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Problematic Prom Dresses

No longer trusting parents (or students) to use their judgment when gown shopping, some schools have instilled a prom dress code.

Like thousands of other high school juniors and seniors, my daughter is in full prom mode. It’s one of those rites of passage–an opportunity to wear a formal gown and splurge on hair, make-up, nails and, for some girls, a fake tan.

We took an entire day during vacation to go prom gown shopping; my daughter had spent considerable time online getting ideas of what she liked and where we could find dresses. The first store was an eye-opener for me; some of the dresses were unbelievably skimpy and provocative. Some people would label them 'sexy,' I prefer the word 'sleazy.'

As Amy was trying on dresses, I found it hard not to watch what some other girls were wearing. They were low cut, some had no back and the fabric was skimming their butt cheeks. Cut outs are a big trend so you get to expose flesh along your mid-section.

Then, to my horror, one girl came out wearing what I can only describe as a bra attached to a skirt with a beaded string. The girl was thrilled, she was clapping her hands together saying, “This is the one!” and her mom just nodded agreement. If that was my kid, she would have been ordered back into the fitting room to take it off.

The too-sexy gowns have become a real problem in some school districts–such as Southington and Danbury–and some principals are taking a drastic step–they have created a prom dress code, complete with photos of acceptable and unacceptable dresses. They don’t expect the kids to dress like nuns, but they will refuse entry to girls showing too much skin, front, back or side.

The Today Show ran a segment about the dress codes on Saturday morning and one mom explained that she thought it was a great idea because they can now refuse to buy those kinds of dresses and use the school as the reason.

That’s my issue with the dress codes. Maybe if more parents told their kids no, they would not have to hide behind the school. What message are we sending our 16-, 17- and 18-year-old girls if we let them dress in an overtly sexy manner? I know they are bombarded with images of celebrities wearing sexy gowns on the red carpet, but as adults, we know that these celebrities are selling something; a movie, an album or a reality show. Dressing this way makes sure they get attention. Do you want your child talked about because of how much skin they were showing?

Kris Smith April 03, 2012 at 07:29 PM
My daughter is now almost 21 years old...both her proms she wore what most would consider conservative dresses compared to what they had out there. More parents have to learn the word NO when it comes to the kids clothing...not just prom dresses but clothing in general. I whole-heartedly agree that there should be some type of dress code for prom and for every day wear as well. As the weather gets warmer the clothing get skimpier.
Sierra Mead April 03, 2012 at 08:43 PM
The sad thing is it's hard for girls to even find dresses that are pretty and still modest. Here are two great sites: www.twirlprom.com and www.laurenjamesbridal.com
Doreen Currie April 03, 2012 at 09:17 PM
In all of the stores we looked, the majority of dresses would not pass the dress codes above, however there were stylish, pretty dresses. It's really what Kris said, parents have to learn the word "no".
Stacy April 04, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I totally agree with you Doreen. My husband and I watched a news segment on this and couldn't believe what some of the dresses looked like. Granted our daughter has a long way to go before her first prom but let me tell you I won't hide behind anyone or anything, my daughter will get a big fat NO if she ever trys to wear something like that. Not to get away from prom dresses but another sad fact is that some stores offer clothing that is way to adult and sexy looking and it is geared towards toddlers and young girls.

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