All month, the Nordstrom crew has been having collective flashbacks featuring carnation corsages and Bonne Bell lip gloss. Once the prom dresses arrive in store, we start swapping our adorably hilarious stories and photos—many too good to keep to ourselves.
Here are five of our favorites—including one that ends in a “happily ever after”—plus what the prom survivor would wear now.
Amy Morgan, Senior Copywriter
This was the first of what would become a series of lackluster proms from 1987 to ’89. For a couple of proms, I went with boys my friends weren’t allowed to date. We’d go in a group and just swap dates when we got to the dance. I was a prom beard!
My mom loved all the proms. She made every one of my dresses, like this beauty in emerald-green moiré taffeta. It cracks me up that the ruffle detail is in style again! (That is one way I know I’m super old.)
If I had it to do all over again now, I’d wear this gorgeous Burberry shirtdress with a tuxedo tie.
Perhaps you noticed: it’s prom season. For guys that means suits and, generally, a fair bit of uncertainty. That’s normal. Many teenagers are unfamiliar with suits. What’s a cool suit? There will definitely be photos taken, so you want to come correct. Should you purchase or rent?
Let us make this simple. You should definitely buy. And you should buy from the British brand Topman – which is distributed in the U.S. exclusively through Topman and Nordstrom. Forget tuxedos. Get a hip, affordable, easy-to-wear Topman suit. Done.
There was no Topman in 1981, which is when Nordstrom Senior Designer Tim Haywood went to prom. Things were more complicated then. Feeling the spirit of the season, he took us on a walk down memory lane.
Throwback boogie band Tuxedo never fails to change our mood. It’s just something about their music. If you didn’t catch their recent performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, increase the amount of positive energy in your life:
Check out our interview with Tuxedo. And if it’s relevant to you, let their outfits serve as a reminder that it’s prom season. Now is the time to shop for that perfect tuxedo, casual suit (Topman would be ideal for 90% of high schoolers) or flawless gown.
If you’re considering the suit/sneakers combo that Jake One is rocking in the image above (that’s Mayer Hawthorne next to him by the way), keep it clean and start by exploring the world of designer sneakers.
Not that we’d want to be teenagers again—man, that was tough—but occasionally we muse over how we’d do things differently. Pine for that bad boy who cut class and went on to manage the local hardware store? In hindsight, we’d have set our sights on the sheepish student council VP who’s now a successful MD. Take study hall? Should have gotten a jump on college coursework with some AP classes instead. Go to all those parties? Yeah, we’d still do that.
And when it comes to our high school wardrobe picks, we’d make some serious alterations. It’s painful just to look at pictures of some of the clothing choices we self-consciously made back in the day. So with an occasion like prom, to have had our adult fashion sensibilities guide our youthful dress selections (truth: there is such a thing as too much tulle) would undoubtedly have led to a prettier party look and less cringe-inducing photos.
For your reference, and our fun, here’s what we’d wear to prom now.
Who: Mary O’Regan, Copy Manager What:Xscape stripe satin two-piece ballgown (pictured above) Why: I love the two-piece trend happening in prom dresses right now. It really frees you up on the dance floor. This skirt is a nice mix of subtle and eye-catching, and it hits the ground, so you can wear flats and no one will know! Similar style:Steppin Out ‘Leah’ two-piece gown