A Retrospective of Prom Dress Styles from the Past Decades

The first ever known account of what we know today as “prom” was found in the journal of a male Amherst College student in 1894. He described an invitation to a formal dance at the neighboring all-female Smith College. Since then, prom has blossomed into the crowning jewel of the high school experience! Attendees go all out on prom fashion selection, lavish rides, and courageous “promposals”. What did the prom dance floor look like when you attended? If your prom was in the 50s, you may have seen a dazzling array of full-skirted, tea-length dresses with playful ruffles, tulle, and lace. If your prom was in the 60s, the dance floor may have been bursting with bold colors, big hair, and empire waists. What about a 70s prom? Prom fashion was eclectic, funky, and fresh! Supermodel Twiggy introduced the iconic babydoll dress and graceful bohemian gowns floated about. By the 80s, it was all about big and bright styles. Big bows, big sleeves, and big tulle skirts ruled the prom party scene. There were also lots of shimmer, jewel tones, sheer gloves, and bubble silhouettes. As the 90s progressed, sleek, satin dresses became vogue, and shoulder pads were abandoned for spaghetti-strap minimalist looks. Black-and-white color schemes, sequins, beading, and rosettes were also popular. In the 2000s, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera ignited a frenzy for two-piece sets – this look has continued into modern prom fashion. Prom dress styles of the past decade include long, ethereal dresses with dainty detailing, ruched necklines, intricately beaded gowns, vibrant prints, revealing and figure-accentuating dresses, ombre color schemes, and of course, vintage is back! This infographic presents a timeline of prom fashions by decade starting from the 1900s. In addition to the lovely vintage illustrations, you will find little gems of knowledge about the historical influences behind the prom fashion trends.

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