Can You Wear Short Dresses to Prom?

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Rihanna sports a short dress to the Empire State Building in New York City.
Rihanna sports a short dress to the Empire State Building in New York City. (Image: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Be as beautiful as possible on prom night by wearing a dress that makes you feel incredible, even if it's not the conventional choice. Sure, a long, flowing gown is the traditional look but achieving prom-ready style is just as possible when sporting a shorter cocktail dress. Don't worry about the hemline -- it's simply a matter of choosing a knockout dress and styling it just right.

Keep It Classic

Keep your accessories pared down, classic and either neutral or in the same tone as your dress. If you're unsure, reach for the always appropriate black clutch and black pumps or high-heel sandals, or add a touch of shine with a silver sequined minaudiere and sparkly stud earrings. Finish the look with a sleek, simple hairstyle such as an elegant chignon or a slicked-back ponytail. Understated elegance is the name of the game.

LBD Luxury

In addition to its wide array of other uses, the little black dress is an ideal choice for prom. From a simple sheath with three-quarter sleeves to an Empire waist dress with a lace overlay bodice and layered tulle skirt, almost any black cocktail dress will work. Go for dramatic eye makeup to enhance your ensemble. Select one feature, lips or eyes, to enhance. For a glamorous look try a smokey or classic cat eye, or reach for a bold red or wine colored lipstick. A fancy updo or romantic braided style will complete the overall effect.

Formal Flapper

Take a cue from fashion (and give a nod to history) by pulling inspiration from the roaring '20s with a flapper-inspired dress. For a modern take on the flapper look, opt for a simple sleeveless shift dress in a neutral color -- think black or cream -- with allover sequin or rhinestone detailing. Or, if you're looking for some extra adornment, grab a sleeveless dress with a drop-waist and fringe detailing along the skirt.

Dynamic Dimensions

Since you're going short with your hemline, add dimensional interest in other areas. For example, look for a dress with a high neckline. Imagine a sleeveless dress with a fit-and-flare silhouette and a stand collar. Keep your look young and fresh by choosing a dress with a lacy or partially sheer bodice or a flirty, bold color. Or, look for a sleeveless mini dress in a solid color with a peplum-detailed waistline for an added kick of femininity.

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