Tv series will cloud your mind to believe that proms are all about the bonds of friendship, romantic grand gestures, big reveals, and a gratifying experience of teenagers altogether. The truth is, it is all about the dress.

(Come on, when you look back at those group photos with your old allies, do you really get excited to see your 30 best friends more or admiring the outfit you wore?) Of course, the dress that would have been a hot topic at the batch of 1986 would not essentially be making the right choice for the batch of 2018, but this is what makes it all the more fun to look at people’s old prom pictures. Here is how prom outfits have changed over the decades.

1940s: The Long Gown With Full Sleeves

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I have often seen the false news stating that a “1940’s inspired” prom outfit featured a satin-y pencil dress with flourishing cleavage. Although, slim side does define the unique 40s silhouette (because of the wartime fabric rations), but it is pretty sure no one would have attended a prom looking like Rita Hayworth. In real, the students preferred going for longer dresses with shoulder covered, because modesty.

1950s: The Tea-Length Dress

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50s was the era when full-skirted dress brought a boom in the fashion market, making it the first choice of all the teenage girls for their prom. These dresses were commonly tea-length, but also could be longer. Those who wanted more vibrant look would go for ruffles.

1960s: The Transitional Era

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Early 1960s brought a subtle shift in the style of evening and prom dresses. This time, the waistline got raised a little (empire waist), skirt slim down slightly, and the hair got a bit puffier. But, there was not any major change in the colors, as innocent pastels remain to be the primary choice. Revolution does not seem to be started yet. Wait for some time.

1970s: The Long-Sleeved Poly-Blend Trend

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In this disco era, most girls would have been seen wearing long floaty synthetic gowns to look “gently unflattering”. This type of dresses featured sheer long sleeves. Many girls also choose to go for an off-shoulder bed skirt look.

1980s: The Metallic Wonder

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Along with metallic dresses, there were also other demure styles that got introduced in 80s. Crimped hair and the shine of satin was all about a trendy 80s prom look.

Early 1990s: Somewhat Remnants of the ’80s

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Early 90s trend was significantly inspired by the late 80s, except that in the ‘90s dresses, there was a little tighter fit, lower waist, and deeper side parted hair.  Also, off-the-shoulder dresses were an affluent trend in the ‘90s.

Late 1990s and Early 2000s- Spaghetti-Strapped Gowns

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As the millennium arrived, the strappy gowns made their own place in the wardrobe of girls. A sleek, minimalist look became favorite of the most millennium girls.

Late 2000s to 2010s: Long, Colorful, Gently Detailed Dresses

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Colorful shades, shorter tight-bodices-with-tulle skirts, Cinderella ballgown look, and interesting detailing- these made the prom dresses of 2000s to 2010s simply unmatched.

2010s: Dresses with a pack of highlighters exploded

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Girls in 2010s wanted to maximize the glam factor, with vibrant print, bedazzled, finished with a mullet skirt and highlighters exploded on it.

2020s: Less-is-The-New-More Dress

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I spoke too soon!

So, these were the evolution you can see through the years (except the one I imagined out of my own mind- 2020s). Whether the princess evening gowns inspired by ‘50s or vibrant dresses of 2010s, you can easily find a variety of prom dresses online. Get ready with your shopping shoes on.


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