Who will reign as prom queen this season? If votes were based on the dress alone, two-piece gowns and red-carpet-inspired designs would take the lead. The two-piece dress has a secret advantage: It can be repurposed beyond the big dance.
Karen Mazer, owner of Synchronicity Boutique in Pikesville (which houses hundreds of Sherri Hill dresses, among other designers) explains, "The thing the girls like about the two-pieces is the top—they can definitely wear it again, [even] with some blue jeans and a jacket."
For those who choose to stick with traditional prom dresses, celebrity-influenced gowns are on the rise. Francesca Ripple, owner of in Green Spring Station, says, "Prom is turning into whatever the celebrities are wearing on the red carpet." (Think actresses seen at the SAG Awards like Emma Stone in Dior and Sarah Paulson in Armani.)
Hues of red and patterns of black and white are crowding the stores, along with mermaid silhouettes and extreme illusion mesh. (As for those plunging necklines we saw during this year's award season? Not as long as parents are buying the dresses.)
Whatever the decision—two-piece or traditional—picking the perfect prom dress is a highly person experience.
Local designer Michelle Blanchard, who creates custom dresses with three to four month's notice, involves her clients in the designing process to create one-of-a-kind numbers. "I've been doing this for many years and a lot of people come because they want the experience of picking out fabrics, colors, and coming for fittings," she says.
Bottom line, ladies: There's no need to travel far and wide to experience the hunt for the perfect prom dress. As Mazer advises, "Shop small, and shop local."