Fashion: Prom party lessons for a life of style

Strapless jacquard dress, was �70, now �40, at Miss Selfridge.
Strapless jacquard dress, was �70, now �40, at Miss Selfridge.
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It’s time to say a fond farewell to teachers and fellow students. Katie Elsworth has advice on how to bow out looking fabulous.

School’s out for summer, the exams are over and it’s party time. Prom season is here, the first time most youngsters experience the delights of formal dressing. So it’s time to find the perfect ensemble to dazzle and impress at the most popular summer events. Part – and for some, most – of the fun lies in the effort and choice that goes into finding the high society party look that will see you through memorable formal celebrations.

Toby Huntington-Whiteley wears slim suit jacket, �65; trousers, �35; shirt. �35; pocket squate, �10; bow tie. �8. All from River Island.
 Ian West/PA Wire

Toby Huntington-Whiteley wears slim suit jacket, �65; trousers, �35; shirt. �35; pocket squate, �10; bow tie. �8. All from River Island. Ian West/PA Wire

The High Street now boasts a diverse range of options for those looking to dance the night away, whether you’re a classic Fifties’ gown-wearer, a short, sassy dress-wearer or an alternative, modern, two-piece wearer. The options are endless. Clutches, heels and gowns, all to choose.

For men too, formal wear can be so much more than just a suit. First, choose your material. Are you going for matte subtle texture? Or a dare-ish silk number? Don’t limit yourself to just one texture, but be brave and mix it up to create a unique ensemble. Black is the classic, safe shade, guaranteed to make you look dapper, but if you’re looking to stand out, go for charcoal and navy tones to take a step out from the crowd. Confidence in your shade is key, so be sure you feel comfortable in what you choose.

Accessories are the tricky choice. Tie, cravat or bow-tie, the decision can make or break an outfit. For a modern twist, choose a contrasting cravat, subtly hinting at vintage style which is still proving to be popular throughout spring/summer collections. Or fix up and look sharp with a bow tie, an instant classic, creating a romantic image ideal for prom events.

The options are endless for the girls, although this doesn’t make it any less of a nightmare trying to find an outfit that will not only make you feel comfortable and look flawless but also be different from what anyone else is wearing. Take your time in making choices and enjoy browsing and trying on. You may only get one prom.

Ayanna maxi dress, �169, at Monsoon.

Ayanna maxi dress, �169, at Monsoon.

If you opt for a classic look, take inspiration from red-carpet pictures of your favourite film and TV stars to see how to bring a long gown into a modern day scene.

Spice up the classic silhouette with Bardot sleeves to inject a contemporary and on-trend uplift. Updos are ideal for this style choice, and accentuate your gown decision. Take care also to make the correct hair and make-up choices, so as to not overdo the look. Again, flick through magazines and go online to see what might work for you.

Heels are a must for a formal ensemble, but don’t let your dancing be hindered with foot pain. If you opt for a chunky heel for comfort, you can still hit style points by looking for ones that glitter and sparkle – perfect for modern-day Cinderellas.

The new alternative prom outfit choice is one straight out of Kylie Jenner’s wardrobe – the two-piece. A cropped, detailed blouse matched with either a skirt, trousers, or culottes are a great way of drifting away from the conventional prom ideal. It really gives a lot of room to experiment with hair and make-up, so consider this option if you have confidence in your look and want to stand out from the crowd.

Actor Asa Butterfield gives an alternative prom look for the boys.

 Ian West/PA Wire

Actor Asa Butterfield gives an alternative prom look for the boys. Ian West/PA Wire

Make-up will complete the ensemble, but subtlety is key. Attention should stay on the outfit itself and too much make-up will confuse the eye. Stay natural with a flawless base and a pinch of highlighter. Flared eyelashes are an instant way to open the eye and use browns to contour the eyelid to do this further. Don’t be afraid to go for a bold lip – the perfect finish to any outfit. Highlight, highlight, highlight. This season’s trend of strobing is still strong, to show off cheek bones, tips of noses, cupid’s bow, and brow bones with highlighting powder or liquids to create a glowing. dewy look. You only prom once, or twice.

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