The Art of Promming

High school students are in the midst of prom season. To those who have never experienced prom season, it may seem like no big deal. But as I have learned in the past month, there is definitely an art of promming. Here’s my best advice for succeeding at the art of promming, to ensure a stress-free experience.

Prepare early, but not too early. My peers began buying dresses in February. Prom is in May. Though it is important to be prepared so as to avoid a last minute panic and scramble for an outfit, there is no need to worry yourself four months in advance. If you buy an outfit too early, you may have changed your style or interest by the time prom rolls around. Or you simply may change your mind based on other options. In certain cases, it’s necessary to preorder a dress online a few months in advance. But only do this if you are really committed to it. Otherwise, don’t worry about browsing stores until April. The most important consideration is having enough time for needed alterations, whether for a tuxedo or dress. I am a hypocrite to my own advice – I ordered a dress the week before prom, and had it hemmed a few days before – because my Spring schedule is very busy. Nevertheless, prepare early to avoid stress. Just don’t draw out the process by beginning to far in advance.

Remain neutral. Whether you’re a pessimist, an optimist, or somewhere in between, it’s best to stay neutral in terms of expectations when it comes to prom. If you set your standards too high, predicting the best night of your life, you might be disappointed. Meanwhile, if you set your standards too low, you’ll go into the night with an unnecessarily negative attitude. Everybody has a different prom experience. Some are underwhelmed, some are overwhelmed, and some just have a nice time, nothing too special. Keeping this in mind, I looked forward to prom in the days leading up to it, but I didn’t plan my entire life and being around nor spend all of my savings on it, knowing that the night could never be perfect. With a neutral attitude, the night pleasantly exceeded my expectations.

Relax, and be confident. Prom can be a rather dramatic event. From finding a date, to planning after-parties, trying not to trip on the red carpet, and being confident on the dancefloor, there is a lot of potential for stress and anxiety. As the mother of one son and six daughters, my mom has had to endure the stress of many, many proms. She’s witnessed the last-minute dress indecision, the makeup appointments that go wrong, the running-late date, and the general nerves. So I was determined, as the youngest and last prom-bound of seven kids, not to cause a household panic. Staying relaxed helped everything to run smoothly. A big aspect of prom is looks. There is a lot of picture taking beforehand, and then as we walk down the red carpet, the whole town can see us. Being confident is key to staying sane amongst all the hype about looks. Find an outfit that is you, not something you think you should wear or what everyone else is wearing. Wear what makes you feel confident. Also, try your best to be comfortable. It may seem fun to wear six inch high heels, but the blisters and sour soles that result will not be fun by the time your reach the dancefloor. Feeling comfortable and confident helped me to stay relaxed. Many people will choose to drastically alter their appearance for prom, through intense spray tans, heavy makeup, etc. But doing so can just add to the stress. If you don’t look and feel like yourself, it’ll be of a challenge to be confident and relaxed.

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