Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why the Prom Should be Outlawed

Andie: Did you say that you went to your Prom?
Iona: Yeah. Sure.
Andie: Was it terrible?
Iona: It was the worst. But it's supposed to be, you know? I mean, but you have to go, right?
Andie: Well, you don't have to. I mean, it's not a requirement.
Iona: I have this girlfriend who didn't go to hers and every once in a while she gets this really terrible feeling, you know, like something is missing. She checks her purse, you know? She checks her keys. She counts her kids. She goes crazy and then she realizes that nothing is missing. She decided it was side effects from skipping the prom.
Andie: I don't know. I mean, part of me says I should just go and get it over with and this other part of me says it's this stupid tradition and what's the point?
Pretty In Pink, 1986

It's Way Back When-sday again. I've run out of Bradbury things to talk about, so I thought I'd amuse you with some pictures of dresses I made for high school dances in the late 80's and early 90's. I have to warn you, though; there is some big hair ahead. Most of it is mine :rofl:. Proceed with caution.

To get to the dance dresses, we have to go back to the beginning. I started sewing when I was 8 or 9. I did pillow cases and tote bags and shorts. Then I moved on to Cabbage Patch Kid clothes {which I have in my possession now and am amazed at what a terrible job I did on them. My motto was, I don't unpick :lol:!}, and by the time I got to Jr. High, I was was making clothes for myself. Dresses were my favorite. When I got to High School, word got out that I did a decent job and so I had a few friends ask if I would make their dance dresses for them.

This was the first semi-formal dress that I made. I don't remember much about making any of these dresses, but the trip with my mom to the fabric shop for the pattern and fabric for this one sticks in my memory. The dress was for me; I wore it to Homecoming my sophomore year, but that is obviously not me in the picture. I couldn't find a picture of me in it, but luckily, I lent the dress to a really sweet friend who wore it to the Valentine's dance later that school year and I have a picture of her in it. Too bad you can only see about a third of the dress. The skirt has the same lace as the sleeves and trim at the collar over it. I still love that mauve watermark taffeta :lol:.

This is another dress I made for myself {on the right in the white dress with the big hair} at the same Valentine's Dance. How can you go wrong with a bubble skirt, puffy sleeves and bows on the shoulders? I wish I could see those red shoes better :wink:. I lent this dress to my sweet friend again for the Christmas Dance the next school year.

This is Homecoming my Junior year. And you thought my hair was big in the last picture :surprised:. I did the asking {and paying} to this dance. As a matter of fact, I did the asking to every dance I went to in High School. There were six every year; two girls' choice {Sadie Hawkins, which was casual dress, and Valentine's}, three boys' choice {Christmas, Jr. Prom & Sr. Cotillion} and anybody could ask to Homecoming. Nobody ever went to a dance 'stag.' It was unheard of. Tickets were sold in pairs. And there was a lot of excitement over the whole thing. Those asking for a dance partner would find creative, clever and sometimes embarrassing ways to ask their intended to the dance. Couples going to the dance formed into groups that made a night of it. Tuxes and limos were rented, expensive restaurant reservations were made, activities or parties for after the dance were planned. Sums equal to or greater than the National Debt were spent making it an occasion to remember. And then it was all repeated in 6 to 10 weeks.

I made this one for my friend for Prom our Junior year. I think this is possibly my favorite dress and I have the most memories of any of the dresses about how this one came to be. It is floor-length pink satin. With lace. To die for. I looked for a full-length picture of it, but couldn't find it. Some of my pictures are in a little portfolio {that's gone missing} that I put together for Sterling Scholar presentation my senior year, so my dance picture collection is missing a few; there are at least two other pictures of dresses I made for dances not shown here. But I digress. Back to the pink prom dress. The top is the same as the first dress I showed, but the skirt is different and totally amazing. There are gathers at the bottom, pulling it up at intervals forming a scalloped hem which reveals lace underneath. It was so gorgeous. Unfortunately, her date got food poisoning at dinner {bad shrimp} and their evening was cut short.

I made this dress for a friend for Senior Cotillion. We were juniors, but her date was a senior, so they let her in :lol:. This fabric had a sort of metallic finish to it. This dress is another favorite.

This is me at Homecoming my senior year. I've reigned in the big hair, but only slightly. I'll bet that my hair is still a good 3" tall here. My date had a girlfriend {who he later married}, but his parents didn't want him to 'steady' date someone seriously at such a young age and told him he had to take someone else to the Homecoming dance. We were work friends so I asked if he'd go with me. He was sweet enough to buy the dance tickets {because it was at his school} and drive, but it just isn't the same as when someone asks you to the dance. At your own school. My sister wore the dress to the Junior Prom later that same school year, although I'm not sure how she ended up there because her date was a senior and she was a sophomore. Isn't he charming?

This is my sister at Homecoming her sophomore year and my senior year. It caused a bit of friction between us that right out of the gate, she had guys asking her to the dances.

And this is my sophomore sister at MY Senior Cotillion. I didn't get asked. And now I have side effects from missing the prom :rofl:.

This is my sister at her Senior Cotillion.

And here she is at the Spring Formal her senior year in college. She married her date :biggrin:. I made this dress for her when she was in High School and she wore it again to this dance. The top is black velvet and you can almost see the sequined trim bordering the satin skirt.

As an adult, I can look back on it and see just how stupid the tradition is. From what I remember, you show up late to the dance, stand in line for an hour to get your picture taken, wait for a slow song so you can wrap your arms around each other and sway back and forth while slowly turning around in a circle, and then you leave for the after party. Somewhere an untruth is told about how high school is supposed to be the best time of your life and the dances are the highlight. When you're there and nobody is interested enough in you to ask you out {like at all, not just for dances}, it does weird things to your not-fully-developed-hormone-riddled-non-rational-thinking brain. I made dresses for almost every semi-formal and formal dance in high school, and then I sat home the night of the dance {unless I'd mustered enough courage to ask someone}. It took a toll. Even in later life, I still think I've missed something {:crazy:} and really want to go to the charity balls that go on around here every year so that I can dress up and have a handsome man dressed in a tux pick me up in a limo and take me out for an elegant evening. It is a lot of pressure to put on kids; both the kids who have to come up with the guts {not to mention the scratch} to ask someone to a dance, as well as the kids who are waiting to be asked to this event of all events. That is why the Prom {and all other school dances} should be outlawed.

To finish up, here's a little bit of the 80's Prom scene to go with today's post, just to show that the Prom does work out for some people :lol:.


Mary Ann said...

OMG!! I had the SAME hair and I wore a pink satin dress to my junior prom and a bright blue one to my senior prom. I asked the guys! My daughter and her boyfriend will be attending their junior prom in a month, so this has been a really fun post to peruse. Thanks for sharing! I'm so impressed with the dresses you made!

Ann Marie @ 16 Muddy Feet said...

I only ever went to one dance/prom and that was my senior prom (I too wore a floor length pink satin dress). I asked my boyfriend, (who had graduated the year before) if he would go with me, which he did. Perfect timing, because we started dating 3 weeks before prom. 3 months later I graduated, joined the military and moved on with my life. Forward about 10 years later, that prom dress got cut up and resewn for some play my daughter was in, in elementary school. I am sure some of it is still floating around this house somewhere.

Paulette said...

Quite the trip down memory lane, Elizabeth. You sure did beautiful work on those dresses! Fun to see the styles and hairdos of that era again (but I hope big hair and poufy dresses don't come back in style anytime soon).

I went to the homecoming dance stag (with a couple other girls) as a freshman. Awkward. I never got asked to anything in high school, but I figured it was because I was a head taller than most of the boys. Meh, their loss. Glad those days are over!

whimsyfox said...

Ugh, the era of big hair and bad fashion. I shudder remembering my bangs that I teased up and sprayed stiff and the big flowy neon clothes!

I only went to 8th grade dance. With a few girl friends. Never danced with a boy. I was really really introverted.

It's funny the only time I ever got asked to be a girlfriend I was in 5th grade. It was by a boy I didn't like. I told him no, my grandma would kill me. I guess I jinxed myself or something. Haha.

Shay said...

You're so talented Elizabeth . Ive sewed one adult garment in my life and it wasnt very successful.

Love the big hair shots. I also loved the video at the end. It brought all sorts of memories rushing back. Oh to turn back the clock!

Angie said...

You are such a nut! Don't stress about the hair, it may be tacky now, but you totally rocked it then!

I never went to a dance (not because I wan't asked, my parents would NEVER allow it) but I did wear a couple of those dresses to family weddings...ah 80's bridesmades! lol

And I LOVE PRETTY IN PINK. That scene with them talking about the prom always cracks me up!

Wanda said...

I actually have some of that blue satin in the bottom of a sewing drawer. Wore it as a dress...later cut it up to make a costume for a daughter and then saved it for what? A crazy quilt maybe? That's why they call it a crazy quilt! Ha! Seriously, I am impressed once again with your mad sewing skills at such a young age!I really enjoyed that fashion look back!

SueWis said...

Pretty dresses! I'll have to dig out some of mine, but they aren't nearly as satiny and fancy.

A lovely memory surfaced of being asked to homecoming (or prom, I forget which). He said romantically, "I already asked so-and-so and she said no, and then I asked someone else and they said no, so will you go with me?" Yeah I was #3 on the list, high school dances and all that drama, not so fun.

Lane said...

Oh, how I miss the days when we used to dress up and try to look our best. Now, the style is to look like you just got out of bed, or you just hiked over the himalayas. Loved your photos. And, your hair. Lane

Mom said...

It was so fun to see all those dresses again! I had forgotten about some of them. You were so good at doing your hair and at sewing all of those satiny fancy dresses. I guess I shouldn't be so amased at your quiling skills, you have always been a wiz at the sewing machine and everything you do. You have so much talent and artistic ability. Love ya, mom

QuiltNut Creations said...

bubble skirts rocked!
our school didn't do prom; we had banquets because dancing was evil ;). same idea, big hair, shiny dressed, dyed shoes to match(which promptly dyed your feet as well).

you are super talented Elizabeth; way to go with those dresses!

Jill said...

How come you never made a dress for me? I suppose because I was 10 years behind you, when it came around to my turn I didn't realize that you made all those dresses. Amazing.
I had to ask for all my dances, too. Except my JR year when I had a boyfriend... who didn't go to my school. I often wondered if that is why no one asked. Because I had a BF.
But, then you grow up, and life goes on, doesn't it?