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Shopping for prom dresses can really cause one to become bewildered, frustrated and tired. There are already so many types of formal gowns and dresses to choose from which only adds to the insanity! Would you agree? Even the terms that describe these dresses can be a little over the top. When going into a shop and talking to a sales person, you might feel overwhelmed so here are some very helpful definitions of terms to help you become informed when going out or simply browsing gowns online.
Thanks to Chris Robertson of Fibre2Fashion for putting together this awesome prom-dictionary for all us!
Prom Dress Styles
Some of the prom dress styles you might see include the ball gown, A-line (princess), sheath, lace-covered, high-low, baby doll, chiffon, one-shoulder, empire, golden glamour, modest, and halter.
Ballroom Gowns and A-Line Prom Dresses
A ballroom gown has a very large skirt that billows out from the waist to the mid-calf or ankles. It might have a fitted waist and top or a corset type top. The A-line or princess dress flares out to the hemline and is narrow near the waist. It forms an "a" shape as it fits to your body from top to bottom.
High-Low, Lace-Covered, and Chiffon Prom Dresses
The high-low dress zigzags vertically at the hemline so it is short in some spots and long in others. The sheath prom dress is one that clings to the body and hides nothing concerning your figure. The lace-covered dress can be a satin or satin-like material underneath with lace as a top layer. Chiffon dresses look similar to a fancy night robe worn by the women of Rome or Greece. With a high empire waist, the dress is long and flows from the hips down to the ankles. It is great for almost any figure.
Baby Doll, One-Shoulder, and Sleeveless Gowns
The baby doll prom dress is typically very short and cute. It usually fits at the top and flows at the bottom with a high waistline in between. Baby doll dresses usually come with a tied ribbon or belt around the stomach area to give the "baby dress" look. One-shoulder prom dresses have only one shoulder strap, of course, with the other side being sleeveless. These are usually long and elegant gowns. There are also completely strapless formal gowns and prom dresses. These can be worn with or without a jacket or wrap.
Halter, Golden Glamour, and Modest Prom Dresses
The halter prom dress looks similar to a halter top at the sleeves and then flows toward the knees. It is usually no longer than just below the knees and may look similar to a high-low dress at the hemline. The golden glamour dress is usually shiny gold to appear like "Hollywood" style apparel. The modest prom dress is beautiful, simple, and modest. It covers everything while still giving the wearer a touch of glamour and elegance.
Types of Sleeves
Cap sleeves are short and cover only the upper arms and shoulders. Juliet sleeves are puffy at the shoulders and taper all the way to the wrist. Some sleeves start below the shoulders or appear to "hang off" the shoulders. Also, spaghetti straps are thin straps with no sleeves.
Necklines are also important when choosing a prom dress. The empire neckline scoops out and then connects with a very high waistline. A sweetheart neckline looks like the top of a heart. A jewel neckline is simple and round, located just above the collarbone. The boat neckline (Bandeau) comes around to each collarbone, similar to a sailor's suit.