How To Style Your Prom Look

Nazy Rafaeil
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Jovani sheer light pink prom dressBegin your prom styling journey by choosing the perfect prom dress, which is the foundation of your entire look.

Prom. It’s the penultimate high school celebration. The special occasion results in the culmination of four long years of studying, stressing, jubilation, tears, joy, and friendship. It’s a big event for every teenage girl, giving her a moment to shine and celebrate her beauty.

Many a teen dramedy (dramatic comedy) has focused on prom night. To name a few, 16 Candles, Mean Girls, and the terrifying Carrie. It’s an experience that resonates deeply with so many of us.

Remembering prom’s past reminds us of our most memorable high school experiences. Meanwhile, current high schoolers are looking forward to their prom next year. They’re hoping it will be an unforgettable night that they look back on fondly for decades.

Many girls worry about styling their prom look. The stress of pulling together a cohesive & stunning prom outfit is a universal one. That’s why we’re here to help you out.

As if it’s not hard enough to find the perfect prom dress, you have to match all your accessories.  Once your accessories have been purchased, you must worry about your hairstyle and makeup. These all have to match your overall look.

Luckily for our high school fans, we have compiled a great guide on how to style your 2017 prom look. We’re covering everything from earrings and bracelets to ballgowns and bows. We’ve covered you with our easy-to-follow steps on dressing for the big day.

We’ve broken things down for our readers into five simple categories: hair, makeup, jewelry, shoes, and purses. Pull together the perfect look and be named prom queen for your trendsetting, beautiful style.

How To Choose a Prom Hairstyle Emerald one-shoulder glitter prom dress

Prom hairstyles should always complement your dress and face shape. When you are trying to figure out which hairstyle to choose for prom, keep in mind the following:

  1. The neckline of your dress: High Necklines, like a bateau, halter, or gown with sleeves, look great with an updo. By sweeping the hair up and off your neckline, the style and shape of the dress can shine. Strapless, plunge necklines, and sweetheart necklines are low enough that they do not compete with your hairstyle. A glamorous side part and a little old Hollywood glamour curl may be all you need to finish your look.
  2. The shape of your face: Long, oval, and rectangular-shaped faces look beautiful with up-swept hair with some volume. Consider choosing a half-up prom hairstyle if you have a round or heart-shaped face. Alternatively, go all down with a bit of volume at the roots, plus some waves or curls if you have long hair.

How to Choose Prom Makeup

As with your prom hairstyle, choosing prom makeup depends on various factors. To find the perfect look, we recommend the following:

  1. Comb through Pinterest or magazines to gather inspiration and ideas for your favorite makeup looks.
  2. Once you’ve chosen your prom dress, narrow down the ideas by eliminating the ones that do not compliment your dress style/overall look.
  3. After eliminating the ones that will not work, further narrow down your selection. You can do this by noticing trends and similarities between your favorite makeup looks. Then, put the different styles in piles. See if you can pick a makeup look from the most inspirational photo pile. That is likely the makeup look that resonates most with you.
  4. Take your favorite inspirational photos to a makeup counter at the mall. Have the salespeople help you pick the right products to recreate that look. When buying makeup, the salespeople usually test the colors on you. They can give you tips and tricks if you plan on doing your own makeup for prom night. The best part? If you find someone who creates your desired look, you can book them for prom day. They can then do the same look.
  5. If you want a professional hair and makeup artist to do your beauty look, take inspirational photos of them—no need to purchase your makeup beforehand. Professional makeup artists often give you a small touch-up kit you can take to prom with you. If they don’t offer, ask to have a bit of lipstick and concealer for your purse. Then, you can reapply after dinner and break a sweat on the dance floor.

How to Choose Prom Jewelry

Finding the perfect jewelry to coordinate with your prom dress is fun. If you aren’t sure what style you want, comb through images of styled prom outfits. Look at dresses that are similar to your own.

Like choosing a hairstyle, choosing your prom jewelry depends greatly on your dress style. Here are some tips:


Long sparkly earrings look nice with dresses with a very clean neckline (bateau, high neck) or a lower neckline (plunge, sweetheart, strapless). If your dress already has a lot of detail at the top, skip the large earrings. Choose a smaller, simpler pair instead. Rhinestone studs are always a good choice and go with nearly any style.


Bracelets and bangles should be kept delicate and with a bit of sparkle. Bulky bangles or layering too many can distract from the beauty of your dress.


As with bracelets, keep things simple. Choose one large statement ring that complements the colors and style of your prom dress. Alternatively, go for a few delicate stackable rings.


Necklaces are the trickiest item to pair with a prom dress. There is not much room for a necklace between earrings (a must-have) and a dress. There are only a few dress-style scenarios where a necklace would add and not detract from the overall look.

The best dress to pair a necklace with is a strapless prom gown. That’s because there is a lot of bare skin on the neck and chest to ‘dress up’ with jewelry. The other kind of prom dress that can benefit from a necklace is a bateau neckline with simple fabric and little embellishments.

However, less is more for many prom dress styles, and you should steer clear of necklaces.

How to Choose Prom Shoes

Shoes are one of the most fun items to style with your prom look. The best thing about your prom shoes is that you will have many chances to wear them again. That means you can choose a pair that you adore. When hunting down the perfect prom shoes, ensure they complement and don’t distract from your dress.

Strappy heels and stilettos are great because of their delicate look. Many prom dress styles have a high slit, so your shoes will peek out and play a major role in your overall prom look. A strappy shoe is best for dresses made of silk, tulle, and other ethereal, lightweight fabrics.

If strappy prom shoes sound too uncomfortable, consider a peep-toe pump to go under your gown. High school gym floors are not the most comfortable for dancing on top of all night long. Pumps can provide more support and comfort than strappy stilettos.

Our final recommendation on prom shoes is to bring a comfy change of flats that match your dress. Prom is about dancing the night away and having fun. You need to be comfortable to dance and enjoy yourself. Packing a pair of lightweight, comfy prom shoe flats in your purse is a great way to ensure you have the best time all night long.

How to Choose Prom PursesJovani royal blue strapless prom ballgown

Once you have your dress and your shoes chosen, it’s time to find a purse or clutch that goes nicely with the rest of your prom look. Though there are many small clutches in fashion, we caution against choosing the absolute smallest purse.

That’s unless you have a larger bag to tote around your necessities! Be sure to check back on our blog for an article with more details about prom purses and what you should carry in them later. For now, be sure to have room for the following:

  • Makeup touch-ups
  • Small brush and bobby pins
  • Cash, credit cards, and ID card
  • Phone
  • Change of shoes
  • Stain removal kit
  • Snack bar or a bag of trail mix to keep your energy up
  • Bandaids or blister sticks in case of blisters from too much dancing

Now that you’ve read all about the elements you need to style the perfect prom look, tell us: What is your prom style inspiration? Hollywood Glamour, Ethereal Fairy, Gilded Beauty, or Bohemian Princess? We want to hear how you plan to get your look – tell us all about it in the comments section.

Remember, styling is just one aspect of planning the perfect prom night; consider all details for a memorable experience.

As you explore various ways to style your prom look, it’s essential to stay ahead of the fashion curve. Our article on 2024 Prom Dress Trends: Cute, Trendy Styles offers a sneak peek into the future of prom fashion, showcasing the latest and most fashionable trends. Whether you’re looking for inspiration or eager to discover what’s next in prom attire, this article is a must-read for anyone aiming to create a stunning, trendsetting look for their special night.

Return to The Ultimate Prom Manual

Last updated 6 months ago.

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