Don’t Get Kicked Out of Prom: Avoid Inappropriate Prom Dresses




Prom is the biggest night of the school year. It usually celebrates the fact that the year is almost over, and many students will be graduating soon. Prom gives you the chance to show off your friends, your significant other, and of course, your style.

We’ve all heard horror stories of students, usually female students, getting rejected from their prom due to their choice of outfit. Most people spend a lot of time and money preparing for prom, so you don’t want anything to keep you from enjoying your big night.

In this guide, we’ll help you navigate between style and appropriateness so you can enjoy your prom to the fullest.

What Makes a Prom Dress Inappropriate?

Unfortunately, the definition of inappropriate varies wildly depending on many factors. Most schools will provide some guidelines through the school dress code, sometimes with a specific dress code for prom.

A lot of these codes unfairly target female students, especially ones with curvier body shapes. Many students have been petitioning for changes to unfair dress codes, but by the time prom rolls around, it’s pretty late in the year, and it may be hard to petition for change.

The best way to ensure you’ll be able to enjoy your prom is to understand the dress code your school has in place and watch out for a few specific areas that tend to be a problem. If the dress of your dreams has one of these features, you can make a small fix to your outfit to help it fit the dress code better.

Dress Neckline

A plunging neckline or strapless dress may not be allowed. If you have a larger chest, you may be under more scrutiny than your flatter friends, making it harder to wear something with a daring neckline.

While most daily dress codes at school don’t allow sleeveless tops, that is usually an exception at prom, at least. However, some schools may also not allow strapless dresses due to the risk of a wardrobe malfunction.

Here’s how to make dresses with these features more dress code-friendly.

Bandeau: For a plunging neckline, wear a bandeau that almost matches your skin tone or goes with the color of your dress. This will cover your cleavage without having to do any alterations to the dress of your dreams.

Bolero: If you have to cover your shoulders, add a small bolero to a strapless dress. A bolero is a cropped jacket or cardigan that covers your shoulders and upper back. They can be a little dated, but there are some cute options available to match your prom dress.

Short Hems

Mini skirts are restricted at most schools in the US. Again, while there is often an easing of some rules for prom, a super short skirt may still get you pulled off the dance floor.

A long dress with a high-leg slit could also potentially get you in trouble.

Here’s how to make dresses with these features more dress code-friendly.

Shorts: While it may not be ideal, if a mini dress gets you pulled aside, you can show that you’re wearing shorts underneath, making it a little less daring.

Slip/Petticoat: While it may sound old-fashioned, a slip or petticoat underlayer can be a cute way to give a layered look to your outfit. It can also have a slightly longer hem than your mini dress or cover some of the area exposed by a high slit.


An open or plunging back might also raise a chaperone’s eyebrows at prom. Here’s how to make dresses with this feature more dress code-friendly.

Wrap: A light wrap draped over your shoulders and back can make your dress seem a lot more dress code-friendly.

Show Your Style Even With a Strict Dress Code

If your school has a strict dress code, it can feel like your options for prom are really limited. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can alter the dress you love to fall in line with those restrictions. If you don’t want to wear something like a bolero or a slip, you can always have a dress professionally altered.

You can also look for a dress that fits your school’s dress code, so you don’t have to worry about making changes. You can still show your sense of style by choosing a fun and unique dress with interesting details. Choosing a bright, uncommon color is also a great way to express your sense of style.

For example, orange prom dresses are a fun trend that’s sure to grab everyone’s attention. No matter what, make sure something as silly as a dress code violation doesn’t stop you from making memories at prom.

Claire S. Allen
Claire S. Allen
Hi there! I'm Claire S. Allen, a vibrant Gemini who's as bold as my favorite color, red. I'm a fan of two cool things: strolling the streets in a red jacket and crafting articles that connect with readers. With my warm and friendly personality, Claire is sure to brighten up your day!
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