‘This has been the most diverse year’

by | Jun 17, 2024

Those helping dress graduates for prom say 2024 trends are fluid

It’s that time of year again—prom season. It’s an exciting time full of proposals and fittings. Each year, there are new styles of dresses and tuxedos, trends often inspired by award shows, pop culture, and influencers.

This year’s lineup of dresses and tuxedos is full of colour and fun details. In 2024, it’s not just about what is being worn but also about who is wearing it. Regardless of gender, graduates are wearing what they want so they can feel their best.

This year’s popular dress styles are full of sparkles, lace, open-backs, and slit skirts. When it comes to colour, hot pink and soft lilac are popular among buyers.

Katie Bursey owns Lena and Mae Bridal, a Woodstock dress shop specializing in formal gowns. She says some of this year’s trends are inspired by The Barbie movie, which sparked a hot-pink craze. She also sees the influence of season two of Bridgerton, which features sophisticated gowns in various soft colours and shades of lilac.

In past years, two-piece or elegant dresses featuring high halter necks were trending. This year, however, the majority of gowns sold are one-pieces with plunging or scoop necklines.

“Throughout your life, you won’t have many opportunities to wear a floor-length gown, so you might as well go all out in a bright colour with lots of lace or sparkle,” said Bursey.

Retro styles, including checkered jackets are trending with Collins Clothiers tuxedos, which can be rented through Fashion Today in downtown Woodstock. (Submitted photo)

Margie McGuire owns Fashion Today and has been offering tuxedo rentals in western New Brunswick for over twenty years. She says traditional black and sleek tuxedos are popular this year.

“I’ve rented more black tuxedos this year than ever,” said McGuire.

She noted that colours like burgundy are a fan-favourite upriver, especially in the Grand Falls area. Updates from McGuire’s tuxedo supplier show greys and blues as favourites this year in areas outside the River Valley.

Similar to dresses, tuxedo trends draw inspiration from pop culture, especially the Academy Awards. This generation is influenced by current styles and also draws inspiration from fashions that trended decades ago.

“The seventies is a big inspiration,” said McGuire.

This year, tuxedos can also be seen with bigger, looser sleeves or in various prints and colours. This season, Collins Clothiers has introduced a loden green tuxedo and a checkered print jacket.

Cinderella’s Closet, a volunteer group in the River Valley that supplies graduates with dresses and tuxedos for free, says customers this year are not going with popular styles but rather what feels right to them.

“They don’t really follow trends; they just kind of go with what they’re comfortable in more than anything,” said volunteer Sabrina Monteith.

Some of the many dresses that have been donated to Cinderella’s Closet. (Paige Morgan photo)

Tanya Cloutier also belongs to the group. She says most graduates who visit Cinderella’s Closet tend to gravitate toward colour rather than design.

“This year it’s been all over the place. We’ve had some take black, some pink, and some yellow, this year has been the most diverse year,” she said.

The trend Cinderella volunteers notice is more about comfort and confidence than a specific design.

“Sometimes they might have an idea of what they like in a photo, but it might not always be the right dress for their body type,” said volunteer Kerry Culberson. “Once they try on a dress that accentuates all the right parts, they feel like a million bucks.”

“Everyone is so happy when they leave,” added volunteer Laurie Anderson.

Gender fluidity has become more common; clothes of all styles and colours have universally been worn by men, women, and non-binary people. Prom is no exception. McGuire said she has had more women purchase tuxedos in recent years than in the past.

Larger centres in Canada have embraced gender fluidity the most. Bursey noted that it is “refreshing” to see the local shift in prom attire.

“We encourage you to wear whatever makes you feel like you,” said Bursey.

The women of Cinderella’s Closet have noticed a significant change in what graduates want to wear. They have seen just as many graduates wanting to wear tuxedos as gowns and have had students come to them asking if they accommodate those who wish to embrace gender fluidity.

“We don’t care what they wear; what matters is that they feel like the best version of themselves,” said Culberson. “There is something for them and they don’t have to feel left out.”

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