Prom is a special night in everyone’s life. Whether the choice was to stay home with a best friend or to go and dance with everyone’s dreamy high school crush, we're betting everyone remembers where they were that night.
There’s a huge amount of stress that comes with getting dressed up for prom, and we remember when the big night was upon us. Not only did we worry for days leading up to the big night, we tried and tried to find a special, outstanding dress that would let everyone see our originality and creativity. Sometimes, that works out better in our heads than in actuality. That brightly colored tulle thing on the rack might end up looking more like a rocket pop than a beautiful, unique prom dress. That pink, long-trained gown might be a cute idea, but it could end up getting dirty real quick when there’s a bunch of dancing teenagers around.
Prom is a huge experience, and one that many people dream about for most of high school. It’s true proof that graduation is around the corner, and there’s no doubt that people are looking for inspiration. Pro tip: don’t take advice from these people when shopping for a prom dress. These are 18 dresses that are guaranteed to get these teens on the worst-dressed list.
18 These two were really going for king and queen
Is that…duct tape? Honestly, we wouldn't even be surprised. We absolutely hate these outfits, and would rather they be put in a clothing pillory than end up as the fairest prom outfits in all the land. His sleeves look even puffier than her sleeves, which is really saying something. Normally prom dresses have all the poof, so it's a little refreshing to see a guy giving the gowns a run for his money—with just his sleeves alone.
This dude really nailed it on the silver accent front, which is more than we can say for his date. We’re not seeing anything other than a wash of blue on hers, which is disappointing. Nobody wants to be stuck as the one who’s blue at prom. Jokes aside, it really is a poor choice to have one solid color on a prom dress. Giving the dress dimension and accents will make it pop, which her King clearly knew (but he didn’t bother to share). Maybe it was the fact that the two of them ran out of duct tape. There wasn’t enough of the special sparkly stuff to go around, so her details just had to disappear. Oh well. At least they have each other, right?
17 Want to pop at prom? Try pop art!
These two really committed, and that’s all the credit we can give them. The fact that they attached a face to their prom outfits is strange. The pop art homage with the accessories is cute, but they could have just done '60s inspired clothing styles, rather than putting a '60s art icon on their outfits. The white is a good base to carry all the colors, so at least they did that right. The shoes are strange, and we’re guessing they didn’t think their feet would be in the photo.
We are bananas about her purse, which might be the best part of this whole theme.
If she made that we would be incredibly impressed, and might consider adding them to the “not-great-but-not-the-worst dressed” list. Which, trust us, is better than they were doing before we saw that bag. Plus, if we look at that small photo of them in the corner, we can see that the face wraps around the side of their outfits independently too. They don’t even need each other! Not only that, but if people saw them separately they would think that they just arrived in the same outfit (except one of them is pants and one of them is not). Embarrassment as well as a questionable theme? No, thanks.
16 "Where'd my date go?" was uttered at least once that night
We don’t know what the worst part about this is. Whether it’s the poor choices of hair or the fact that her dress does actually blend into the ground. We hate admitting that the camouflage works because it’s such a weird pattern to wear to prom. Would you ever wear this? We think not. Unless your prom was happening outside (and the theme was “hunting”) there’s no reason to wear this pattern. Camouflage is great when using it for its actual purpose, but it just looks like a try-hard exclamation of “I GO OUTDOORS SOMETIMES” when you’re wearing it in any other situation.
We hate the fact that these two decided to waste their prom outfits on these clothes. Also, can we talk about his hair? It’s just spiked up. It’s like he’s a cartoon who got shocked by something, and then he gelled it to keep it that way. How strange. We’ll admit, the fit of the clothes is nice. Both of them look great in the outfits, even if we’re not fans of the pattern. That shouldn't discredit the whole outfit, as they do look quite happy. Just because it’s not our cup of tea doesn’t mean other people hate it.
15 The dress that's eating these two alive
Just so everyone knows, coordinating doesn’t mean that you have to make your outfit out of the same fabric. Coordinating is, like, matching their tie to your dress. Or wearing matching cumberbunds and bow ties. What isn’t coordinating is taking one long piece of fabric, stretching it over both of you and then putting in some well-placed snips to create enough arm and leg holes.
Prom outfits are serious business, and we’re sure that the one who didn’t want this to happen is going to regret it in 10 years when they’re reminiscing about prom at their high school graduation.
Not only that, but there’s definitely some questionable coverage here. Her dress looks like it’s got more holes than fabric, and his outfit looks like it’s just a tube. Dying his hair to match the color of their outfits is a nice touch, and we are liking the fan she’s got. But everything else about this? No, thank you. It looks like the fabric has swallowed them whole! Hopefully, they had some more casual clothes to change into for the after party. We are wondering if this is actually their fault, though. The prom’s theme looks like it’s black, white and red. That pattern does fit the bill, if that’s the case.
14 This year's prom theme was cotton candy
On the topic of weird colors, these two are wearing fabric that people usually grow out of when they’re babies. The soft pink and soft blue is something we'd expect to see on a 6-month-old. We’re also hating the fact that the shininess is seen even in a dimly lit room. While the two girls look happy and are totally rocking it, we’re not fans of the design. The shorter-in-the-front-longer-in-the-back design is like the mullet of the skirt world, which is too much for us to handle on these dresses. We also hate the fact that we can’t tell what the prom’s theme was. Did they inflict these colors on themselves? Or was this school-sanctioned questionable dress selection? Whatever it was, we’re not into it.
The ruffles are nice, so that's one positive about these looks. And we are happy that they’re happy. It’s cute to see two versions of the same dress, and it brings some individualization into this adorable pair’s outfits. No doubt they smiled the whole night, knowing that they were wearing what made them feel good (even if it hurt everyone else’s eyes). Also, can we talk about those trains? We have to applaud them for the finger loops. Not only will it make them easier to carry, but you’ll be able to keep them off the floor while they're dancing!
13 Nothing says prom like a Confederate flag dress
Where’s the other half of the flag? Well, let’s point out the fact that you’re probably going to be hard-pressed to find someone who’s willing to dress as the left half of the Confederate flag for prom. We won’t get into the history of it, and we won’t get into what people tend to feel when they look at the Confederate flag. What we will say is the fact that she decided to wear this dress anyway is risky. It’s brave to wear something that can inspire such strong feelings, but we don’t support the choice. This is prom!
We’re sure that she probably loved the sparkle, but there’s a million dresses out there that sparkle. You don’t need to put a flag on it.
Not to mention the fact that it’s not doing great things for her body shape; we think she would have been better served by adding some halter straps and a shape to the dress. By making the skirt either a little more fitted or a little more flared she might have found a better, more hourglass figure. Right now it just looks blocky, chunky and uncomfortable. Plus, that red? Way, way too harsh. It goes without saying, but she really, really wouldn’t be on the best-dressed list.
12 This person who decided to go as a stack of coffee filters
Before you get too distracted laughing at the dude in the zebra jacket, just take a look at her dress. The whole thing looks like a pile of coffee filters. We’re really not sure how she made it or what design she followed. It doesn’t look like she followed a particular pattern with the dress. It looks like she followed four patterns, all mashed-up together. It resulted in a full skirt paired with a tutu, along with a ridiculously shaped top part of the dress. It must have taken so much…duct tape? Are these other duct tape outfits? While we know that there’s a reason so many people create their prom outfits out of duct tape, it’s not our favorite trend.
The fact that so many people think of themselves as “DIYers” is encouraging; we always need more people who are able to craft things and create things. Unfortunately, the people that like to craft and the people who have a clear creative vision aren’t always in the same boat. Some people are incredibly strong creatives, but they just don’t have the kind of fine motor skills that are needed to make things. Some people, like this couple, don’t exactly know what style is…but they’re definitely good with the tape and scissors!
11 Models can make many things look different
OK, this tweet gets us laughing like nothing else. Not only is the way the dress looks quite funny, but there’s also the sheer disappointment that must have happened. While everyone always says tells people not to buy a dress online, it’s impossible to really know the extent of how bad they can be until one actually shows up. It’s so terrible that this is a prom dress, but so funny in any other situation. While we hope this person was able to get their money back, it doesn’t seem likely.
If this thing was absolutely this bad, we’re sure that there’s probably no saving it. Getting a new one won’t help anything, even if the size goes up. What the picture looks like is not at all what the dress looks like, right down to the shape of the neckline. The beading looks totally different, not to mention the fact that the color is totally off. It’s not that we hate the color, but it certainly doesn’t look like the way the picture shows it. Plus, just look at the bottom of that dress. If they go any bigger size-wise the length is going to be way off. Hopefully, there was time to fix it because there’s no way she could show up to prom in this pink monstrosity and live it down.
10 Need to save money on prom? Up-cycle your boyfriend's old jersey!
Wondering what to wear from prom? With all those fancy options out there, it can be hard to decide. Are you a ball gown person or a sleek and silky person? What about a short dress? Or something bedazzled? Do you want to buy it new or secondhand? There are SO many options. If you’re stuck, there’s always the option to do something bold and different. You don’t have to worry about anybody copying you, and there’s no worry about whether or not the store will run out of your size.
The best way to ensure that you find the perfect bold and different look is to make it yourself, like this person did.
While we appreciate the fact that it’s awfully creative, and certainly shows off her passion for sports, we hate the fact that this was worn as a prom dress. It doesn’t scream “I’m graduating.” It screams “I needed to wear something.” Sigh. This is your special night! If she feels proud about walking around in that, we won’t judge. We’re just looking at it from our perspective, and our perspective is this—the dress needs to look good as well as making you look good. Also, sports? Save it for homecoming!
9 Pfft, who needs a date? Keep annoying people away with this fun, subtle dress
We don’t even know what she looks like, we just know that she looks ridiculous. This is a little more traditional than some of the prom dresses we’ve seen so far (see above, for example), but it’s still one of the most ridiculous. Over-the-top and with a questionable fit, this dress could have made a few simple adjustments to be a little more pleasant. The mermaid style of dress, or fit and flares, aren’t the most flattering. This is especially true here, where it shapes her to a certain point and then poofs out too soon. The spikes are reminiscent of some strange and rare Pokémon, or like a pet hedgehog whose owner dyed it blue.
We just don’t understand the point to them. While it’s an impressive feat of dress engineering, we don’t get why she would choose to put the spikes on in the first place. It looks like they aren’t attached to the dress at all; they’re attached to a small shrug that she’s worn on top. Is this so she can take them off? We certainly hope so. You can’t dance with spikes protruding from your body. Maybe it was a joke, and she ended up making everybody laugh. Whatever it was, we’re certain that those spikes wouldn’t land her on any best-dressed list.
8 Prom on a budget: dollar store balloons and letting your little sister do your makeup
Confession time: we aren’t totally sure that this was a prom dress. It looks way too over the top to be anybody’s prom dress, even those that are adamant about being “original.” While we might have believed someone wore balloons to prom if it was carnival themed, the makeup is the part that’s really tipping us off that this might not be for the glamorous occasion we think it’s for. It looks like she got her little sister to do her makeup, which makes the balloons seem all the more clown-y. Not to mention the dangers of having them pop.
If you’re dancing and someone’s got a spiky dress or some sharp sequin action—BAM!
All of a sudden, you’re wearing a dress made of plastic shreds, and the underclothes you attached them to are on full display. While we applaud the time and effort that went into creating this monstrosity, the carnival chic just isn’t doing it for us. We aren’t fans of the fact that it’s got so much potential for disaster, and think that she would have been better off doing a more traditional style of dress. No one wants to worry about accidental popping during prom!
7 Make a statement by raiding your mother's craft bin
Finally, a homemade dress that isn’t made of duct tape! Short prom dresses are a thing in some places. Not everyone wants to do the big and poofy style, and many people think they look better in short dresses than long. Some even decide to combine the two, by doing a long, sheer overlay on top of a shorter, tighter, opaque skirt. Whatever floats your boat, we would say. Different things look good on different people, and what you decide to wear to prom should make you feel good inside more than however good it looks outside. Pom poms, however, are treading that line between too weird and “it feels good.”
While we understand why someone would want to do pom-poms (they’re squishy, soft and really cute) we aren’t sure why they would choose to wear it to such an important occasion. We’re also shocked that she got her prom date to agree to the theme as well. These are not well-made articles of clothing, people! And what’s up with that massive, fabric chunk fringe? We’d rather she did pom poms all the way down than to replace them with these weird squares of fabric. Also, we’re disappointed by the lack of pom-pom jewelry, hair accessories and corsage. If you’re going to do weird pom-pom outfits, you need to go all the way to pull it off.
6 "Ughhhh, prom is, like, so lame"
Do you ever miss the '90s? While some of us are too young to remember the style of the '90s, some know it all too well. Let us tell you, there’s absolutely no reminiscing about the fashion of that decade. Riding the end of the '80s, but also introducing the new wave of grunge, caused one long decade of fashion faux pas. Take, for example, this prom dress. It’s got the bright colors of the '80s, with the neon pink making us think of all those aerobics videos and neon leggings.
The hair buns and the makeup, however, tell us a story of awkward, alternative teenager whose family doesn’t care about her artistic struggle.
The two-piece dress is something that’s actually come back in recent years, but luckily, today’s teenagers are at least ensuring that everything is matching. Unlike this true '90s girl. The cherry on top of this outfit, though? Those platform shoes. Do you remember having those weirdly textured foam flip-flops? We certainly do. We love the way that they felt, but we hate all the strange colors and patterns they came in. These ones are no different, featuring horizontal stripes that are really tying the whole outfit together. Yikes.
5 The hills are alive with the sound of barking
What could be better than bringing your dog as your date to prom? Wearing a dress loosely inspired by your dog and adding a colored sash to make it high fashion. The background really sold us on including this outfit, despite the fact that it would get on any worst-dressed list without question. It’s a little too Sound of Music for our taste, which is also a strange theme for prom. If they’re trying to sell this for teenagers going to prom, they should have tried a more fashion-forward background; or even a solid, plain color. You know, something that shows off the dress instead of making them pine for the plains and foothills of the Netherlands. Most kids travel after graduation, not before.
We believe that they would have been better off with styling that dress differently, too. The shape and the fit is nice. The sleeves are a little strange, but they aren’t terrible. The polka dots though. Why? Why do these exist? We hate the fact that there’s both white and black polka dots. If you’ve got a white dress, you don’t need white polka dots. It makes us feel like we’re seeing double. Or seeing 101 dalmatian spots!
4 We don't know what's funnier: the Creamsicle dress, or the guy with the naughty secret
This is the definition of the word “extra”—and we mean that for both of these outfits. Not only is this girl’s dress ridiculously big but she’s also got a tiara that could rival any top hat. Ostentatious and over-the-top; not to mention so dramatic that it’s overpowering the poor girl! While she does seem to have the strength and composure to pull off the outfit, the dress and the jewelry are just too much together. If it was one or the other, sure.
She could still be the queen she is in a smaller dress; the poof doesn’t dictate how regal you are. You dictate if you’re prom royalty or not.
It seems like her partner here is misbehaving a bit. No doubt she wasn’t happy when she saw this picture, as it seems like she wants everything to be perfect. This guy looks like he just stole the last cookie from the cookie jar is absolutely not helping with that whole “perfection” thing. Also, can we talk about that hat?! It’s really bringing the whole pair down. That dress requires something fancy, even if it does look like a melted creamsicle. The orange and white swirls are just a little too sweet for our taste, even if she’s a fan.
3 Two cool cats who are just trying to express themselves, MOM
“Ugh, mom, you don’t understand! A cat is my inner animal, so I have to wear the ears.” These outfits are too much to handle. One look tells us that this is yet another duct tape creation, but with a strange and uncomfortable twist! Cat ears are fun when it’s Halloween, but they aren’t the best when it comes to prom. The same can be said for that neck-to-wrist chain he’s attached to himself. It makes us a little uncomfortable, especially at the thought of having to dance while wearing it. It would get in the way, wouldn’t it? Probably not as much as her…pants? Underskirt? Leg cages? We’re so confused about that dress. It’s quite short, which means we totally understand why she would want to layer something underneath.
We all want a little protection. The part we don’t understand is the fact that that the coverings aren’t covering anything. They just look like little leg cages with some blue and purple to keep them on theme. Why? What is their purpose? Is it fashion? We’re convinced it’s not, since nothing else in this picture is fashion. They look happy, which is the important part. We wouldn’t wear it, but they certainly are. We can’t fault them for following their dreams, can we?
2 Don't have a date to prom? It's okay-- 'Murica will be your date
What do you do when your best friends all have dates to prom, but you aren’t allowed to go with anyone else? You bring your other best friend, America. America won’t let you down. America will not only have your back but it’ll also have your front in this fabulous dress. The blue torso is lightly speckled with tiny stars, ensuring that the only ostentatious part of the dress is that red and white circus tent of a skirt. If you don’t know what to wear, you can bet that America will know. Try to make sure you take a really regal and poised pose too when you take your pre-prom pictures.
Pretend that you’re gazing up at a large eagle circling overhead. Not only will you feel inspired by the reminder of freedom but you’ll also find that it makes it easy to keep that rigid pose strong.
Sarcasm aside, we actually think that this is a great fitting dress for her. It doesn’t look bad, just a little funny. The pose is really what makes us giggle. The dress itself wouldn’t be on a worst-dressed list…but we also wouldn’t go so far as to put it on the best-dressed list. It’s just a touch too red and blue for our taste. We prefer pastels.
1 We hope it comes with a sock monkey hat too
For all you sock fans out there, this is the dress for you. Now you can party while wearing your favorite stuffed animal—the sock monkey. Cozy, soft and totally loveable, sock monkeys are much appreciated in pop culture. Sock monkey socks are some of the most popular, and the most comfortable. It makes sense as to why people would think that this dress would sell like hotcakes. If the socks are so well-liked, then the dress would obviously do well.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. We don’t know anyone who would want to wear this to prom. What would you top it with? A sock monkey beanie? Would you wear a sock monkey’s face as a corsage as well? What about shoes? While some people like to wear heels and socks, we are definitely not those people. This dress is just too sock monkey themed for our liking.
That’s the problem with most of these prom dresses: they all take one theme and go just a little too far with it. From spike girl to the cotton candy queens to the sports lover and the creamsicle woman, everyone is just taking it too far. We wish we could give these dresses a better review because prom is such a special time. But we can’t. These dresses would never make the best-dressed list, and we all know that that’s a fact.