Prom Dresses Evolve Through the Years

By: Aniela Gesing

Attending prom has been a tradition since the early 1800s, according to . Trends for prom dresses come and go. However, for women, finding the most beautiful and unique dress that fits the wearer’s personality has been around for centuries. It is not uncommon for those who have attended their prom to save their dress as a keepsake for years to come.

In the 1950s, prom dresses were cinched at the waist and had a full and fluffy skirt with a lot of body. The fluffy skirt trend disappeared in the 1960s and the focus was on lace bodices and silky and form-fitting skirts. Prom dresses in the 1970s consisted of more light and flowing fabric with small flower print and small strings for ties. There was a break-through for silk, ruffles, and off the shoulder bodices in the 1980s, making this the year of the most dramatic dresses. Many styles had extravagant ruffles that fell off the shoulder or sat at the waistline of dresses. Metallic-looking fabric was also popular for women in the 1980s. Silk, spaghetti straps, and velvet took the stage during the 1990s and the shape of dresses became more fitted. Many girls wore simple and tighter fighting dresses to dance the night away. In 2010, sequins and neon colors were the style. Many dress bodices were decorated with rhinestone and had long and lightweight skirts. The present style for prom dresses consists of low-neck lines and fitted skirts. Two-piece dresses are also in style for 2019, which is a nod to some popular styles from the 1990s.

While researching the past decades of prom dress styles, The Squire sat down to interview Jennifer Gesing, mother of Eisenhower senior, Aniela Gesing, about her prom dresses. Mrs. Gesing stated that she attended prom in the years 1988 and 1989. Mrs. Gesing wore a cream colored dress her junior year because she liked it and chose to wear a red dress her senior year to be a rebel. Gunne Sax was a very popular dress brand in the 1980s, much like Sherri Hill is for girls today, and was the style that many girls favored. Gunne Sax dresses were frilly and dramatic looking. For our readers who might not be familiar with the style, the mean girls in the 1980s classic movie, Pretty and Pink, are wearing dresses that look similar to the Gunne Sax dresses. When The Squire asked Mrs. Gesing if she kept her prom dress, she shared that she kept it for about ten years and then finally donated them to Goodwill. Mrs. Gesing also stated, “In my era, the hair was just as important as the dress. The bigger the better!” The Squire would like to thank Mrs. Gesing for sharing about her years of prom!

Altogether, the evolution of prom dresses is endless. Girls for years to come will continue setting new trends and wowing the crowd at their dances. The most important thing is that you get the dress that speaks to you and dance the night away, feeling like a queen.

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