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Getting ready to get down at the prom.

Prom Gowns For Her

For high school juniors and seniors all around the country, prom is the most anticipated social event of the year, and it is also the biggest shopping season of the year.

The typical teen, experts say, could spend in excess of $1,000 for the prom ticket, limo rental, photos, corsage, spectacular one-of-a-kind dress and matching garter belt, tuxedo rental (or purchase) personal grooming and, of course, the after-prom celebration which typically caps off the evening.

In some circles, the planning for prom goes into effect an entire year before the event, and for many Sisters, the planning is all about the dress.

Some silver-spoon teens commission their favorite dressmaker to duplicate a sensational gown that they've seen on the award shows; others work summer or after-school jobs to purchase a very expensive designer gown and still others--typically the honor students--just flash those all-A report cards and their parents or grandparents will foot the bill.

But before they stitch or buy anything, they need to know the rules, warns Linda Spight, principal of the Mumford High School in Detroit.

"We go over prom attire guidelines in our senior meetings because we know that girls are looking for dresses earlier and earlier," says Principal Spight. "We do not want them to purchase a gown that would be inappropriate. And we do let them know that we reserve the right to turn away anyone who we feel is not dressed appropriately."

At Kenwood Academy in Chicago, educator Ramona Fannings, the senior class sponsor, conducts prom etiquette classes so that seniors will not be confused about the rules.

"We have etiquette shows and fashion shows to encourage students to look their best," Fannings says, adding that the trend this year for teen girls is elegance thanks to the parade of fabulous gowns worn by singers such as Beyonce and Ashanti.


When choosing your gown, think pink this prom season. Trendspotters say the soft hue is versatile ranging from baby pink (read: innocence) to salmon (read: glamour) to hot pink or fuchsia, which is definitely diva territory. Stylists are also raving about pumpkin and tangerine hues.


Old-school glamour reigns supreme; tiaras, scepters, long satin gloves and spectacular beaded purses are in this year.


Detroit's Principal Spight says that no matter what school you attend, universally, certain dress designs will get you kicked out of your own prom.

"No navels showing. No excessive skin in terms of too much cleavage," she warns. "The split must not be too high; and the dress must not be so sheer that your undergarments are visible." Chicago educator Ramona Fannings says she's not too worried about raciness at prom this year.

"I've seen a great deal of change in that the girls are starting to realize that less isn't necessarily more," Fannings says. "They are not showing as much skin, and this year they want to be very elegant."

Man style

Prom Attire For Him

No matter who you are honor student, jock, class president or class clown--on prom night, you're the man. And you've got to show the world that you can indeed dress to thrill.

This prom season individuality is key, and the most unusual fashion plates--i.e., the unconventional hip-hop group OutKast-have paved the way for many young Brothers to bypass the traditional black cummerbund, and instead, wear bold, bright colors to complement their dates from head to toe.

In Atlanta, John Chandler, senior class coordinator/educator at Benjamin Mays High School, says that many seniors are pulling all the stops for this year's prom.

"They like the long, zoot suit coat and the derby or bowler hats and canes," he says. "You don't see the traditional satinlapel tuxedo too much, and nobody wears tails; that's a little bit too formal."

As with the female students, male students are typically given a rundown on what they'd better not wear to prom; it is, after all, a formal event.

"We always have a meeting with the seniors and tell them what we expect and what we won't tolerate," Chandler says. "But we usually don't have any problems with the guys unless they have on street clothes, and I've only seen that once."


Trendspotters predict that you will see a sea of white tuxedos this prom season. "Young men will be wearing more white tuxedos and more color, thanks to OutKast, and Sean (P. Diddy) Combs" says Ramona Farmings. "They want to match their dates to perfection."


Hats and walking sticks are on the hot list this season. Gingiss sells top and bowler hats, and quality, fashionable hats can also be found at upscale men's wear stores such as Stacy Adams ( Some prom-goers choose to top off their look with a decorative walking stick.


You only have one chance to make your mark as a stellar standout on this starry night, so don't blow it by dressing down. At virtually every high school on the planet, casual wear is NOT allowed, says John Chandler.

"Do not wear a baseball cap or tennis shoes with a tuxedo or any suit," he warns. "Don't wear a sports jersey with a tuxedo, don't wear anything that's mixing formalwear with casualwear."

Individuality is always a good thing when choosing your style. But keep in mind that prom is a black-tie event; so don't allow your sense of Style to get you stopped at the door, or even worse, get you a guest spot on the various Internet lists of outrageous prom gear.

The First Step Is Good Grooming

The first step to a big night out for teenagers or fathers of teenagers is good gooming. In recent years, manufacturers have created a number of new products, some of them designed especially for Brothers. And manufacturers and fashion experts say that the first rule of a big night is to ensure that the Brother in the suit is all that he can be.

This means, among other things, that Brothers, young and old, should spend some serious time before a mirror before they leave the house. If they are tending a beard, a mustache or a bald head, they should investigate the new blades and shaving preparations that make shaving as effortless and comfortable as possible. All experts say this ritual should begin with a preliminary prepping of the skin areas affected, using such essentials as a hot towel and shaving cream.

After shaving with a new blade, you should pamper the skin with a soothing after-shave lotion. And don't leave the house without adding a touch of a manly fragrance (if the after-shave lotion is fragrance-free). Women crave and rave about a clean-shaven man.

EBONY Celebrity Beauty Of The Month

Though Camille Winbush plays the ever-sassy "Vanessa" on the hit Fox comedy The Bernie Mac Show, she likes her makeup nice and sweet. "I don't like to wear a lot of makeup because it makes my face feel heavy" she says. When she does embellish her youthful look, Camille prefers soft gold tones on her eyes and lip glosses with glitter. The 14-year-old actress is blessed with healthy, clear skin. "But to help things along," she says, "I drink a lot of water and wash my face twice daily" Camille also avoids too many sweets and acidic beverages.

For a sweet, fresh look that Camille prefers, try Fashion Fair's new Color Cubes and Sephora's Round-A-Pout Fling.
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Title Annotation:Beauty & Style
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2004
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