Prom is your chance to let your true self shine through. Whether you want to go girlie glam, sizzling sensual, hip hop happening or classic elegance, your dress is the first step you must take towards creating your signature Prom style.
Even the most successful celebs like Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker and Carmen Electra start with their gown and work from there.
Before you even fret about how to wear your hair, decide what look or image you want to portray. If you are not sure of your style or message, hit the books. Flip through fashion, beauty and hair magazines for ideas. Do some serious channel surfing paying close attention to celebs that you identify with.
If you discover that you are more like girlie girl Joan Girardi or brainy glam wannabe Glynis Figliola than punky rebel Grace Polk you can put a name to your basic fashion style.
After you have your Prom gown and matching shoes and bag, you are ready to design a Prom hairstyle that works with your overall look.
Consider the following celebrity signature styles when selecting your own Prom style:
Current Role Models: Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Holly Hunter, Charlize Theron
There is nothing subtle about a glam style. Think bold and beautiful and you are on the right track.
While it's definitely important not to go over the top, focus on megawatt shimmer. Gowns in gold, silver or brilliant white are a good starting point. So are rich luscious jewel toned gowns in rich lilac, salmon pink, emerald green and sapphire blue. Tastefully beaded gowns that add elegant shimmer are also part of the dress code.
Nicole Kidman has Glam nailed. Whether she is wearing a spectacular Yves Saint Laurent strapless rich lilac ruffled gown to the 2003 Golden Globes or a resplendent gold and crystal encrusted design to the 2004 Globes, she oozes glamour.
Nicole and her stylist understand that her hair has to change to compliment her gowns. In 2003 Nicole's naturally curly strawberry blonde hair was blown out straight and then pulled back off her face into a fashionable tight chignon. Showing off the stellar top and back of the gown, Nicole kept her accessories simple, but elegant.
She was adorned with breathtaking gem encrusted gold chandelier earrings and matching delicate diamond encrusted gold bracelets,
In 2004 Nicole worn a golden beaded gown with simple but elegant accessories, as she did in 2003. Keeping in step with the latest hair and accessory fashions, Nicole wore a gorgeous crystal encrusted golden hued soft headband worn close to her hairline.
Honoring the hot hair trends for curls and waves, Nicole's hair was style to allow her natural ringlets to cascade from the top of the headband around her shoulders.
Although Jennifer Lopez is known to morph between glam, sizzling sensuality and uber trendy, her hairstyles always compliment the overall look and her gown.
While all of these glam celebs have a team of stylists, hairdressers and makeup artists to help them look golden, it is possible to achieve the same brilliant styles by following their lead.
Remember that these glam queens never let their hair, makeup or other accessories detract from their total look. Ultimately everything should work in glamorous harmony.
Possible Glam Prom Hairdos:
Current Role Models: Renee Zellweger, Christina Applegate, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Classic looks are often defined as sophisticated and elegant. Think subtle, yet luxurious gowns made out of luscious silks, satins, velvet and chiffons.
While it is important not to be too understated, focus on sleekness and simplicity. Gowns in soft cream, silver or black tones are a good starting point.
Classic gowns also tend to follow the form-fitting Princess or A-line pattern with vertical seams flowing from the shoulders to the hem and a straight or gently flared skirt. They also tend to have a boat style (bateau) neckline that follows the curve of the collarbone, and is high in both the front and back of the dress. A sweetheart neckline might work as well if it is classic and is combined with a simple, elegant, sophisticated style.
Renee Zellweger defines classic elegance. Not only does she select gowns that perfectly compliment her figure, Renee wears hairstyles that offset her look.
Winning major kudos for her custom-made black hued satin gown at the 2003 Golden Globes, Renee was coiffed in a sophisticated, behind the ears, elegant bob accented in the back by one simple jewel encrusted clip.
Her only other adornments were a small diamond bracelet and an elegant evening.
In 2004 Renee again donned the classic look with a simple but elegant gown. Playing up her very simple gown she was coifed in softly defined curls that were beautifully tucked behind her ears.
If you desire to go the classic route remember that less is more and true elegance is really about simplicity.
Possible Classic Prom Hairdos:
Current Role Models: Joan Girardi/Amber Tamblyn, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Kristin Davis
Whether your vision of being a Prom Princess is to slip on a traditional ball gown complete with a full cotton candy confectioner's skirt or to wear a gown with rows or ruffles, princess equals pure romance.
There is nothing brash, outrageous or glitzy about a traditional princess style. Think soft and pretty and you are on the right track.
Gowns in soft pinks, blues, greens and complimentary pastels are a good starting point.
So are gowns lightly dusted with tiny crystal and pearl beads. Even gowns like Joan wore to her Arcadia Winter Formal (see above) would fit the princess role.
As shown above, Joan wore a black velvet gown encrusted with red embroidered flowers along the bottom of the shirt with a modified red Bolera style jacket.
If you ever dreamed of being a fairy princess this style is for you. A true princess style can encompass a range of ball gowns. Find the one that truly makes your dreams come true and you will be on the right track.
Possible Princess Diaries Prom Hairdos:
Current Role Models: Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Simpson, Misha Barton, Kim Cattrall
The beauty of sassy sensuality is that it is about feeling relaxed and totally confidence. Jennifer Aniston is the poster girl for sassiness, sensuality and casual good looks and studied style.
Sassy sensuality is more subtle than overt sexuality. It is class mixed with steaminess, elegance tinged with attitude.
Sensual sweeties project their own style with a gown that is unique and custom designed to their best physical assets and comfort level. The more relaxed and comfortable, the more confidence can shine through and that's the true definition of sassiness.
Capture this look in flirty two piece gowns in your favorite shade. Gowns like the one Jennifer wore to the 2003 Golden Gloves with a halter neckline also telegraph sass and confidence.
Although Jennifer is known for her hairstyles, she also understands how to play up her image.
In the style for her appearance at the 2003 Golden Globes she wore a flirty, swingy, off the face ponytail and simple accessories including one diamond bracelet and a jeweled ponytail clip. Sass is Jennifer's middle name.
In 2004 Jennifer (see side image) strolled the red carpets in another sassy black dress with her hair full of undulating waves and curls. Her only adornments were her earrings, wedding ring and a slender diamond encrusted bracelet.
If you dream of being the next Jennifer or Mischa Barton, select a gown that makes you feel confident and relaxed and edgy.
Possible Sassy Sensuality Hairdos:
Current Role Models: Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra, Beyonce, Pink
This look is pure un-adultered sexiness. Marilyn Monroe was the original sexpot.
(Photo of Pam Anderson and Kid Rock at 2003 AMA Awards - ABC - all rights reserved).
Don't worry about going over the top with this look. Focus on pushing the envelope towards the shock zone.
Form fitting low cut gowns in clingy fabrics set the stage. Fire engine red, sexy shades of black and racy white are key hues. Tone down the raw sexuality with touches of leather, lace or chunky accessories like bracelets and necklaces.
Turn up the heat even further with strapless, backless gowns that have a revealing slit up the front. Even better, go with a halter gown that shows off your diamond belly ring.
(Photo of Pam Anderson above with Craig Kilborn with the troops CBS - all rights reserved).
Pamela Anderson is the ultimate sizzling sexy babe. She knows that when she hits the red carpet the key is to have lots of big hair with tons of volume. White blonde locks seal the deal for Pam along with long hair extensions.
If you dream of being the next Pamela Anderson remember to reach for the bleach, some hair extensions and a curling iron. Think confident, bold and daring and you are on your way.
Possible Sizzling Sexuality Prom Hairdos:
Current Role Models: Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aquilera. Gwen Stefani
The rock princess look is often a combination of the princess, sassy sensuality and punky trendy styles. Anything goes with this look although it tends to be more polished and dressy than a hard core hip hop or punked look.
Britney Spears and Christina Aquilera are classic examples of rock princesses. While Britney will sometimes dress to shock, she always retains that element of softness and innocence underneath the super short, low cut dresses.
Although Christina does not package her look to be as soft and dewy as Britney, Christina has posed in elegant couture gown for Versace.
While Britney favors crystal encrusted beaded gowns that shimmer, Christina goes for the leather and lace aspect of the look.
The Rock Princess style focus should be centered around edgy chic. Gowns in black, burnished orange, cognac and pale pink easily communicate the rock princess vibe, especially when combined with silk taffeta, velvets and plush taffetas. Gowns with halter tops, pouf satin or silk skirts or ripped hems are right in keeping with the rock princess look.
If rock princess is your ideal remember to shake it up. Keep in mind that a true rock princess is one part dominatrix, one part funky East Village and one part princess with a little bit of Breck girl thrown into the mix.
Possible Rock Princess Prom Hairdos:
Uber Trendy & Happening
Current Role Models: Sarah Jessica Parker, Stella McCarthy, Uma Thurman, Hilary Swank
The fashion trend setter boldly goes where other fashionistas have yet to follow.
They work very hard at being a front runner in the fashion world. Not only do they regularly attends runway shows for ongoing inspiration, they constantly experiment. A trend setter is the first to wear everything from new gowns to shoes, hairstyles and accessories.
(Image of Sarah Jessica Parker - NBC - 2004 Golden Globes - all rights reserved).
Sarah Jessica Parker is a famous fashion and hair trendsetter. Even during her famous pregnancy, she set new standards in her choice of clothing, shoes and hairstyles. A nod from Sarah Jessica can put a struggling shoe or fashion designed instantly into the headlights.
Since Sarah Jessica Parker first appeared on Sex And The City for HBO she has evolved through a dizzying array of fashion, accessory and hairstyles.
(Image of Sarah Jessica Parker - CBS - David Letterman Show - 2002 - all rights reserved).
Her tresses have morphed from her natural brunette to very light blonde and back in a few short years. She has let her natural curls rule the roost one season only to cut them all off and wear them sleekly straight the next, as shown above.
If trendsetter is your ideal style, anything goes as long as it is new, fresh and not been done in the very near past. Think short gowns with ripped hems, unusual fabrics and cuts. For inspiration watch the most recent season of Sex And The City for Carrie's latest couture fashions.
Possible Trendy Prom Hairdos:
Punky Funky Hip Hop
Current Role Models: Kelly Osbourne, Avril Lavigne, Grace Polk/Becky Walhstrom Chrissie Hynde
Punk all started with Sid and Nancy. Who you may ask? The mother and father of the original punk fashion craze that never really goes away. If you can't relate, think Joan Jett and Chrissie Hynde.
The Osbournes have done a lot to help revive the punk fashion trend, especially Kelly. The key to being punk without looking like you are wearing a costume is to have the right attitude.
While punk can be recreated with lots of black lined and mascara painted eyes, the right swagger has to be present.
Not only was her shocking pink hair frantically copied around the globe, her black punk makeup and shocking hair hues have also set net hair trends.
If punk is your vision, never fear. As Kelly demonstrates in the photo above, it is possible to combine a Prom or evening gown with the proper punk accent pieces.
For an awards show Kelly wore a "pretty in pink" satin gown complete with a full skirt while showing off her black lacy bra and chunky accessories. Her makeup completed the image with deep red lips and lots of black sultry eye makeup. Move over Sid & Nancy, Kelly has assumed your punk royalty throne.
If punk is your ideal, study the classics for true inspiration. Goggle images of Joan Jett, Kelly and other punk leaders. Study the fashion to make sure you settle a look that is truly yours and not a weak knockoff.
Possible Funky Hip Hop Prom Hairdos:
To punk up your Prom look you may want to experiment by adding clip-on braids, hair extensions or ponies in different textures and colors to give you a radical new look. Consider clipping in jeweled beads or strands. Or decorate with tiny jeweled alligator clips in a range of sizes and colors.
Some Assembly Required
Once you have figured out your ultimate style message the following tips will come in handy when selecting the best Prom hairstyle for you:
1. Decide whether you will do the desired hairstyle at home with the help of a friend or at the salon by a professional stylist.
2. Remember to select a hairstyle that compliments rather than detracts from your overall total look. If your gown is high voltage then go with lower wattage tresses. A simple but elegant gown can be topped by a more ornate updo or twist.
3. Select hair adornments or accessories that tie together the total look. If possible, take photos of your desired hairstyle and Prom gown with you when you shop for your accessories so that everything works the way you desire.
4. Whether you do the style yourself at home or have a stylist do it, have at least two hair practice sessions before you take your hair out for Prom.
5. Planning is everything. Allow yourself plenty of time to select your perfect hairstyle, make any appropriate appointments and allow for what ifs.
Have fun and be willing to experiment. After all, this is one of the most memorable times of your life.
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- Revised Publication Date: 01/28/10