The silhouettes vary from clingy to fit-and-flair to high-low hemlines, but one element is consistent across the racks at Celestial Brides in Johnstown — everything has shimmer and sparkle.
Shop owner Sharon Honkus said this year’s trends take glitzy inspiration from the red carpet.
“I’ve been here 15 years. This is the first year I can honestly say there isn’t anything in prom that isn’t pretty,” Honkus said. “It’s all very glamorous.”
Nude-colored fabrics returned again this year, she added, as well as black, but standout shades like red and orange also are hot sellers.
Though the short prom dress trend isn’t strong among local teens, Honkus said the high-low hemlines have become popular because they offer the fun of a cocktail-length dress in front and the sophistication of the long, flowing gown in back.
Finding the perfect gown is first on any teen girl’s checklist for prom, she added.
“Sometimes, they get the dress before the date,” Honkus said, with a chuckle.
It’s a similar story at the Bridal Suite & Pageant Boutique along Town Centre Drive in Richland Township, where prom orders started late last year, owner Ronnie Weaver said.
“We are seeing a little bit of everything this year, with each girl selecting something that represents her own style,” Weaver said. The styles range from A-line to sweetheart to traditional ball gown prom dresses, she added.
Accessories that glitter — the “bling” — are essential, too.
Weaver said big earrings, dripping with faux gemstones, bracelets and fashion-forward shoes pull an ensemble together.
And the extras don’t end there.
Any more, a corsage is more than an afterthought, said Tammy Peterman, owner at A Touch of God’s Garden floral shop in Stoystown.
Prom gals are asking for more sparkle than traditional arrangements for halfway up the forearm, she said. They want designs that feature wire, gemstones, feathers and sequins. The base for many of her designs are stretchy faux pearl or gemstone bracelets.
“When the flowers are done, then you have a piece of jewelry,” Peterman said. “I like to keep up with trends.”
The flowers themselves are pared down and not always the focal point of the arrangement, she said. For example, a big Gerber daisy might be the only flower in a corsage. Even the boutonnieres are often made with a little sparkle, Peterman added.
“The bling is the thing now,” she said.
For best results, she said, girls should stop by, not just call. That way they can look through boxes of ribbon and sparkly accessories, the makings of a custom corsage.
The shimmer doesn’t stop with the girls, either.
In addition to scores of traditional and eye-popping shades (like sunny yellow and lime green), vest-makers now are offering “metallic” vest hues, so that guys can match the glam look popular for teen girls, said Randy Clark, co-owner at Miller’s Formal Wear in downtown Johnstown.
“It really matches up with the gowns,” Clark said. “It’s all about color match.”
Men’s fashions also take a cue from pop culture, he added. For example, a new line of tuxes gets its moniker from the Twilight movie and book series.
Though classic black tuxes are always in style — the store carries 22 different styles in that shade alone — gray is big this year, Clark said. The store will open another location in The Galleria in Richland Township for a few weeks, beginning in late March, to make it convenient for local guys to stop by.
Many, he said, will bring in swatches from their dates’ dresses.
“They take it very seriously, almost as serious as a wedding,” Clark said.