So prom is sort of the evening of escaping school, .... except that you do it with the very people you sit with in class. It's an event within the context of school, so at the risk of making this a history lesson, let's have a quick look at the origin, and dare we say, HISTORY of prom.
The word prom comes from "promenade" and the students at Concord High School up north are doing just that (see below): parading passed family, friends, teachers and neighbors. It's a big deal every year to this day, but prom is actually older than sliced bread (seriously) and started with Ivy League schools in the Northeast of the US during the mid to late 1800s.
"The prom can be traced back to the simple co-ed banquets that 19th century American universities held for each year's graduating class. A growing teenage culture pushed proms younger, and by the 1940s the adolescent dance we know today had almost entirely taken hold.
In the 1950s, a thriving postwar economy allowed high schools to eschew the traditional gymnasium in favor of proms held in hotels or at country clubs. President Kennedy rescheduled a 1963 $1,000-a-plate fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton to accommodate a local school whose prom had been booked for the same time.
In 1975, President Ford's daughter Susan held her high school's senior prom at possibly the best prom location ever: the White House."
Prom is for everyone and perhaps the reason for this is a middle class response to the debutante balls that were thrown for people of means. Everyone wants to get dressed up, dance and celebrate - be the end of a school year, a coming of age or being together when you're young and have energy. Regardless, proms continue to be an annual event. That, at least, is consistent.
What is not consistent are the style. As we've been sharing the gowns for 2019, it's also fun to check out how far we've come in the last 70 years. At BT, we'd be interested to hear what YOU think of these styles.
The 1930s meant your best suit and your prettiest dress. Add a corsage and a ribbon belt and off you go. Girls tended to wear white to mimic the debutant style of Coming Out into polite society. This is how girls met future husbands.
In the 1940s, the dresses were still long and demure, but they started showing off a girl's figure with pulled in waists and fitted bodices.
Hellllooooooo Hoop Skirts. These skirt enhancers allowed young teens to go from the girl in the third row to Scarlett O'Hara for an evening.
The '60s were about big hair and tan skin. The dresses were full, Jockie Kennedy inspired and in the Easter colors that made a spring break tan shine.
It's hard to know how to describe the prom wear of the 1970s and even if we did know what to say, you wouldn't be able to hear it over those outfits.
Everything was BIG in the 80s. The hair was big and sprayed within an inch of its life, it was teased or more likely permed (maybe both), and there was plenty of fabric below the waist, poofy sleeves or strapless tops and all to showcase tan skin.
While the prom dresses of 1990s still showed off some of the loud, big oomph of the '80s gowns, this decade was the very first inkling of making prom gowns less like the proms of the past and more like fashion that was "grown up."
Finally, today. We are sneaking up on 20 years into the 21st century and gowns are more decorative, more elaborate, more sophisticated than ever. They are still fun. This we know from the ones that come in daily to our shop.
We hope you'll come have a look at our amazing selection as the spring sneaks up on all of us and prom history is made again.