The Story Behind the Prom Dress

Prom…the classic American rite of passage for all students from all walks of life. But when it start? How? Why?


Prom was inspired by events that formally debuts teenagers from wealthy and prestigious families. One of the founding functions of Prom was to bring people from all financial standings and heritages, together.

Prom started in the 1920’s in the United States. It is derived from the French word “promenade” which means walk or stroll. Dancing, when unmarried, was considered a “no-no” in the early 20th century, so girls would take short (and chaperoned) promenades around the block with their dates. Typically, young ladies, did not buy a gown, but chose to wear their “Sunday Best”.

By the 1930’s Prom was common in most schools, taking no more than 4 weeks to plan. Yearbooks start covering the Prom.

1930's prom dress

The 1950’s introduced the infamous titles “Prom King & Queen” usually going to the best dressed and best looking couple.

1950's prom

In the 1960’s and ’70’s selecting popular song titles as themes for prom began, as well as corsages, limousines and photographs.

1970's Prom

Fast forward to present day…

Boys where black tie attire, often with brightly colored vests or ties that match their dates. Traditionally, girls give their dates boutonnieres to be worn on their jackets.  Girls wear formal gowns, and a corsage on their wrist given to them by their dates.  High schools typically rent out a convention center, ballrooms, school gyms, or cruise boats to host prom. A decorating committee, usually consisting of junior year(11th grade) students. The music played at the dance portion, is normally the genre most popular with the attendees. As for styles that are popular these days, you are sure to find the perfect trendy dress at A Finer Moment!




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