The dresses of dreams don’t have to give cash-strapped parents nightmares. We asked some would-be prom queens to try out some of the high street’s best bargains and got their verdict on uality, style and wow-factor.
1. Satin Belted Dress: £59, marksandspencer.com
We liked the unusual fawn colour of this shorter dress (which is also available in a gorgeous dusky rose pink an up to a size 22). The sash belt is removable if you’d prefer to add your own and the shot-silk style fabric felt very good quality. Note this style is sold online only, so she can't try on in store.
2. Gracie Embellished Maxi Dress: £45, bluevanilla.com
This one was a winner for testers who weren’t too keen on other super-girly prom frocks. They agreed that the heavy beading and sequins make this dress look more expensive than it is and a higher neckline gets a parental seal of approval too. Though most of our panel went for pretty pastels, navy was seen as a sophisticated choice.
3. Mina Dress: £64.99, chichiclothing.com
Our testers loved the floral look of the bodice and the swishy softness of the double-layer skirt. ‘I feel like a princess’ and ‘it’s the prettiest dress I’ve ever worn’ were just a couple of the comments. It will particularly suits taller girls as some of the prom-goers found the floral straps were on the long side.
4. Premium Collection Mia Maxi Dress: £130, missselfridge.com
This was the dress that got the most reaction from our panel, so not for wallflowers. Some thought it completely OTT, but those who loved it fell hard. The vintage styling of the beads was popular, as was the fitted-to-the-knee silhouette, flaring out with its long chiffon skirt. It’s machine washable too.
5. Coco Melody Short Party Gown: £55, amazon.co.uk
The brilliant thing about this short and sweet prom frock is that it comes in a choice of 18 colours, so everyone can find something to suit. Although fastening with a side zip, there’s a faux lace-up corset at the back and a large bow which detaches, as does the flower corsage on the bodice.
6. Embroidered Waist Maxi Dress: £68, little-mistress.com
The combination of cool mint green pleated chiffon and black lace detail proved a hit with our testers as it was a ‘really different’ colour combination. Not everyone is willing to suffer to be beautiful and the elasticated back and front boning made this the most comfortable dress on trial.
7. Crop Top Placed Scuba Maxi Dress: £120, asos.com
The first thing our testers commented on was the feel and weight of the stretch ‘scuba’ fabric, which feels heavy and luxurious. The hand-painted style florals were a hit, as was the fold-over bodice top. This dress hangs beautifully and gives a flattering, slim silhouette thanks to box pleating at the waist.
8. Jolie Moi Audrey Lace Dress: £75, johnlewis.com
Probably the least ‘showy’ of our choices, our testers thought this pretty lace number should still make the grade as it is a great foundation piece for accessorising and adding personal touches like belts or boleros. It comes in choice of four pastel colours - pink, lavender, blue and white.
9. Embellished Waist Chiffon Dress: £40, axparis.com
Plunging necklines, backless styles and hiked hemlines have seen schools ban some styles for prom, but this dress is just the right side of daring, with its cut-out panels at the waist. Available in coral, nude and aqua colours, we decided this strong coral shade looked best on everyone.
10. Floral Asymmetric Peplum Dress: £60, Jane Norman
We’re told not every prom princess wants a long and froufrou frock. At least one of our testers wanted to slink her way into the school hall and this floral peplum number from Jane Norman got the universal thumbs-up. We’re not sure there will be much energetic dancing in this, though.
The Little Mistress mint green dress was a popular choice – it was just one of many we could have chosen from their fantastic website, packed with prom possibilities. But for a really special occasion dress, the ASOS floral floor-length made our party-goers ooh and aah.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing
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