Romantic gowns for Proms and Valentine's dates

PUBLISHED: 12:46 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:42 20 February 2013

Blue mini dress with a gathered front panel and short sleeves, £159, James Lakeland

Blue mini dress with a gathered front panel and short sleeves, £159, James Lakeland

Virginia Heath picks the most romantic dresses for Valentine's dates and prom nights

Some rather special dates are coming up in the social calendar Valentines Day is around the corner, of course, while young fashion followers are eagerly waiting for the prom season.
Whether its a romantic dinner with the man in your life or turning heads at the school ball, your gown needs to make an impact.

There was a time when dresses were out of favour on the clothes scene. Style diktat suggested they were rather too twee to cut a dash and so they were ousted in favour of, among others, sleek tuxedos with a masculine edge.

But, as fashion always travels full circle, dresses have made a significant comeback in lots of collections over the past few seasons.

And since were talking here about upcoming social occasions, the choice clearly veers between dresses that are pretty and floaty or sophisticated and sensuous.

The chosen dress obviously depends on the individual figure shape and on the occasion itself. Styles for spring are, quite honestly, following on from those weve seen in shops and stores for winter. Fashion changes little during a recession.

Favoured fabrics for the new season include chiffon and sheers, lace, satin, silk and jersey.

If a Valentines night meal for two at a favourite restaurant is on the cards, look out for little satin numbers in bright and bold shades like berry, or more muted tones of cobalt and turquoise instead of the usually favoured black.

But, the stylists advise that unless youre a svelte size 12 or below, you should throw on body control undies first because satin is unforgiving where lumps and bumps are concerned.
Chiffons have been given silk under-lining, while matt dresses have sheer sleeves or front panels. Designers have used lace as a trimming or for entire dresses. There are loads of lace accessories like bags and shoes coming through too.

Embellishments know no bounds in the spring dress collections, it seems. There are all manner of frills and ruffles on a large scale, especially at the shoulders. Pleating takes on a fresh dimension on bodices and is often topped off with a bow.

Beading, sequins and metallic decorations are also de rigueur in the design stakes, both in prom dress designs and special occasionwear.

Accessory-wise trends follow on from last season with mega-size necklaces, small, pleated bags, ultra-high heels (once again), cuff bracelets, big dress rings, glittery brooches or corsages, and wraps, both sheer and beaded.

Meanwhile, on the prom scene, younger fashion followers will already be scouring the rails for ideas to make them the star of the night at their school bash.

When prom nights made their debut in this country, long dresses were almost always the staple choice. Thats gone by the board now since short and even mini dresses are fast becoming the norm.

Looking at it logically, shorter dresses are far more versatile and can be worn for other occasions.

Even so, there will still be umpteen girls opting for a long gown or perhaps a ballgown-style dress with layers of tulle and satin.

Among the most popular sophisticated takes to emerge, and not only for the proms, is the one-shoulder design, both in floor-sweeping lengths and shorter versions.

Hems that are asymmetric, draped or ruched are one of the hot trend tips for teens in the forthcoming prom season. Print prom frocks are also catching on and will certainly stand out in a crowd. The choice is wide and includes floral, animal, polka dots and graphic patterns.
As many girls fret about what to wear at the school prom, detail in a dress is undoubtedly important. Halter neck styles have become more popular of late, and tie waistbands, satin or velvet, are another design factor.

Shimmering beads, crystals or sequins along the neckline or hemline will give an individual touch, while one or other of the same trims scattered or encrusted on fabric will create a definite wow factor.

The colour spectrum for prom dresses is seemingly endless. While black is an obvious choice for more mature women heading for a night out, it can be a little too stark for
young girls.

But dont despair. The prom dress scene has lots of sorbet shades of pink, ivory and suchlike. Alternatively, jewel tones of ruby, emerald and rich purple are a good choice, or go metallic with sparkling gold or silver for a more elegant image.


Please note, prices quoted are approximate. The clothes featured are sold in or around the county and are subject to availability. For details contact virginia.heath@ntlworld.com

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