Short Prom Dresses

920 Items

Since the early days of the high school prom, the term "prom dress" been associated with the kind of long, finely-detailed gowns evocative of traditional formal wear. However, a recent trend toward short prom dresses opens up new possibilities -- not just for proms, but for everything from homecoming dances, to winter formals, and more.

Longstanding Tradition

The high school prom first emerged in the 1930s and '40s, as we can see from yearbooks of the period. It may be rooted in traditions even earlier than that, with some historians suggesting that proms may have started as a college tradition as early as the late 19th century.

Early prom fashions were rooted in the idea of wearing one's "Sunday best," which is to say the kind of clothes you'd wear to church. This explains the beautiful long dresses that persist as a prom staple even to this day.

Evolving Styles

Formal wear is more rooted in tradition, and thus slower to change, than everyday or casual fashion, but we've still seen a number of changes in prom dresses over the decades.

In the 1940s, the norm was full, long gowns with covered shoulders and long sleeves. This evolved over time, from the more form-fitting dresses of the 1950s and '60s, back to fuller and more flowing gowns in the disco '70s, to a thankfully short-lived fascination with metallic colors in the '80s, to the off-the-shoulder looks of the '90s and trend toward higher necklines of the early 2000s.

The Era of Short?

More recent years have seen formal wear trends move toward beautiful simplicity and a less-is-more aesthetic, which may explain why shorter dresses are starting to come into vogue.

There are also shifting ideas of what constitutes "formal" in the first place. Years of fashion-forward celebrity fashion at awards shows and movie premiers has expanded the range of acceptable styles for formal occasions. A short dress can have as much fine detail, be made of luxurious fabric, and exude as much glamor as any of its longer, more traditional cousins, and designers and prom-goers alike are starting to recognize this.

The trend toward short prom dresses also reflects a growing trend toward practicality and usability in women's fashion. It's much harder to dance all night at prom or other celebratory occasions in a long, flowing gown. There's also the fact shorter dresses are more at-home in a larger variety of settings than long, elaborate dresses that you may pick up for prom and then never wear again.

Choices

Short prom dresses might just be the wave of the future, and there are reasons you might want to wear them over long dresses, but that doesn't mean you have to. You might prefer the style of the traditional long prom dress, and that's perfectly okay! Modern prom-goers have a wider array of dress options than ever before, and you should absolutely go with whatever you're most comfortable with or interested in.

What the evolution of formal dresses really shows is that we've moved from an era where fashion choices were limited by a fairly strict set of rules to one where individual expression and comfort plays a larger role. The idea of the short prom dress, for so long something that would be completely unthinkable, perfectly encapsulates this.

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Style
Neckline
Sleeves
Features
Brands
Price
Alyce Paris 4144

Alyce Paris 4144
Sweetheart neckline off the shoulder short diamond lace $318.00

Sherri Hill 53018

Sherri Hill 53018
Deep V Neckline Low Cut Back Short Fitted Beaded with Sequin Fringe $550.00

Alyce Paris 3823

Alyce Paris 3823
Halter neckline open back two piece lace-mikado $198.00

Sherri Hill 52106

Sherri Hill 52106
Short Beaded Halter Dress $598.00

Sherri Hill 53148

Sherri Hill 53148
Short V Neckline Spaghetti Strap V Cut Back with Sequins $350.00

Sherri Hill 52989

Sherri Hill 52989
Strapless Straight Across Neckline Short Mikado $450.00

Alyce Paris 4160

Alyce Paris 4160
Halter neckline open back short fitted glitter jersey $178.00

Alyce Paris 3899

Alyce Paris 3899
Halter neckline open back short a line brocade $228.00

Alyce Paris 3860

Alyce Paris 3860
Halter neckline open back short satin print $248.00

Alyce Paris 4055

Alyce Paris 4055
Halter Neckline Sequin Fitted Short Dress $148.00 $88.00

Alyce Paris 4008

Alyce Paris 4008
Short velvet v neckline open back beaded waistband $198.00

Alyce Paris 3765

Alyce Paris 3765
V neckline open back beaded waistband mikado ruffled layered skirt $168.00 $128.00

Alyce Paris 3842

Alyce Paris 3842
V neckline low cut back mikado tulle lace $278.00

Madison James 19113

Madison James 19-113
Thin Strap Poof Laser Cut Lace Short Dress $310.00

Alyce Paris 2653

Alyce Paris 2653
Two piece halter neckline open back fitted diamond lace/jersey $198.00 $98.00

Sherri Hill 53017

Sherri Hill 53017
Halter Neckline Open Back Short Fitted Sequin $650.00

Alyce Paris 4099

Alyce Paris 4099
V neckline open criss cross back short fitted stretch crepe $178.00

Sherri Hill 53200

Sherri Hill 53200
V Neckline Spaghetti Straps Open Corset Back Short Fitted Jersey $298.00

Alyce Paris 4123

Alyce Paris 4123
Halter neckline open back two piece fitted beaded jersey $278.00

Alyce Paris 4185

Alyce Paris 4185
Off the shoulder short a line cracked ice taffeta $198.00

Alyce Paris 3898

Alyce Paris 3898
Strapless sweetheart neckline short a line luminous satin with pockets $188.00

Alyce Paris 4006

Alyce Paris 4006
Two Piece Short Halter Dress $148.00

Alyce Paris 4046

Alyce Paris 4046
Spaghetti strap v neckline low back layered chiffon $228.00 $98.00

Sherri Hill 53197

Sherri Hill 53197
Straight Across Neckline Spaghetti Strap Corset Back Short Fitted Sparkle $298.00

Alyce Paris 4182

Alyce Paris 4182
V Neckline Short Dress $198.00

La Femme 28316

La Femme 28316
Long Sleeve Short Sequin with Plunging Neckline $218.00

Alyce Paris 3822

Alyce Paris 3822
Scoop neckline short a line lace satin $198.00

Alyce Paris 3908

Alyce Paris 3908
Strapless Sweetheart Neckline Short Dress $188.00

La Femme 28232

La Femme 28232
Short Lace Dream with Sheer Long Sleeves $198.00

Alyce Paris 3767

Alyce Paris 3767
Halter Neckline Mikado Short Dress $168.00

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