It’s the biggest event in your events calendar. The chance to say goodbye to your school years and say hello to the next chapter. There are lots to prepare for. First, there’s hair, make-up, nails, stylish transport and most importantly…the dress.
Finding your prom dress is probably the most stressful thing you’re ever going to experience and as some of us here at Fashion North can tell you it’s really worth the hunt.
To make things a little easier we visited The Intu Metrocentre in Gateshead to ask the top retailers their advice on how to find the perfect prom dress.
First on our list was Paris, the perfect destination for prom dresses and accessories. The windows of the store are decorated with the finest glitz and glam dresses.
We caught up with the owner, Pamela Jewitt and the Metrocentre’s stylist, Michaela Dale for their prom dress advice.
Pamela said: “[Proms] have become more important to people nowadays, they see the people on the television, on catwalks, celebrities at award ceremonies and they think I want to look like that.”
Proms have taken on an almighty role within British popular culture, as a tradition once originating from America.
Michaela said: “There is definitely a bigger budget than there used to be to spend on the dresses.”
For many girls, their prom has been planned to perfection years in advance.
Pamela said: “We have ladies come in and say ‘my daughters prom is in three years time and we’re saving up for it now.’ A lot of the grandmothers and grandfathers pay for the dresses and they say ‘when it comes to prom I’ll buy you your dress.’ By the time they’ve come to get the prom dress, we know them!”
We are always surprised at how big proms have become possibly because of shows like TOWIE and the outfits worn by the cast to various glamorous events. Pamela said: “TOWIE has changed the world basically. The girls come in sometimes with a picture and you know that’s not going to suit them, what you have to do it nurture them into what will suit them and their body shape.”
“I try to get inside their minds and imagine what they are trying to create. Whereas High Street shops that’s it, take it or leave it, it’s very limited. Very understated, at a very cheap price and sometimes very expensive.”
Pamela and her team are dedicated to creating a personal experience for her shoppers. She even has a recorded list of names of girls and the schools and which dress they are wearing, to stop the un-imaginable happening, of another girl turning up in the same dress as you.
She said: “We ask what school they are at and we look at the list first so there no point you even trying the dress on if someone’s already got it and then there are tears at the counter. That’s no good for me! I say if the girls come into the store they have to come out with a smile on their face or they can’t have the dress!
“I try to get inside their minds and imagine what they are trying to create. Whereas High Street shops that’s it, take it or leave it, it’s very limited. Very understated, at a very cheap price and sometimes very expensive. We do from quite low price to right up to £900 dresses.”
Pamela’s more expensive dresses come with immaculate detailing and embellishments and if they don’t have the size or colour you want they can have it made to your measurements.
For the more unstated and classic look, Paris, also stocks great LBD’s and vintage inspired dresses.“We don’t just do the ‘wowy’ dresses; we do the understated vintage look too which is really on trend at the moment.”
We asked Pamela her advice on how she encourages girls to go outside of their comfort zone. “Always give them the confidence, don’t take it away. That’s one thing that’s really important to me. I say, ‘try it on make your own decisions, because you’re the one wearing it not me.
“It’s nice to bring them out of their comfort zone. Just to have some fun with it. You can say, ‘well just give this a try’ and then you can say ‘do you think you can do better’ there’s lots of techniques you can try.”
Next on our list was Coast, the home to classic evening dresses, based in House Of Fraser. We spoke to Cyndy Smith, sales assistant, at Coast.
She said: “We sell quite a few prom dresses. A lot of customers like the longer ones. We get loads of girls coming in and trying on dresses for their prom. Our best seller has been our Lori Lee. We have it in a longer style as well in candy pink.”
It’s true us girls do like pink. If it’s one thing we’ve noticed it look like pinks bang on trend this season at prom.
OK, so you have the dress sorted? Now what about Accessories? We went the one-stop-shop, Britain’s best accessories retailer, Accessorize. We popped in to ask the experts.
Manager, Angela Coatsworth, said: “For prom it’s all about statement necklaces, as they are absolutely massive at the moment. They complete any outfit. This season in terms of colours it’s all about your pastels and your coral colours.
“Obviously, it depends on what type of prom it is but over the last two years the main accessory has been statement necklaces. The range is between £19-£29 so people are prepared to pay for statement jewellery.”
Well you can’t go wrong with a good old statement necklace; it totally finishes off an outfit giving it the ‘wow’ factor.
Here at FN we are always wondered where stars on the red carpet keep their phones and money as they are rarely seen with a bag at big events
Angela said: “With handbags the most popular for proms are the embellished ones and these nude PVC envelope clutches with the metal strap. People start to go for smaller bags for occasions.”
So there you have it girls, do you feel more relaxed? Follow these rules and you can’t go wrong. Prom is not far off so get searching!