Prom Inspiration Straight from the Runway

New York stylist Kate Schelter offers her top dressing tips for the big night.

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Next to a wedding dress, what you wear to prom is one of the most memorable outfits in a stylish lady's life. We peeled through spring catwalks to find the most inspiring prom looks. Here, a sleek one-shoulder number in peach accented by a matching pillbox clutch and crystal cocktail ring at Diane von Furstenberg.
New York stylist and brand consultant Kate Schelter advises against the traditional frilly prom fare. "Dresses and gowns with too many ruffles, poufs, and bows are no-no's," she says emphatically. Here, a sleek halter dress in pale mint from Caroline Herrera is finished with a patent leather belt.
In general, Schelter advises against of-the-moment trends that won't age well. "Opt for something more classic, since prom pictures are notorious for looking outdated." Here, a classically flattering wrap-dress in a strong shade of turquoise at Sophie Theallet.
A flawless fit is a key prom dress consideration. "Search for elegant tailoring -- but not skin tight -- and cuts with a defined, nipped waist." This fitted navy dress with a swishy skirt and modern cut-out details at the neck would be a perfect prom pick.
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For a more playful prom look, try subtle prints like the polka-dotted pattern on Lela Rose's tiered silk gown.
Not only is ASOS' one-shoulder blue silk dress perfect for a prom (especially with a big gold cuff and glitzy pumps), but it can be dressed down post-graduation with sandals and a straw cap for a chic, summery daytime look. $218 at ASOS.
If tailored looks aren't your style, try a looser, Grecian-inspired silhouette like this drape-neck gown with a sexy skirt slit by Temperley.
A simple clutch bag is a prom night essential (especially for storing quick-fix beauty essentials). Topshop's textured leather pillbox can be paired with any color, and as an added bonus, is fashioned to fit the dimensions of an iPhone. $28 at Topshop.
"Have fun with the length," Schelter advises. "Go shorter by adding great accessories like a fun heel and bag, or great drop earrings." Lanvin's sassy yellow cocktail dress with single shoulder styling and a draped skirt is a perfect pick for ladies ready to show off a little leg.
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Black may not be a conventional prom hue, but it can make a serious statement accented with glitzy jewelry and a tousled up 'do. Dior's gorgeous black gown features intricate black beading along the skirt and an unusual asymmetrical neckline.
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For a bit of high-glamour, look for shimmery details like the subtle sequins on Elie Saab's knockout mint green gown.
A plunging halter neckline is flattering on ladies of all shapes and sizes. Our top pick? Issa's silky twist-front halter gown in a searing shade of pink. $565 at ForwardForward.
Full skirts tend to look old-fashioned, but Jason Wu's dramatic silhouettes are anything but dowdy. Pair with a statement-making hair accessory and strappy sandals for maximum effect.
"Great drop earrings will instantly dress up your look and add radiance to your face with a chic pair of heels," says Schelter. "Plus, accessories can be worn time and time again, whereas the dress might be a one-night wonder." Miu Miu's faux-emerald costume earrings may look like a million bucks, but are priced under $300. $235 at Net-a-Porter.
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Over-the-top embellishments can feel a bit too trendy, but certain textures -- like the elegant feather detailing on this semi-sheer Prabal Gurung dress -- will always look chic and sophisticated.
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