Sunday, May 20, 2012

Prom, the Reprise


How many people get the chance to go to prom with their spouse? Unless you're high school sweethearts, probably not that many. And if you were an ultra-nerd like I was in high school, you didn't even go to prom with a date. That's not to say I didn't have tons of fun at prom, though, as I went with my best girlfriends and had a blast being goofy and ridiculous. But I was still a little too excited when my husband mentioned that there was a prom at the end of the year in business school, of all things. 

Prom wouldn't be complete without photos, and of course we availed ourselves of them.

I had grand plans for making a formal dress for the prom, but in the end decided that if my memories of the dance floor at prom were anywhere near accurate, I didn't want to make something lovely and precious, only to get all sweaty in it while dancing, have people spill drinks nearby, and potentially step on the hem. So I "settled" for wearing one of my favorite thrift store finds ever: a long, slinky, sexy-but-not-too-uncomfortably-revealing-for-my-taste, swishy, bias-cut gown which just happened to fit me perfectly. It was in practically new condition and had only been in the store for half a day, so it didn't even have the questionable thrift store odor, and it was only $15! Gosh, I love thrifting.

My husband went old school with a white-tie-on-black-shirt, which was all the rage when we were in high school. Also, these are actual awkward prom photos, not the fake ones we usually take when we are at weddings!

Back when Charlie's Angels poses were still cool. This scan of a
wallet-sized picture doesn't dojustice to the blinding nature of my dress.
Also, I am wearing clear plastic heels. *facepalm*
This is the dress I wish I had worn to my actual senior prom in high school. Although I really liked my prom dress at the time, that aqua, be-sequined dress (seriously, up close I looked like a mermaid, or possibly a medieval knight, if they wore bright blue chain mail) was a last minute find and really not my style at all. I distinctly remember seeing a girl from my class show up for prom in a long, flowing, backless, cream-colored gown reminiscent of 1930s starlets. She and I both looked totally unlike anyone else at prom (which I'm pretty sure is the goal of prom dress shopping), but hers was classic and gorgeous and mine was a disco ball come to life. That is the first time I remember falling in love with vintage fashion, and here I am more than a decade later, making my own vintage-inspired frocks. I never would have guessed, then, that this is where/who I would be now.

I think I was unconsciously trying to emulate my old classmate's retro glamour as I did my make-up and hair, and even afterward as I PicMonkey-ed the heck out of our pictures. The lighting was pretty atrocious, so we didn't get too many viable shots of the inside of the historic Millenium Biltmore Hotel, which, appropriately, used to host the earliest Academy Awards. Hah! I say that as if the hotel arranged its history to accommodate my look, instead of the other way around.

There was an absolutely beautiful staircase, perfect for descending in a manner not unlike Belle's grand entrance in Beauty and the Beast. When I walked in and saw it, I turned to my husband and announced that it had always been my dream to descend a staircase like it. He graciously snapped a photo as I posed at the top, in front of the resplendent Spanish Revival door.
I think I had too much fun playing around with the filters on PicMonkey, trying to make my photos look appropriately vintage.
Unfortunately, the effect is spoiled by my green no-drinks-included-in-your-ticket bracelet.
I am in love with the back of the gown, as well as the bias cut drape. It swished and flowed beautifully when I walked.

I know this had nothing to do with sewing or making, but I just wanted to enthuse about getting to redo prom the way I would have wanted to, if only I'd had the confidence (to wear somebody else's old gown? High school me would have been grossed out by the idea) and knowledge (regarding classic style, how to thrift, and that the slip I was wearing on that night is still in use in my wardrobe today) that I do now. I would also tell high school me that while going to prom with a date is definitely fun, don't worry, you'll marry a very nice man one day whom you'll get to go to prom with anyway, so just enjoy spending time with your girlfriends.

27 comments:

  1. What a lovely dress, you look stunning!

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    1. Thank you! I am in love with the dress :)

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  2. It is a gorgeous dress and it fits you like a glove! That's an awesome location too. I'm glad you had a second chance at prom :)

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    1. Thanks! I couldn't believe it was in my size when I tried it on. The Biltmore was just the icing on the cake at that point. Also, it looks like I'll have a third chance at prom, next year ;)

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  3. Love your dress--what a FIND!!! I'm going to a ball as part of David's programme that I think will be somewhat similar to prom :) Needless to say I am totally excited!!

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    1. Oh, how exciting to get all dressed up with David! I look forward to seeing your outfits!

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  4. What a lovely dress. I have a bright yellow one with a very similar back and its gorgeous.

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    1. I just love this style of back...yay, we are dress buddies :)

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  5. What a lovely thrift find! That dress is so classy and looks gorgeous on you!!! You have not aged a single bit since your prom photo!!!! Your husband and u are so cute!!!!! Looks like u had a grand time at your prom! So jealous! xx

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    1. Haha, well, if you could see a close-up, you would know that my skin has aged...

      Do they have proms in Australia?

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  6. You are so lucky to get a re-do with your husband! And want a wonderful dress - you look great!

    I went to my senior year homecoming (my private school didn't have prom - no dancing!) with a group of friends too. I did, however, have a thrifted dress which I still don't think was all that bad (aside from the biggish sleeves), but my husband hates the photos of me in that dress, lol. I guess it's always good when you hit your style stride after college, and especially when you have a wonderful husband to appreciate it. =)

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    1. Oh dear, I have taught at a couple of private schools where there is no dancing at these proms/formals...and it is odd, at least for me coming from a public school background. I am really curious about this dress with the biggish sleeves; I vote you post a picture ;)

      I am glad to have hit *a* stride, at least, even if it's not quite settled!

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  7. wow - that dress looks amazing on you! classy AND sassy. :)

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    1. Thanks! Hmm, what other adjectives can I come up with that also rhyme with classy and sassy...

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  8. You look amazing! And that second "prom" pic with your husband is especially hilariously awkward, where you guys are barely touching! Haha.

    I like your high school prom dress! It reminds me of mine (I was also a big dateless nerd BTW). I was trying to go for a flapper dress. Everyone else had full-skirted floor length Cinderella dresses. Mine was cut about like yours, except with fringe across the bottom. I wore elbow length black satin gloves with a costume jewelry "diamond" cuff from the antique shop.

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    1. Oh, we are the prom king and queen on awkward prom photos! And I wish I had thought to wear opera length gloves; that would have been perfect! I bet there was a girl at your prom like me, who was secretly loving your vintage awesomeness and wishing she had such a dress!

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  9. Awww, awesome! I definitely didn't know my husband when I graduated, but the date I had was pretty awesome (though firmly friend-zoned). Although the thought of my husband let loose on all the squares from my academic school... That would've been hilarious.

    I wore a vintage dress to my high school grad---the one my mom had made for her own grad in 1970! :)

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    1. In the end, I was glad that I went with my girlfriends and didn't just ask some random guy...it would have been so awkward and weird. Friends are so much better! Of course, going with my best friend to second prom is also pretty awesome.

      I don't know anything about your school or your husband (except that he doesn't do blog pictures), but now I want to see that showdown, too!

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  10. Don't ou think you looked like Disney Cinderella on your first prom? You had crystal heels and blue sparkly dress!!

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    1. That is very kind of you to say! I hadn't thought about it, but I guess that's kind of true...

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  11. How fun! I love events you have to dress up for - my husband's company Christmas party almost fits the bill, but it's no prom. I too went to my high school prom with a group of girlfriends - I'm so glad I wasn't the only dateless nerd in high school! And see, high school selves, it turned out pretty good after all!

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    1. We can start the dateless-in-high-school-now-married-to-fantastic-husbands club! Yeah, I used to love going to my husband's company parties precisely for that reason!

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  12. Hurrah for thrift shops! That dress is a real stunner.

    I went with my girlfriends for my 'real' prom too - dates weren't allowed! They still aren't allowed for students these days! You looked really very good by my standards - I was a complete idiot in black kohl eyes, a black shapeless sleeved dress, and boots! What was I thinking.

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    1. Oh interesting, dates not allowed still? Your prom outfit sounds like it needs to be posted...I am curious! But I also think wearing boots to prom is pretty badass.

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    2. No dates! We are a country of prudes :) The only prom that allows them is when the boys army do at 19 years. 19 years old!

      I don't remember taking pics of my prom dress :) it was probably a wise decision! Have to go dig and see. It was one of those traumatic experiences better forgotten! (but evidently not). The boots were sadly not a sartorial choice - I borrowed them off the friend next to me because I discovered about 10 minutes after arriving that stockings make pumps slip off one's feet!

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  13. You look beautiful in the dress!

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  14. You're so gorgeous!!!! Yup, I go to prom with my friends. And we have a blast!! And...err....Charlie's Angels is still kind of a must picture for us. We're pretty weird. :)

    ~Gillian
    youngyankeelady.blogspot.com

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