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Vintage Prom Dresses

April 20, 2015

The word “prom” often reminds me of sickly colours and cheap dresses with silly smiles and silly shoes. We had the high school films and those cheesy love stories along with the awful vintage prom dresses, and it just seemed like something they did “over there” in America.


It was an American “thing.”Until it became a British thing.Whether it’s big hair and big dresses and poorly fitted tuxedos at the prom, the British have embraced it. It’s now the highlight of every final year at school.

Prom dresses vintage style

But vintage prom dresses are nowhere near as awful as you might imagine. They can be quite special and they’re so feminine. A vintage prom dress is a real treat and a refreshing change from skinnies and strappy vests.Are you in love with the idea of a prom dress?….take a look at how it started…

Debutantes and royalty

Did it really originate in America? It was the debutante ball in England where the great and the good of the upper classes who celebrated the arrival of the “season,” when the prom dress was first seen.


Here, young debutantes would officially enter society and always in the presence of royalty. During the mid-eighties royalty stopped attending the balls, however, this didn’t stop them from happening.


The Fifties brought the prom dress and Elizabeth Taylor’s gown in A Place in the Sun designed by Edith Head, inspiring the debutante prom dress to greater heights of sophistication.


The American high school prom became the highlight of the end of school year, with a vintage prom dress consisting of bell skirts and tight bodices as the youth culture became more prevalent and dance halls were the place to be at the end of your high school life.


Sixth formers in the UK have now embraced the prom or high school dance – it’s a time for dressing up, getting drunk and riding high in a limousine. A time for mixing with your peers, who’ll in all likelihood you won’t see again, seeing if you can hold your drink and experimenting with make-up if you’re a girl.

Vintage Prom Dresses - Satin bodice with full skirt

Satin bodice with full skirt

The prom dress has come a long way.

If you’re going somewhere that sounds vaguely like a prom or high school dance, or you simply want to wear a prom dress simply because you like them, then you may be on the prowl for vintage prom dresses.


There’s a lot to love, the design, the shape, the colours and if you’re after a traditional one then there are some great, original, authentic 1950s vintage prom dresses out there, you just have to be a little discerning when you buy.

Semantics – retro, vintage Prom Dresses

Something that’s evocative of a period and something that’s genuinely from that period are two entirely different things.


If you see the word retro it usually means –Imitative of a style or fashion from the recent past.That’s fine if you want a prom dress that’s in the style of the 50s, but otherwise a brand new garment.


If, however, you want the real McCoy,authentic 1950s vintage prom dresses, then you’ll need to understand the difference.Also keep in mind that sizes have changed over the past 60 years and a size 14 now is a different animal from the heady days of the 1950s, so be careful when you’re looking at dress sizes.

Classic shape, design and colour

1950s vintage prom dresses usually have a classic design, a wide bell skirt and a tight upper bodice with spaghetti straps, or thick straps across the top of the shoulders.


They also come with a strapless bandeau top, which is great if you want to show off some well-shaped shoulder blades.


Colours from the 1950s are vivid and deliciously bright and the fabric used is voluptuous and vibrant. The carefully placed darts and the detailed underskirts make wearing original vintage prom dresses an absolute delight.


Shop well and shop carefully for your Vintage Prom Dresses and enjoy the experience. Mix and match with good quality accessories either from the period or more contemporary pieces, if you prefer. Choose either knee-length or floor length according to preference and what looks best for your height and shape.And enjoy the party.


Edith Head’s dress for Elizabeth Taylor in the film A Place in the Sun

The 1960s vintage Prom Dresses and the atmosphere

The prom – this is how they used to do it.

Elizabeth Taylor – A place in the Sun and that dress by Edith Head

50s Bell skirt and strapless bodice