Prom outfit essentials

Putting together an outfit for a prom or homecoming dance can be stressful -- especially if you've waited until the last minute to start shopping.

You want to look and feel great, but where do you start? Luckily for you, we’ve put together this guide to dressing your best for the most important party of the year.

Prom Style Tips for Girls:

Dresses

From the classic cocktail dress to the traditional floor-length ball gown, girls of all body types can find a cut, colour and style of dress that looks great. Keep in mind, though, that certain dress styles look better on some body types than others. If you’re pear shaped, you’ll want to choose a style that balances out your proportions, such as an A-line skirt paired with a fitted top. Straight, slender body types can create the illusion of curves with a mermaid-style dress. For apple-shaped bodies, dresses with an empire waist will draw attention to the slimmest part of your midsection while camouflaging the wider areas. If you have an hourglass shape, you’ll have plenty of options to work with, since your body is naturally well-proportioned. Lucky you!

Shoes

Finding a colour and style of shoe that matches your dress is important, but even more important than that is choosing shoes that are comfortable enough to walk around and dance in all evening. When deciding whether to wear high heels, flats, or something in between, consider your own personal style in addition to what would work well with your dress. If you opt for flats, make sure they’re dressy enough to wear with a formal dress.

Accessories

A little sparkle can take your prom style from “beautiful” to “stunning.” Your prom night is one of the few chances you’ll have to really go all out, so don’t be afraid to glam it up with a few pieces of tasteful jewelry. You can’t go wrong with timeless gems like pearls and emeralds. Just try not to get carried away with the bling — your jewelry should complement your outfit, not compete with it.

Prom Style Tips for Guys:

Suits and Tuxedos

The most important decision you’ll make when putting together your prom outfit is whether you’ll wear a suit jacket or a tuxedo jacket. If you opt for a tuxedo, consider a rental instead of buying a brand new tux. Regardless of whether you choose to wear a tuxedo or a suit, the safest and most classic colour is black. Make sure your dress pants match the colour and material of your suit or tuxedo jacket. Avoid shiny materials, as they tend to look cheap. You’ll also want to make sure that the suit or tuxedo jacket has lapels and a buttonhole for a boutonnière.

Shoes

Any plain black formal shoes will work well for prom. If you already own a pair, all you have to do is get them shined up, and you’re all set. If you don’t own any black dress shoes, you can rent a pair of formal black pumps from the tuxedo rental store.

Accessories

Consider what kind of accessories you’ll pair with your suit or tuxedo. A few classic choices are cufflinks and shirt studs; if you wear both, make sure they’re a matching set or that they complement each other. As a general rule of thumb, avoid mixing gold and silver pieces. Your prom date will likely choose your boutonnière, but it should match the colour and style of your date’s corsage.