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It is officially prom season. My kids school is having Prom next weekend. As Prom gets started, April and May are the big months for a lot of school dances. It is probably one of the biggest events that a teenage girl goes through in their lifetime. I thought it would be cool to check out the differences of Prom from years past. It has been a long time since I went to Prom, since I was in High School back in the 80’s.
Did you know that the young people’s dance which is now called prom started back in the early 1900’s. These first proms were less expensive, less elaborate affairs where middle-class teens could practice poise, grace and manners. Back years ago, a boy had to ask the girl in person or maybe a written note, but now days a boy or a girl can ask someone to go to prom and it maybe by a text message or something really big like a big sign.
This era prom pictures erupted in high school yearbooks and stories were printed in school newspapers. It was a really serious business at this time. It was a sign of good citizenship, social graces and community support. They also spent at least four weeks planning for their prom.
At this time frame, some schools put the prom on hold as many American boys went off to fight in World War II and Americans were scrimping and saving for the war effort.
After World War II, proms became more extravagant. This is when we began seeing the modern prom as we know it today. Proms were held in school gyms and were decorated in crepe paper and streamers, a disc jockey might have played popular records or a band might play. Teachers volunteered as chaperones so the punch bowl only contained punch. During this time, heavy competition started as girls wanted to have the best dress, boys wanted the best car, and everyone wanted the best-looking date. This is how the Prom King and Queen came about which is a tradition that still goes on today in many high schools. The prom dress attire was tea-length, swingy poofy dress.
In this decade, proms became more expensive and elaborate. They started holding senior proms in more sophisticated places, like hotel ballrooms, country clubs, local banquet halls and convention centers.
I was a younger kid in the 1970’s, so I am not sure exactly how a 70’s prom was like. Here is the research I found regarding how a prom in 1970’s was. The prom grew in enthusiasm during this decade due to the influence of disco, flashing lights, pulsating dance floors. The prom preparation were rivaling those of weddings. Girls would have their nails and hair done professionally and buying expensive dresses which were floor-length. The boys bought expensive flowers, rented tuxedos, and begged mom and dad to splurge for the stretch limo.
In the 80’s, to be prom king and queen you had to have the biggest hair, fanciest footwear and coordinating pastel ensembles. My first prom I wore a full light pink off the shoulder long prom dress with hoops like the girls wore in the movie, Gone With The Wind, and my date wore a gray tuxedo with a light pink coordinates. It was also big in the day to go to the beauty shop earlier in the day to get your hair completely done up and of course, lots of hair spray. Most girls wore poofy pastel princess dresses with ruffles, metallics, puffy sleeves, huge bows. They teased their bangs and wore colorful eye shadow.
The location of prom in the 80’s we always went somewhere to have our prom, hardly ever held at school. Afterwards, we always had an After Prom which was held at the school. We didn’t go to Kings Island or some other kind of fancy entertainment like a lot of schools do now. The After Prom always had a theme and had activities and games like a mock wedding, dancing, trying different foods. We had one theme which was like being in the west and another one was around the world in 80 days.
This is the year the dresses that the girls wore were shorter dresses. The colors were both pastels and bold colors and the girl’s hair was very big and high. Girls still used the famous “Aqua Net” hair spray which started in the 80’s, to attain maximum hair volume and altitude. The cost of a dress in the 1990’s was about $150.
What was your prom like and what decade was it from?