As the warm weather rolls around, invitations to BBQs, graduations, communions, christenings, showers, and weddings seem to increase tenfold. But there’s another event that comes with the summer that makes us reminisce about our teenage years – PROM! There definitely weren’t any pod people, pregnant girls or punches thrown at our high school proms, but there definitely were at the following fictional dances! Here are our ten favorite prom dresses from some beloved television shows and teen flicks.
This is definitely the darkest story out of our selected favorites, but it’s our number one choice – Megan Fox in the black comedy Jennifer’s Body. Written by the Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, this film bombed at the box office, but it’s actually quite underrated. Fox plays a smoking hot succubus, and while the plot sounds insane, it actually has some very slick commentary on feminism and sexuality. And it also has a very pretty black and white prom dress! (Shocker, can you guess what colors this editor wore to her own prom…?) Jennifer might have seduced and killed half the school’s male population by this point in the film (it looks like she isn’t done either, by the photo above), and is headed straight to hell, but at least she still looks good!
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Considering Buffy Summers was my hero as a teenager, it’s no shocker this is #2 on our list. Sarah Michelle Gellar played the tiny hero of Sunnydale, fighting off vampires, demons and the devil in the TV series, based on the 1992 film of the same name. Buffy has one of the prettiest prom gowns, but she also happens to have the best accessory – after years of being treated like an outcast at her high school, her classmates come to realize most of them are alive due to her fierce protection, and create an award just for her: an umbrella labeled “Class Protector.” Considering she had to kill several demonic dogs targeting teenagers in formal wear before she even arrived, it’s amazing she still got to the dance on time looking so pretty! But that’s always been Miss Summers’ MO. And she still managed to fit in a dance with the original hot vampire boyfriend, Angel (sorry Edward Cullen – you don’t compare to this guy!)
3. Dawson’s Creek
Oh my, the greatest teen soap opera to ever air has to be included! This editor still gets choked up watching old reruns of the WB hit. The ultimate girl-next-door, Joey Potter, goes from tomboy to a young woman caught between the two loves of her life in this episode of Dawson’s Creek. When it came to prom, the love triangle between the three lead characters was still a huge problem. After their friend, Jack, isn’t allowed to bring a male date to the high school prom, the gang hosts their own “Anti-Prom.” Joey, normally a cute girl in plaid and jeans, chose a slinky black dress for the affair. Although her date was actually Dawson, there’s no denying the intense chemistry she has for his best friend, Pacey.
As a preteen, I wanted to be Buffy, and as a child I wanted to be Mrs. Michael J. Fox – mainly because of this movie. Fox plays Marty McFly, a guitar-playing tough teen who accidentally time travels to 1955 – the year his parents met! He ends up preventing their meet-cute from ever happening, so he has to recreate it – and plans to do so at the “Enchantment Under the Sea” dance. His mother, played by Lea Thompson, wears an adorable strapless soft pink pindot dress. Thompson recently commented that she had kept the dress from the film – and plans on selling it on eBay to put towards her daughters’ college educations!
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie)
The TV show was definitely superior to the film on which it was based, but it was still fun. And still well-dressed apparently! It may be 1992, but Kristy Swanson looks so elegant in her white halter gown with a sophisticated bun, you barely notice the dead guy lying next to her.
6. She’s All That
Aw, there was certainly a surge of teen scene flicks in the late 1990s! Here’s one of our favorites – She’s All That. Rachael Leigh Cook plays Laney Boggs, a dorky artist who the king of her high school bets he can make into the prom queen. Freddie Prinze Jr. plays an unusual male lead for these kind of films – a jock with a brain! He smartens up fast, when he realizes he’s falling for his pet project. Laney goes from art freak to alluring siren in this black, body-hugging gown and swept-up hair. She may not win the crown, but she wins what matters – a scholarship to art school and a ticket out of her one-horse town. Oh okay, and she gets the guy too, for you sappy types.
7. One Tree Hill
It’s no surprise this show’s reruns air on the Soap Network – there’s more drama in the fictional town of Tree Hill than the entire state of North Carolina! But it doesn’t mean it isn’t any less captivating! The cast’s prom outfits are all color-coordinated (other than Skills on the right – although that is one kicking coat!) We’ll say the show’s three girls are tied for #7, because Peyton looks lovely in powder blue, Brooke looks beautiful in her sequined mini and Haley looks damn hot in her white halter – considering she’s pregnant!
8. Gossip Girl
For a show dedicated to fashion, we expected more exciting frocks from frenemies Blair and Serena, and while we were quite disappointed in Blake Lively’s alter-ego’s choice, we did like Miss Waldorf’s gown. Although she breaks up with Nate on this episode of Gossip Girl, TV’s favorite mean girl is crowned Prom Queen in this black and gold Marchesa gown.
9. 10 Things I Hate About You
This 1999 romantic comedy is probably the best written film out of the teen hits created over the last 30 years – due in large part to screenwriter Karen McCullah Lutz (a fellow James Madison University grad like this editor – Go Dukes!) Her adaptation of the William Shakespeare play The Taming of the Shrew was fiercely funny and launched the careers of Julia Stiles and the late Heath Ledger. Stiles plays an independent girl named Kat Stratford, and although she isn’t too interested in high school, she is eventually talked into attending prom – and she shows up looking quite lovely in a cornflower blue gown, matching silk wrap, her mother’s pearls and a red rose for her swept-up curls.
10. Saved by the Bell
Okay, this prom get-up obviously isn’t a gown, but it still remains one of our favorites. The ultimate all-American high school girl, Kelly Kapowski (played by Tiffani Amber Thiessen), had everything a Californian teen can dream of – cool friends, popularity, a handsome boyfriend, good grades and a position on the cheerleading squad, but there was one thing she was missing by the end of high school – money. Kelly’s father lost his job close to the prom, so she couldn’t afford a dress or a ticket. But don’t worry – she had the best date, Zack Morris! After finding out his girlfriend couldn’t go, he held their own private prom outside the school, complete with a picnic and dancing. It may have been in jeans, but attending prom with a guy that wasn’t taking you as part of a bet, or because he was paid to, or because his first choice was going with someone else, is certainly a lot more important than the dress. (Well for some people. This editor was definitely more in love with her Jessica McClintock gown than any date she ever had in high school… In fact, she still is! But hey, that’s just me! 🙂 )