“Life is a party, dress like it” – Audrey Hepburn.
I am sure you are aware, it is currently prom season here in the UK. Therefore, all those who have finished their GCSE’s at secondary school are awarded a one-night event where they can dress in suits and elegant dresses. Additionally, participants will hire limos and sports cars for their arrival at the venue and spend a fortune on makeup and accessories!
Where did prom originate from? Prom originally began in America in the 1800’s as a semi-informal dance at the end of high school for its students. Originally the ‘prom’ was known as a dance but has now become so much more.
Today, prom is treated as a milestone in life and therefore, it is heavily documented like a wedding day. Other regions around the globe slowly began to hold similar events including much of Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Each country holds the event slightly differently, and will refer to the occasion as a “ball”, “school formal”, or simply “prom”. Nonetheless, the term “prom” has become ever increasingly popular in the UK and Canada due to American films and TV shows such as; Hannah Montana, Glee and High School Musical.
Most secondary schools across England and Wales now host a prom at the end of the five-year period of compulsory education which usually involves the hiring of a hotel or extravagant function room to hold the occasion. As you may have guessed, the event is not cheap. In fact, the parents of teenagers often spend up to £500 on their sons and daughters for just one night!
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What is Prom like today in the UK? As mentioned, prom has become a very popular occasion in the UK in which the final year students of secondary school spend lots of time planning and preparing for the evening. Besides dancing, prom includes a sit down three-course meal and an awards ceremony.
Last week, my younger sister had her school prom which I couldn’t help but notice was so different to mine only just five years ago, but why? I felt that my sister and her friends put a lot more time and effort into their prom preparation as you will soon see…
My sister spent the whole day getting ready for the event, and even the few days before in the lead up to the day. My sister wanted every detail to be perfect for prom so her checklist was huge ranging from finding the ‘perfect’ dress to getting the correct tan shade. I felt like her personal assistant taking her from one appointment to the next, but it was lovely to be part of her special day. I’d be here forever if went into every detail, but let’s just say she looked beautiful when she was ready!
My sister; Milly had decided on a grey/silver theme when she chose her dress. The dress picking may have been the hardest part as she tried on hundreds of dresses in many different styles and colours before finding the right one. Once she had decided on her dress, it was time to find a coordinating pair of heels and a clutch bag. My sister is quite tall so she did not want any six-inch heels as she would have towered over her friends therefore, she wanted something with a small heel so she did not feel left out. She chose a pair of metallic silver heels from Kurt Geiger and a sequined clutch bag. Furthermore, to complement her look she had her makeup done including semi-permanent false eyelashes, hair styled, a spray tan and painted nails and toes. To finish her overall look, she added a pair of my late nana’s earrings.
On the day, my sister was so excited as she could not wait to see all her friends. As there was such a big group of them, they decided to hire a red double decker bus to travel to the venue in. This was such a good idea as it meant they could all stay together. My sister like most of her friends wanted lots of pictures to remember the night, so I took plenty! They all had a fabulous night which was nice considering all the effort which had gone into the event especially the dresses, which were amazing!
What was it like 5 years ago? For me, my prom seemed so different! When it came to dress selecting I was not sure on what I wanted, I’m quite short so I opted for a short length dress and higher heels. I also went for a silver dress however, mine had a black lace detail as opposed to the glitter and sequins my sister had. I had my hair curled and pinned up and I was not fussed about having a tan or any makeup on, although I did have my nails done. At the time, I did not wear makeup to school so I was not really fussed about wearing any. This was also apparent within my friendship group as only a few had spray tans and we all wore minimal makeup. My friends and I booked a classic black stretched limo to arrive in as there was just six of us. If I could do prom again, I would do EVERYTHING different, although at the time it was exactly what I had wanted.
Overall, I feel that prom is taken way more seriously today than it was just five years ago. Sixteen-year-old girls tend to wear far more makeup than my friends and I ever did. At my prom, I was not fussed about having hundreds of photos because I just wanted to enjoy the night with my friends, something which was also very different at this year’s prom.
What does the future hold? Considering the changes in the last five years, I wonder what prom will be like in the future. One hundred years from now prom may be far beyond what the occasion is today. Studies have suggested that parents are prepared to spend more on their children in creating their prom look than ever before. Considering that prom began as a small dance where students would dress-up to celebrate the end of education, today appears very different. Young girls are now seen to be competing with one another for the best dress or finest sports car to arrive in, which is not what prom was ever about. Appearance has been taken to another level with girls paying up to £100 just for an application of makeup! One major concern is that prom should not be viewed as a rivalry to secure awards such as “prom queen” and “prom king” but should focus on a celebration amongst friends for finishing school.
So, what are the top 5 things to consider for prom?
1) Time and organisation – Ensure you have enough time to sort out every detail. Book all your appointments in advance to avoid disappointment!
2) Outfit – shop around to make sure you pick the one which is best for you and not what your mum likes best or your friends have chosen! Do not hesitate to try on a range of styles and colours, as often clothes look better once you have tried them on. Also, you may be surprised by certain colours which compliment your skin tone and figure.
3) Accessories – this includes your jewellery, clutch and heels. I suggest you find your outfit first before worrying about the accessories. When it comes to purchasing accessories don’t go overboard sometimes the simplest of items will allow more attention to be placed upon your dress.
4) Makeup and hairstyle – you may decide to look natural or you may want to go all out (it is a once in a lifetime event after all), either way, consider many styles and looks on the internet before your appointment and perhaps consider getting a trial to guarantee you like the look you have chosen.
5) Arrival – you will need to choose what type of vehicle you want to arrive in, but make sure you reserve it soon before they are fully booked. Most people decide to stick with their friends for prom which means you can hire a limo and it will not be expensive to split the cost between you. However, perhaps you would want to try something different like a sports car or even a tractor (as I saw someone arrive in this year).
Is it your prom soon? or can you remember your school prom just a few years ago? Either way, you’ll know the significance of the event and how important the day has become.
Until next time,