Many of my readers have children who are currently off from school on March Break.

For March, I thought I would share the experience of my daughter Layla, who will be graduating from high school later this year.

For her, this is the year of The Prom.

Over to you, Layla.

THE PROM

Layla Wade

My name is Layla Dade and I’m a high school senior in the American midwest who will be graduating soon. As a rite of passage, I’ll be attending my senior prom in May of this year. The names of

the young women who are going for Prom Queen of Mickey High School will be changed to protect the innocent.

These are my words.

Day 45

It’s time to buy a dress. Since I’m going out for Prom Queen, this is no easy task. As one of the nominees, we are expected to slay.

Slay sl-āy (n.) The process of one person looking magnificent. Beating out all of one’s competitors in look, style, grace, and manners.

The competition is immense.

There is Nicky. She’s very popular and everyone likes her. She also works at the local food hangout and reportedly is handing out free milkshakes for people who promise to vote for her.

Not good for me.

Next, there is Raven. She’s the smartest girl in school and people naturally like her. If she wins, she’ll be the first lesbian prom queen in our school’s history.

Then there is me, Layla Dade. Not necessarily the smartest or the most popular girl of Mickey High School, but people know who I am. As a dance major, and a member of the elite dance troupe in

the school, we help put on many of the school productions and plays.

I have been planning my prom since I was a freshman in high school. I’ve studied colors, dress styles, makeup, jewelry, and hairstyles relentlessly. The Prom is an important time in a woman’s

life where she comes out to the world. For a few hours, she’s treated like a princess and gets to be the total opposite of what she’s shown to her classmates for the past four years of school.

She’s transformed from a ponytail presented in a uniform with her head in a book, to an elegant creature clad in heels, wearing chandelier earrings, and lots of tulle.

She is Cinderella and The Jock or The Preppy Guy is her Prince Charming.

The teachers get to be the evil stepsisters off to the side trying to remember when their waist size didn’t correlate with their age. It’s a magical time in life that everyone remembers and I

plan to remember mine and have fun.

The Dress

For the young woman going to prom, “The Dress” is the most important thing. It will distinguish her against the other two hundred or so young ladies that are there. “The Dress” is everything.

Twenty years from now, it will be the true measure of who she is. For the first ten years of her life, it’ll be “Wow! What a beautiful dress you picked! You look amazing!” For the rest of her

life it will be, “Wow! You can still fit into that thing! What a beautiful figure you have! You look amazing!”

Only a woman’s wedding dress will take precedent over any other item of clothing that she owns. Until she walks down that aisle hearing, “Oh Promise Me”, her prom dress is the second most

important item of clothing that she will own. So you have to make it amazing.

First, a young woman should decide if she wants to buy off the rack or have a dress designed and created. While they both have its pros and cons, this decision should be made fairly quickly. If

you’re going to have a dress created, you need to find a good seamstress and fast. This will take time, especially if the seamstress is popular and have other orders to complete.

You should have your seamstress picked by December if you’re going this route. For the rest of us, we’re going to find our perfect dress off the rack.

The Hair Salon

I’m thinking about this dress. So far, my stepdad hates it, so that means I’m on the right track. My mother is not crazy about the price tag either, so this dress could be a winner.

Notice the red clutch! Use complimentary colors!

Then, there is this dress.

The Hair Salon

Black goes with pretty much everything, but I want to keep in mind how many other girls will be wearing black this year.

It’s a popular “go-to” color for those that aren’t sure about their **cough** figures. Black hides everything. Well, almost everything.

This is also another dress that I had my eye on.

My mother wasn’t crazy about it, but with it’s dual design, finding accessories to match can be a challenge. This two piece dress is popular but it’s

starting to be overdone as a look. Beware, some schools don’t even allow this look so check with your guidelines.

High slits, plunging necklines, and low backs are also risqué. If you’re going to do a dress that’s risqué, avoid including all of these in one dress. A dress with a high slit, plunging

neckline, and a low back, is not a dress, it’s an arrest-able offense. Choose one of these if you want to cause some sensation.

Finding accessories can be a challenge with any dress, however the look this year is to not look for exact matches for everything.

If you have a red dress, you don’t necessarily need red shoes and a red bag to match. To make a more interesting ensemble, choose another color that compliments each other. If you need help, find

a complimentary color wheel to help you find which colors compliment or contrast with each other. If you’re wearing black, then a deep purple accessory could make your look pop. I know that I

will keep this rule in mind as I continue the search for “The Dress.”

Another problem that I’m coming across is …

The Look-A-Like

The worst thing is to show up in a dress that another girl is wearing. I’ve had nightmares about this very thing. (Shudders) Many girls get their dresses created to avoid this very issue. It

takes away from the originality. Since I’m running for Prom Queen, it is important that my dress is original. I don’t want to blend in with everyone else. I want to look different and I want to

live up to everyone’s expectations. When you’re running for Prom Queen, everyone is looking for your dress to be extra special so a lot of extra thought has to be taken.

One dress designer informed me that girls are going for more slim-fitting dresses with lots of color this year. The dress that I’m looking for will stand out more than everyone else and cost

will factor greatly. I figure, the more expensive a dress is, the more one-of-a-kind it will be.

Dress Type

The Hair Salon

Courtesy Idojour.

The most popular style dress is the mermaid style. Why? Because it’s the most flattering type of dress for nearly all women. It tends to flatter all shapes. It also makes you look long and show

off nice lines.

Another popular style is the ball gown type. If you want to look like a princess from a castle, this is the dress that you would choose. The A-Line dress is popular as well with those who like

a traditional look. It’s simple and comfortable. For those that like to dance and be wild, it will flow and move with you.

If you want to stand out, a high-low or a mini dress would definitely do the trick. Dresses with trains tend to be overrated as well. While they are impressive, they are restrictive and be careful when

people start dancing. Your train could get trampled and things can spill.

There are some dresses where the train is removable. Those would be preferable if you want to have a good time.

Color

You and your date should decide on this together. I chose the color with my boyfriend. I choose colors based on what I like. Trying to be one of a kind, many girls go for colors that are

different so that they will stand out. Jewel tones are popular, but you are guaranteed that many other girls will use those colors. So if you went for burnt orange, pale yellow, coffee brown,

and forest green, more likely your dress will be one of a kind and stand out. Those are risky colors but if one could pull them off, that young lady could make a splash and create a memorable

dress for years to come. They’ll still be talking about that dress in ten years. The most overrated colors this year are burgundy and maroon. Lots of dressmakers use that color when they make

sample dresses. Deep purple is another color that is overrated and overused.

Necklines

An overrated neckline is a bandeau top. Want an old fashioned look? Go for the “sweetheart” neckline. Want something more chic? Go for a halter-top neckline. Want a classic look? Off the

shoulder. Depending on the neckline of your dress, don’t overdo it with your accessories. If you have a high neckline, you don’t need a necklace or wear your hair on your shoulders. You don’t

want to do too much. Simple can go a long way.

There are so many ways to stand out when it comes to prom. Looking for some alternatives? A stylish pantsuit. Or perhaps shorts. Think outside the box. For those that have deep cultural ties to

their roots could wear dresses made from kente cloth. Some could wear dirndls, kilts, or saris.

The key is to just have fun. I’m going to have a lot of fun. The Prom is just two months away and there is a lot to be done. Follow me as I go through the world of hair, transportation, makeup,

shoes, accessories, and my date. The campaign for Prom Queen will not be easy, but I have some tricks up my sleeve.

Stay tuned.

@SupermodelSonya