What the best-dressed students in Derbyshire will be wearing to their prom this season

Prom night is the most glamorous time of the school year when every student wants to look their best.

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 2:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2022, 3:00 pm
Feel like a princess in this floaty dress from The Prom Shop.
Feel like a princess in this floaty dress from The Prom Shop.

All eyes will be on the gowns, the hair, the make-up and even the transport as prom queens make their grand entrance.

Becoming the belle of the ball can be a costly and emotional business, as any parent who has been through the experience will testify.

But guidance from the experts will make selecting the right gown at the right price an enjoyable occasion.

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Codie Walker, top consultant at The Prom Shop, Clay Cross.

Anne-Marie Scott, began selling prom dresses on the first floor of her bridal gown shop Precious Memories by Anne-Marie in Vicar Lane Shopping Centre, Chesterfield, last year. She said: “I love seeing the girls’ faces when they walk upstairs and see all the sparkly dresses.

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“I know when girls have found the right dress because they keep looking at it and keep coming back to it. They hold themselves differently, they stand up straight, they smile, they do this swishy thing from side to side which is similar to what my brides do.

"What I love is when girls that don’t normally wear dresses come in and start trying dresses on and they start swishing and glowing.

Anne-Marie Scott sells prom dresses and bridal gowns at Precious Memories by Anne Marie in Vicar Lane Shopping Centre, Chesterfield.

“Most girls will come back three times because they're undecided between dresses. Some people know straight away, they'll beeline to it and put it on and say ‘this one’. I offer to store the dresses for free between fittings. It’s a service from start to finish and it’s a privilege to be part of that.”

For many prom students, choosing the dress starts in January so the early bird can have their pick of the glamorous gowns.

Debbie Smart, owner of The Prom Shop on High Street, Clay Cross, said: “Once a dress has been sold to one school we would not sell that dress to another girl at the same school. The sooner they get in, the more choice they have and the less chance of missing out on the dress that they want.”

The Prom Shop sells around 200 dresses a year, ranging from £180 to £400. Debbie said: “We’ve got one this year which is very beaded with feathers at the bottom of it – it’s a one-off dress that costs about £700 and we’ve sold it to one of the schools.”

Anna-Marie likes to keep a minimum of 50 prom dresses in stock which can be ordered in different colours. Prices range from £99 to £550 with customers spending on average £200.

She said: “I keep an eye out for current trends and what the girls are asking for. The favourite colour is red and the two most popular styles are slinky, slim-fitted and sexy or a full ballgown this year.

"Girls these days are wanting something more mature looking and they want to be acknowledged as a young adult.”

Debbie, who opened The Prom Shop in 2020, said: “Teal is shining through this year, previously it was navy and red. We have sold equal amounts of fitted and ballgown type dresses.”

Both Anne-Marie and Debbie have noticed similar reactions when teenagers find their perfect dress. Anne-Marie said: “You can tell they’re overwhelmed –they’ll say ‘oh my gosh – I’ve found my dress and there’s some deep emotion there. It’s normally the mums who cry seeing their daughters in these beautiful gowns.” Debbie said: “The girls’ reaction is varied – some get really excited, others say ‘yeah, it’s okay’. From their mums, it’s mainly tears.”

Neither of the business owners had proms when they were at school. Anne-Marie, 33, said: “They started doing prom two or three years after I left school. I missed getting ready for the prom and the big dress, so I live vicariously through my prom girls and their experiences. Girls send in photographs and say ‘thank-you so much, everyone loves my dress, they never expected me to wear this style’. It's lovely to hear back from them.”

Debbie, 52, who launched The Prom Shop next door to her bridal gown business, said: “I love seeing the photos of the girls on prom nights. – just to be able to see their pictures and be part of that is really nice and makes it special.”