Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Let's Promenade Part Three

by Sew Betty and Dot

Are you ready to dance the night away? Let’s go!

Part One and Part Two took us from the beginning of prom to the 1960s. Today we'll start with the 70s and end up with today's styles.

Enter the 1970s: peasant-style dresses (Young Edwardian, anybody?), ruffled necklines and hems, and prints were popular. Many girls wore their hair long and loose.
And then: Disco! Slinky gowns, halter tops or one-shouldered dresses, and feathered hair were the rage for most…

The 1980s were all about BIG: poufy sleeves, poufy skirts, poufy bows, and poufy hair (teased bangs!). The extravagant wedding dress worn by Princess Diana (designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel) in 1981 influenced formal wear: large sleeves, layers of ruffles, and bows. Satin was a favorite fabric choice, often in bright colors, and shorter dresses with dropped waists and bubble skirts. In my Lexington, Kentucky, high school, Gunne Sax was a popular choice. 
And we’ll stop here on this frock-filled trip down memory lane. Since the 1990s, girls have followed trends but also expressed themselves in tuxedos, vintage dresses, even duct tape dresses. This year, it looks like strapless or one-shouldered column dresses are on trend, and I’m seeing a lot of sweetheart necklines.

Finally, here I am (yikes!) in various dresses for various dances (my high school had a Christmas formal as well as prom). My mom made all of them except for the peach dress—which  was a Gunne Sax, actually, and was repurposed by removing the straps and altering the ruffles for another dance a year or two later. 

Do you have a favorite prom era?


  1. I love your dresses! You look adorable and not at all dated. Girls could easily were those dresses today. Great post. I'm an 80s teenager, my prom dress was all black with a full crinoline skirt and topped off with elbow length black gloves. My hair was perfectly feathered. I looked very dated.

  2. I graduated High School in 1975 and these were the styles I wore too. Though my mother would have had the neckline up to my neck and if she didn't the nuns would have. Ha Ha! Such fun. You look so sweet in those dresses. Check out the car in the background. That would be fun to have now. Thanks for a super series.

  3. I'm an 80s teenager too and this just reminded me of the BIG ruffles and BIG teased bangs I had. I should dig those photos out and give my daughters a laugh.

  4. I graduated in 1980 so your dresses look very familiar! I remember begging my mother to take me to Casual Corner to shop. No deal - if there was something there that you wanted, you saved your money. Mom couldn't supply 3 teenage girls with those clothes!CaChing!!

  5. Loved the article and the photos! I was and 80's teen too. Graduated in 1987. Oh lord! We should all post our prom photos somewhere. It would be awesome to see everyone's styles.

  6. Yes, those dresses are from 1979, 1980, and 1981. I'm not too sure what's going on with my bangs in the black dress image...hmmmm...and wow, I hadn't noticed the ultra-cool car behind me. That was NOT my car; my mom and I shared an Army green Nova. And I'm just noticing the ever-changing but ever-present candle on the coffee table. Funny!