Prepping for prom
Alfred Angelo "Twilight: Breaking Dawn"-inspired "Romantic Valentine" prom collection, Style 4002.
Flaunt by Mori Lee, style 91105, beaded print charmeuse gown.
Gown with feathered shrug by Alyce.
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The weather is warming up, the school year is winding down, and daylight is lasting longer -- prom time must be near.
Prom night doesn't have to be a horror movie if you get a jump on getting ready and are creative with ways to commemorate the occasion with friends.
Here are some style, spending and planning tips to make this year's dance a memorable one.
Maybe you're not famous, but that doesn't mean you can't feel -- and dress -- like a star for the night. Put on the Ritz with a long gown, lots of sparkling jewelry and something extra special, such as a fancy shrug, feather boa or elbow-length gloves. And don't forget killer shoes -- preferably platforms! Channel your inner Hollywood starlet with this red strapless gown with a sweetheart neckline by Alyce Designs. Visit www.alycedesigns.com for a store locator.
Bright colors are hot this year. Torn between a rosy pink gown or a canary yellow one? Stand out with a dress that's a kaleidoscope of both -- and many more colors in vivid neons -- like this beaded print charmeuse dress from Flaunt by Mori Lee (style no. 91105). Search for a store near you at www.morilee.com.
Trade in the train for a party dress that features the fullness and glitz of a ballgown without the length. That way, you can dance the night away without the worry of stumbling on a long, flowing dress. It's also a great way to show off shapely legs and sparkly shoes. Alfred Angelo's new prom line "Romantic Vampire," inspired by Bella and other characters from the "Twilight" series, offers several cocktail-length options. This black-and- cranberry strapless (style no. 4002) combines sequins, netting and metallic dots and comes in other colors and plus sizes. Find the collection at Alfred Angelo Monroeville Signature Store, 4041 William Penn Highway.
Prom can be pricey, but you don't have to dip into your college fund to party in style. Here are some ways you can save:
Swap styles: Have a friend with a similar figure who has already graduated or attends a different school? See if she has a gown she'll let you borrow or buy. It may be old to her, but it will be new to your circle of friends.
Don't rule out renting: Websites, such as www.RentTheRunway.com, make it possible to look red carpet-ready without spending like a celeb. Rental sites loan designer gowns at a fraction of their retail price. Rent The Runway also ships dresses in two sizes to help ensure a good fit and has stylists on-call six days a week via phone, email and live online chat to assist with building an ensemble.
Skip the salon: A professional up-do and mani-pedi can easily cost $100 or more. Instead, hold a pre-prom party at home where girlfriends can help each other get styled for their big night. Browse magazines or even YouTube for DIY hairstyle tutorials and ideas, such as a chic bun or cascading curls. At-home no-polish nail kits (Kiss Nail Dress fashion strips, imPress press-on manicure and Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish strips are a few examples) come in dozens of solid colors and designs, such as animal prints and geometrics, and take little time and skill to apply.
Invest in timeless shoes and accessories: Before opting for that pair of $70 floral platform wedges that perfectly match the print of your prom dress (and probably little else), consider evening shoes in neutrals -- black, gold, silver, nude or even clear -- that have a greater likelihood of coordinating with future formal wear. Same goes for accessories and clutches: Silver, gold or black pieces dusted with rhinestones will likely get more wear for dances to come than those with bold colors or patterns.
Split the costs: For many, prom isn't complete without a stretch limo, dinner and a game or two of bowling to cap off the night. Prevent the fun from becoming one person's financial burden by divvying up the expenses among a group of friends or with a couple.
Splurge with sense: Although it's important to spend smartly, it is prom night! Live a little! In the weeks leading up to the event, put aside some extra money devoted to the dance. That way, you can get that spray tan or package of prom photos without the guilt.
You've secured a date and a ticket; now it's time to plan. Organization is key to making sure you don't end up like Cinderella -- out of time and missing a shoe.
Find a dress: What color? Long or short? Strapless or halter? New or borrowed? There's so much to consider before selecting a dress. Skim the Web and newsstands for the latest trends, or download one of many available prom apps that spotlight some of this year's top looks. When dress shopping, take along an honest yet supportive friend or family member to offer constructive feedback.
Set up appointments: Prom season is a busy time for salons, so save your spot early. (For hair, if you want to do a practice style before prom day, set up an appointment for that, too.) Keep time in mind when scheduling. Nail appointments shouldn't be too many days in advance of the dance or the polish could be chipped by prom night, and hair should be done the day of the dance but with enough time left for getting dressed and applying makeup.
Spiff up your smile: Gussy up your grin with whitening strips or toothpaste. Many whitening products available at most drugstores claim to noticeably brighten teeth in just two weeks.
Hit the gym: Build up your stamina for a night of dancing by squeezing in a few extra hours of physical activity, such as jogging or a Zumba class.
Accessorize: No dress is complete without jewelry, a purse and shoes. Keep a fabric swatch handy from the dress or take a picture of it on your cellphone so you can refer to it while picking pieces to finish the ensemble.
Test a tan: Give skin a sun-kissed glow with a sunless tanner. But don't wait until the last minute to lather it on. Help prevent streaking -- and the shock of an unwanted orange radiance -- by cleansing skin with a loofah and body wash with exfoliating beads, applying a thin layer every few days or as instructed.
Coordinate on Facebook: Don't play phone tag with the group of friends riding, dining and partying with you on prom night. Create a Facebook page to keep everyone in the know about dinner reservations, post-prom plans and where and when to meet before heading to the dance.
Plan ahead for homework: Got a big test coming up? How about a research paper? You probably won't feel much like studying the weekend of prom. If you know about an assignment in advance, get started on it early so you can spend less time hitting the books and more time hitting the dance floor.
Rest up: High school is busy enough, then add party planning to the mix. Try to sneak in a nap after school or go to bed an hour earlier for a few days to gear up for missed sleep during prom weekend.
@Friends, #Prom2012 is almost here: Can't contain your last-minute excitement? Take to Twitter to share it with friends. Tag tweets with a unique hashtag you create and swap in advance so you'll be sure not to miss your BFF's TwitPic of her fab hairstyle or your BF's news that he picked up the flowers and is on his way.
Charge the cell: A night of tweeting, texting and snapping photos awaits and will surely run down phone batteries about as quickly as 2-inch stilettos will tire out pretty pedicured feet. Make sure cells are fully charged before heading out, because there probably won't be an outlet around to refuel during the night.
Take in the moment: Prom is one of those occasions that takes longer to prepare for than it does to experience. Pause and take it all in -- and have fun!
First Published March 27, 2012 12:00 am