dresses should also be no shorter than that length, although most chaperones would prefer dresses closer to knee-length.
» Although school dress codes usually forbid halter styles, some leeway is granted during prom. For example, Castle will allow halter-style dresses if no cleavage shows.