High school proms: Then and now
Location, location, location
Then: In the beginning, it was common for proms to be held in the high school gymnasium. But as the social gathering gained popularity in the 50s and 60s, the gym became a bit banal.
Now: To this day, proms are held in more posh locations, such as country clubs, banquet halls or hotel ballrooms.
-- By Heidi Suke
Who reigns supreme
Then: Winning the title of “Prom King” or “Prom Queen” was historically reserved for the popular crowd – jocks, cheerleaders and the like.
Now: As society continues to progress and to embrace diversity more wholeheartedly, it is increasingly common for anyone to be nominated for the crown — and win. Some schools have even created a gender-neutral prom court.
Doin’ it up right
Then: In the 80s, it was common for the ladies to book their hair appointment weeks or months in advance for a super-fancy updo (complete with tendrils).
Now: In 2013, the traditional updo has unraveled. Girls opt for tousled beach waves or casually chic buns in lieu of shellacked French twists with poofy mall bangs. They often get together beforehand to do each other’s hair and primp instead of going to the salon.
After the party is the after party
Then: Prom was once a one-night affair.
Now: It’s common for kids to have a prom after-party, but it doesn’t stop there. They’ll reconvene again the following day to rehash what went down.
Baring it all
Then: Girls used to wear uncomfortable control-top pantyhose.
Now: It’s more common to go spray-tanning for an all-natural sun-kissed glow.
Glitz and glam for the gals
Then: Back in the 50s, girls finished their ball gowns with strands of pearls and white gloves. In the 70s and 80s, the trends were all about pink, poof, sashes and (sometimes) polyester.
Now: Modesty is also much less of a must-have than it used to be. In our celebrity-obsessed society, girls are taking their sartorial suggestions from the stars. Think sequins, gold, plunging necklines and sweeping hemlines.
Fashion for the fellas
Then: Gentlemen began to opt for more casual attire in the 50s, having previously worn black tie dress (tuxedoes). Colorful button-down shirts were preferable to white ones– and guys were even rolling up their trouser legs to expose matching socks.
Now: Guys are buttoning back up. With style icons like David Beckham and Ryan Reynolds to look to, how can they not?
A friendly affair
Then: If you weren’t asked to the prom, you’d probably spend the night at home with your folks.
Now: Gone are the days of girls pining away by their phones, hoping that their dream date will call. It’s certainly no longer standard – nor expected – for a guy to squire his date to the extravaganza. It is common (and accepted) for a girl to ask a guy or to go to the prom with a group of friends.
Then: You’ve likely seen it in movies from the 60s, 70s and 80s…The eager dad chauffeurs the reluctant couple to their prom. Back in the 90s, stretch limos were the way to go.
Now: High school students are pooling their funds and investing in stretch Hummers, stretch (pink) Range Rovers, trolleys, school or coach busses. They may even take a cue from royalty and rent a Rolls Royce.
A floral affair
Then: Some things change, some stay the same. Corsages and boutonnieres are just as relevant today as they were back in the 50s.
Now: The only difference is that girls are willing to spend much more money on their floral accoutrements. And sometimes (perhaps in preparation for their future weddings?), they even opt for a bouquet in lieu of a corsage.