Prom trends show desire to stand out, express personality
BY KIM BROWN World Scene Writer
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
4/24/12 at 5:24 AM
Welcome to the 21st-century prom.
Gone are the days of staged photos and subtle slip dresses - the cookie-cutter prom is out.
Tulsa-area promgoers are taking the milestone event and doing it their own way, from fun photos to unique dresses to sparkling accessories.
On the hunt for the standout dress
"It just makes me feel pretty," said Broken Arrow High School senior Sarah Bourque, about her teal sequined prom dress she was trying on at Glamour Gowns and More, 124 S. Main St., in Broken Arrow.
She was one of about five or six girls in the store working on last-minute prom looks last week.
"I just like that it's different," said Taylor Halfacre, as she stood in front of the mirror at the store, in a blush pink dress with feathered accents.
Halfacre, 18, traveled from Tahlequah with her mother and sister last week to try on dresses for her senior prom Saturday.
Feathered dresses are hugely popular this year, shop owner Kellie Blanton said.
Proms in the area have been in full swing all month, but several are slated in late April and May.
"Color is always in for prom, but this year has been a strong year for nude and other neutrals," Blanton said. "Black has also re-entered. It was out for years."
Many girls in the store were hurrying to find a last-minute dress, or to find accessories. Longer dresses seem to be what most girls want this year.
"I think a lot of people chose long dresses this year, but a couple of years ago they were choosing the shorter dresses," Blanton said. "But you don't go long very often, except for prom and your wedding."
Seniors Bourque and Hayden Kloehr were looking through dresses for their prom at Broken Arrow on Saturday. Bourque has already chosen hers - a floor-length teal sequined dress with an asymmetrical strap - so she was in for a final fitting.
"I've been in and out of here a million times, stressing out," Bourque said, laughing.
Standing out and having a unique look is essential, she said.
"I think every girl wants to feel definitely beautiful. On prom, you want to be the person who looks the best," she said.
Kloehr was trying on dresses with her mother, Genis Barnes. When Kloehr appeared in a bright red dress, her mother and Bourque gave her the appropriate, "Ooohs."
"I told (Kloehr) that you have to wait until senior year to go to prom," Barnes said. "That's what makes it special."
Bling on the prom
Dresses in every color of the rainbow are popular, said Jennifer Thompson, owner of Facchianos Bridal and Formal Attire at 71st Street and Garnett Road.
"Our hottest dresses have features, or it has a crazy bottom. We have both short and long this year, and a lot of high-lows," Thompson said, referring to the trendy dresses that are shorter in front and longer in back.
"I think that's what makes it stand out. That's why every year, we go out of our way to find the craziest dresses," she said. "Girls want to look different, and they don't want other people wearing their dress," she said.
Big sequins and lots of shimmer are also a prom staple these days, especially for accessories.
"Anything that can add bling to a dress," said Sarah Kurtz, women's accessories manager at Dillard's Woodland Hills. "Bracelets are huge this year, especially stacking. And big earrings are a big factor."
Because a lot of styles have asymmetrical straps across one shoulder, Kurtz said many girls are eschewing the necklace for statement earrings.
"They're mixing things. They might be pairing a gold bracelet with a little bling, and big blingy earrings," she said. "There's no set rule to what you can do."
For Bourque, it's all about a finished look. She's opting for gold shoes and jewelry to accent her teal dress.
"It's important that it all goes together and you look completely put together," she said.
Putting the memories in the photo
Say goodbye to the stale, posed prom portrait.
Thanks to the world of digital photography and applications, such as Photoshop, parents are getting more sophisticated about snapping those prom pics.
For example, Bert Peake came up with a memorable group shot for her son's recent prom for Riverfield Country Day School.
Peake, who just started a professional photography business, decided that the typical, staged shot needed some oomph.
"My son proposed the idea on me that we were going to have about 20 or so kids over (for pre-prom photos), so I started scrambling on where I could take a picture of that many kids," Peake said. "Every year we do that same old, standing in a row (photo), and it's just so boring. I thought, 'Let's do something a little bit different.' "
So she gathered some props that depicted what was going on in 2012.
"I thought that the kids would want to remember their prom and what was going on at that time. I thought that would be kind of fun," Peake said.
The group posed with iPads, copies of "The Hunger Games" and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn" books, Angry Birds stuffed animals, a copy of their prom dinner menu from Duke's Southern Kitchen, a Tulsa World newspaper, and a gasoline canister to reflect the high gas prices.
Then, Peake used Photoshop editing software to add some text to the photo.
"We also did a picture of a tug of war. I just got a rope and put the girls on one side and the boys on the other," she said. "That was fun."
The Facebook generation is all about individuality, so anything creative will make them feel extra special for prom.
"You don't have to do the traditional thing. It's fun to be creative and different and add that little something special to your photos," she said.
For more, visit tulsaworld.com/peakephotos
Original Print Headline: Perfect prom
Kim Brown 918-581-8474
Taylor Halfacre (middle), 18, tries on a prom dress as shop owner Kellie Blanton (left), Halfacre's sister Jennifer Terrapin, 11, and mother Lori Halfacre watch at Glamor Gowns and More in Broken Arrow last week. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World
This prom photo was shot by Tulsa-area photographer Bert Peake. She wanted to give her son and his friends a memorable photo, so she gave them props and added words in Photoshop to note key events in 2012. Courtesy
Nude-colored dresses and other neutrals have been selling well this year, shop owner Kellie Blanton says. A dress on display at Glamour Gowns and More in Broken Arrow juxtaposes neutral tones with lots of sparkle, another trend. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World
Genis Barnes (left) watches as shop owner Kellie Blanton (right) adjusts a prom dress that her daughter Hayden Kloehr, 18, is trying on at Glamour Gowns and More in Broken Arrow. Red is always a favorite color for a prom dress. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World