High Schools across the country are preparing for prom season by instituting dress codes for prom night. The consensus seems to be that the administration does not want you showing up half naked, rocking a dress that shows more skin than it has fabric, or generally looking like any of your favorite celebrities.


The violations cited at schools include dress length, cleavage exposure, a “no-cutout” rule, and even “cosmetic contact lenses of a color not natural to a person, or patterned lenses (unless prescribed by a doctor).” The Wall Street Journal explains that the rules are aimed at young women because that is who is so eager to emulate celebrities and how they dress, and the stores are supporting them in doing so.

The trend toward revealing prom dresses comes straight from Hollywood, says Catherine Moellering, executive vice president of trend-spotting firm Tobe. Teen girls notice Jennifer Lopez’s skintight dress at the Academy Awards, the barely-there costumes on TV hit “Dancing With the Stars” and the Real Housewives’ revealing wardrobes.

Retailers notice, too, and meet demand by offering both ball gowns and sleeker styles. At retail chain David’s Bridal, a category called “Sexy,” including dresses with cutouts and low backs, is making up roughly 35% of prom dress sales so far this year, says Marissa Rubinetti, senior buyer for special-occasion dresses. 

Try to think back to your high school prom and how important it was for your dress and hair and makeup to be “just so.” While many of us kept it traditional because we had mothers who wouldn’t let us out of the house without what they deemed too much skin showing, and others of us had free reign to get a little racy, I certainly do not remember a category at David’s Bridal called “Sexy,” when I bought my junior prom dress there. I’m not convinced that it’s the Real Housewives who are influencing prom dress trends, but it does sound like some of this so-called formal wear could stand to be put in check.

What do you think? Did you wear a racy prom dress? Would you let your daughter wear one? 

Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter
  • Bridget

    Not only is cracking down fair, it’s necessary. Evidently the parents of some of these girls are not going to say anything. Modesty is still a virtue.

  • E.M.S.

    My prom dresses were appropriate, and I would expect my daughter’s to be the same. You can be beautiful on that special night without showing the whole place your goodies. You shouldn’t be showing all that skin at a school function.

    At my sister’s prom there were multiple girls who were turned away because their dresses were too revealing. I think the school should enforce a dress code ahead of time so these girls know what they can and cannot get away with. I’d rather know in advance than get to the door & not be allowed in!

  • Jaznea Brumfield

    My prom was 2011 and it was very classy but the the things people were wearing shocked me. So much skin and tight dresses our theme was Hollywood not Slutywood but I guess teens don’t care how much they are showing they believe the more that is out the more he likes you maybe? I have no idea I am a young teen but I was raised to act like lady so I rule myself out of the category to want to be naked at my prom. Prom is almost like a wedding a sophisticated event. So yes they should enforce these rules.