Pretty for Prom

Summer is made for soirees. Whether you’re preparing for a Sweet 16, quinceanera or the annual formal, local boutiques and salons have you covered.

The Shopper

Pretty for Prom
Summer is made for soirees. Whether you’re preparing for a Sweet 16, quinceañera or the annual formal, local boutiques and salons have you covered. by Amy Kates

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Writing this month’s column forced me to dig out old prom photos, and I realized two things: I shouldn’t have spilled soda all over myself minutes after I arrived (true story), and I should have gone short.

Thing is, when I was groovin’ to Vitamin C’s “Friends Forever,” short dresses weren’t so fab. But short dresses are fierce for this year’s prom, sweet 16 party or quinceañera. So if you and your daughter don’t agree on style, pop into Claire’s Fashions (1312 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, 798-1312) to see for yourself. Check out Alyce Designs and Faviana, lines short on fabric but tall on style. Taffeta, tulle, pick-up, bubble, chiffon—the possibilities are endless.

Short dresses are poppin’ for prom, but quinceañera is all about the big entrance. You can’t help but up the drama with a dress from web-based Christina Gowns (Magnolia, 335-0535, With floor-sweeping elegance, its quince gowns dazzle in bold colors and fabrics from hot designers such as Amy Lee, Tiffany Designs, Allure and DaVinci. Also check out the silk roses. Scatter them down the aisle so you and your chambelan can stroll in style.

You sweet 16ers need a dress, too. In my humble opinion, the quintessential frock for you is at Macy’s (Christiana, Concord and Dover malls). A De Laru gown, the short, bubble-skirted, baby pink stunner is trimmed in sequins, with an adorable satin bow on the hemline. At less than $110, it’s a steal.

Not satisfied? Check out the Calvin Klein collection. With their soft pastels and demure silhouettes, the dresses are perfect summer treats. My moment of zen: the jade and rhinestone Jessica McClintock minidress. Parading around Macy’s in it, I realized I needed a party invite, stat.

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If you refuse to have another merrymaker rocking the same duds as you, call Wendy at Wendy’s Dressmaking and Alterations (2105 W. Newport Pike, Wilmington, 993-0663). If you flipped for the glam red, one-shoulder number Katherine Hiegl donned at the Oscars, Wendy can make it happen.

The dress is only half the battle. You’ll need to bling it out, so go where everybody knows your aim: Tiger Lili (Christiana and Concord malls and Rehoboth Beach). You’ll find accessories of a decidedly urban persuasion. My fave was the rhinestone envelope necklace for $29. What’s inside? Perhaps the announcement that you just won prom queen.

Any belle of the ball needs essentials: lipgloss, blotting papers and a fragrant spritzer. Find it all and more at Houppette (3842 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 421-9036), a cosmetics diva’s haven. The Lucy B lipgloss is a must. Carry your stash in an über-chic bag from Blair Elizabeth (

110D Rehoboth Ave.

, Rehoboth Beach, 227-3363). The Audrey Rose clutch is, well, clutch.

Ditch the rigid up-do this party season. Instead, go to great lengths at Bad Hair Day? (101 N. Boardwalk, Atlantic Sands Hotel, Rehoboth Beach; 45 Lake Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-4247). During your free extension consultation, you’ll work with a stylist to choose the best texture and length for you.

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Now that you’ve outfitted yourself, Fulton Paper and Party Supplies (Hockessin, Middletown, Newark and Wilmington) will outfit your fiesta. Ignore the Hannah Montana decor. There are fabulous finds for the teenage set. For quince, check out chic plates and napkins so swank, I’d consider them for my upcoming birthday bash.

There are also candies printed with mis quinces in sweet pink calligraphy, a cake topper, quince T-shirts and elegant stem wear: a glass engraved with “mis quince” for you, and one with chambelan for him.

Score a Sweet 16 tiara, disco ball, tropics-inspired inflatable decorations, and an array of goodies such as sweet 16 organza gift bags and photo albums. Guests who are lucky enough to score invites to the parties can wrap them up in style with leopard-print gift bags and tissue paper.

The thing is, no matter what you buy or what you wear, you have to feel gorgeous. Anything can ruin the big night. So roll out the red carpet and party it up. And avoid any dark-colored liquids—at least until your hands stop shaking.

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