While the dresses change with the decades, prom never goes out of style

by Lourdes Jack, Reporter

As the famous rhyme goes, April showers brings May flowers.  For the month of May, ‘tis the season not only for flowers, but also for the social event of the year, prom. Now  it’s the time when girls can’t find the perfect dress, until they try on the dresses available in the whole store, and guys have to get creative with promposals.

It’s crazy to think that such an important night  that makes senior year worth the struggle, has been going on since the late 1890’s.  Now we don’t wear the plaid style and ruffled shirts of the 70’s, or plaster ourselves with big hair and bright energized makeup of the 80’s, but we do have rap music and some pretty catchy dances. One of them,  the “Cupid Shuffle,” has been played at every single dance since the 8th grade.

In preparation of the night of your life, or in reminder of that night you were young again, I give you a blast from the past.

Prom during the 1970s

From the mini skirts, to the bell bottom jeans, these are the trademarks of the 70s. We know the 70s as the disco era where songs like “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees and “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor blasted through the speakers and patterned suits lined the dance floor.

For high school though, clothes were actually picked for their downtoearth styles.  The tan and green pants seemed to slowly make their way to popularity as did the striped shirts and checkered pattern flannel.  

It should be no shocker that the dresses for Prom during this era were floral and did not show figures as much. Here are a few 70’s prom nights.


PROM during the 1980s

Walking into a room with an explosion of big hair and crazy color schemes can blow anyone back to the future of the 1980s.  Nobody knows style and fashion like 80’s chicks.  These girls have head-banging hair the defies gravity and that also gives them their punk rocker style.  

Anyone who grew up in the 80s knows that being shy just wasn’t an option.  With every clothing store splashed with bright and neon colors, teens dressed to express.  Curly perms and very confident attitudes are part of this era.

Prom in the 80’s was everything from the head-banging punk rock music to the puffy shoulder dresses that were every bright color under the sun. Men wore suits and ties in blue and white because, come on, black is to boring for this era. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper and “Wake Me Up Before You Go” by Wham! pumped through the speakers at this dance.

PROM during the 1990s

Tira Gordon attending 1998 prom with Mike West.

From Justin Timberlake in N’ Sync to the one and only Britney Spears, we can see the 90s are coming back! The go to style was chokers with crop tops and highwaisted pants.  These are a lot of the styles you still see in our fashion trends today.  Leaving the fun colors of the 80s behind the 90s starts a neutral trend that still sweeps the fashion industry in 2017 fashion.

Prom in the 90s consisted of you getting a shimmery dress that when the light reflected on it you became a walking disco ball.  The chunky black or glittery heels were plastered to every girl’s feet and their hair was either curled or braided into knots.  
“Hit Me Baby One More Time” with this flashback prom photo of the 90s

Gordon said, “I know my mom made that dress and with my prom being 20 years ago I really don’t remember anything funny that happened.”

Prom during the 2000

Angela and Justin Smithhisler attending the 2006 prom.

Last, but not certainly not least, our most recent prom goers of the 2000s. The style in the 90s and 2000s have few differences other than new pieces being added.  The striped style of the 70s came back in pants and the 80s fishnet stockings and off the shoulder tops made a quick comeback.  Although they have the same style as the 90s, every high school teen knew about the Cheetah Girls and Destiny’s Child. 

Prom of 2000s was scattered with short dresses to ball gowns.  Pearl beaded chokers to long neutral colored shawls. Spaghetti strap dresses were totally the it factor of the dance and some people were brave enough to give strapless dresses a go.  

“So my people can stay on the floor” here are some dress from 2000s Prom that will make even “Cupid Shuffle.”

“The man pictured is my high school sweetheart and husband, Justin. We started dating in ninth grade and have been together ever since! Also, that year at Prom, my nemesis (his ex-girlfriend) showed up to Prom WEARING THE SAME DRESS AS ME. It’s ironic, no?” said Angela Smithhisler.

Linganore Alumni Prom Dresses

Former editor Olivia Goldstein wrote a story on Linganore Alumni who lent their prom dresses, to the PTA to be showcased on May 16, 2014. The showcase of old dresses was set up by Association President Marty Burdette and Anita Kent.  These throwback dresses were worn anywhere from 1964 to 2011.

These dresses, their Alumni, and the year they worn them were:

  • 1964 (pink) donated by Kaye Horr
  • 1964 (yellow) donated by Kitty Reese
  • 1965 donated by Kitty Reese
  • 1971 (purple and white flowers) donated by Anita Kent
  • 1972 donated by Anita Kent
  • 1987 (white w/pink flowers) donated by Lori Powell Mayhew
  • 1991 (blue) donated by Rhonda Cline Ballard
  • 1991 (black) donated by Kristi Jacobs Woods
  • 1992 (teal w/black overlay) donated by Kristi Jacobs Woods
  • 2010 (purple) donated by Shawna Myers (Reese’s granddaughter)
  • 2011 (red) donated by Samantha Kent