Monday, January 21, 2008

A few more dresses

There's a funny little road that winds through my life, stopping off and picking up from the most incongruously connected places.

This weekend over at my internet treehouse hangout Pajiba a shitstorm erupted on the comment thread for Dustin Rowles hysterically bilious review of the rom-com 27 Dresses. The commenters went banana bread at Rowles' searing criticism of not just the milquetoast comedy, but of the movie's star (and frequent recipient of Pajiba-venom) Katherine Heigl. After trying and failing to inject some levity into the proceedings, I shrank away from Pajiba figuring I had better things to do with my time than bicker with people over a writer on a semi-obscure pop culture website and his seething hatred for a semi-talented television actress.

Along winds my life from a movie about copious bridesmaids dresses to my Gmail account. If you use Gmail , you are familiar with the content-related adds that populate the side bars. Well, I was closing an e-mail from Evie regarding a wedding shower this weekend, when I noticed the add at the top of the screen was for Modest Wedding Dresses. Of course I had to check it out, and discovered a business that must have the corner on a very niche market. That or there are a helluva lot of Mormons out there. It's a very interesting glimpse into Mormon culture. I can only assume based on the categories of "Temple Dresses" and "Reception Dresses" that the LDS church requires a modest dress code within the sanctuary, hence the desire for two dress options.

I also took a look at the "modest prom dresses"; they weren't bad, just the fashion equivalent of those little cups of vanilla ice cream you eat with a wooden paddle. Then it got me to thinking about what exactly is passing for prom dresses in this day and age. Back in my high school years (early Nineties), most dresses sold for proms were confections of satin, sequins, and bows. What I at the time liked to call Regurgitations From Vanna White's Closet.

Down the road again, leaving our modestly clad Mormon brides to Prom 2008. Yesterday, I did a little interwebs searching for prom dresses and for the most part, the dresses were your typical pageant-type sheath dresses, cocktail numbers (surprising number of which had those never-flattering bubble skirts), swing dresses, and ginormous ballgowns that would not be out of place at a cotillion on some Natchez plantation. As expected sequins, lace, and tulle were in abundance.

Here's one of the few dresses I found that I might have worn back in my day. Cute and kicky and not too glitzy:

But some of what I uncovered was borderline disturbing. Way too adult for a prom-type function. I saw a lot of plunging backs on dresses, but this little gem one was one of the lowest. It's just a guess, but I think it stops about a centimeter before ass crackage.

The front of the dress is even more exciting. Ree-ow! Vegas showgirl all the way:

Plunging necklines are all the rage as well:

Let's not stop at necklines! Let's cut a slit within an inch of our lady bits! 'Cause nothing says sexy like flashing the undies on Prom Night!

Same type of dress, but the hair and gobs of makeup on the model to the left make her look like an 80's-era coke whore. Perfect if the theme of your prom is Less Than Zero.

This dress is deceptive. Looks pretty tame, right? Long skirt, no serious boobage or crotch-revealing. Look closely; the top is see-through. It's like Gunne Sax meets Fredrick's of Hollywood:

Beyond the overly-revealing dresses, were the ones that were just downright bizarre.

If you are planning on attending prom for Belly Dancer High, here's what all the girls will be wearing:

In addition to the fact that this dress looks like a ballroom Latin dance costume, what's with the weird-ass pose? Who stands like that?

I swear this is a cast-off costume from some sci-fi show:

Finally, I add this picture not just because of the retina-scorching garment, but because the broken-down car in the background reminds me of my own prom. On the way back to my house to change, my date's car got a flat tire. I got to stand on the side of I-64 in my lovely black silk gown holding a hubcap full of lug nuts.

I really don't consider myself a prude, but is it appropriate for teenage girls to dress up like presenters at the Adult Film Industry Awards? My prom wasn't that long ago, but no girls needed to rely heavily on wig tape to keep their bosoms from popping forth from their gowns.

My great fear is for what girls will be wearing to my son's prom in fifteen years. Perhaps I should start teaching him now about the importance of prophylactics.

And to think, it all started with 27 Dresses.


girl with curious hair said...

Oh dear. I didn't go to high school in the US, so 'Prom' is one of those mysteries that I don't quite understand. That said, what I see girls wearing to prom and formals really scares me. Where are their parents? What are they trying to say? And why isn't anyone explaining the difference between classy/sexy and cheap desperation? Seriously the dresses you posted worry me (good selection though). Sigh.

Can we blame this on Dustin?

Alex the Odd said...

Hmmm, this scares me. In fact the whole concept of prom scares me, it was one of those "oh god, I think you broke my mind" episodes when an American friend sat me down and explained that yes, that did actually happen and wasn't just an invention of Hollywood. For our senior dance thing I took my best (female) friend as a date and wore a plain black cocktail dress, which I still own and have worn to pretty muuch every single formal event I've attended since.

Although: give me that skanky aqua dress, a pair of scissors and a sewing machine and I could make the best "show off my tattoo" top ever

Ev said...

Oh...If you read back through Manda's blog archives, I think you will find a reference to me being a lover of the American prom. I went to six all together (two were pity dates after I was out of high school). I still love looking a prom dresses, too, and I'm one of those cheesy girls who can't wait to see 27 dresses (Manda and I have already discussed this difference of opinion).
That said, I agree that prom dresses today are way too far gone. My sluttiest dress had a slit that I thought was HIGH, but looking back it was about 2 inches above my knee (and I wore a garter that showed!) - all my friends were jealous.

Will be checking out those modest dresses sometime today when my not-back-to-normal brain needs a break from work.

Ev said...

Me again! Is it too sad that I actually love the modest wedding gowns? One of them is very similar to one of my top choices for my wedding!

Bake Me A Cake! said...

I totally agree with the fact that it is very difficult to find modest prom dresses. My sister just go married last month and we had the hardest time finding modest bridesmaid dresses!! Everything is sleeveless and tight! By the way, I am selling my dress (a modest ball gown) on Ebay if anyone is interested. It was a beautiful dress. It is Ebay ID #300204590891 Here is the direct link to the listing:

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