Prom pastiche This year's belles assembling some sophisticated turnouts


JEWEL TONES WILL set this year's prom ablaze with color.

"The colors this year are brights, from hot pink to sapphire blue," says Caitlin Meehan, publicity coordinator at Seventeen magazine.

Teen-agers are more sophisticated now than they were five years ago, says Meehan, and the clothes they wear to a prom would fit in well at a nightclub, a debutante ball, or restaurant.

Teens who fashion themselves after sirens will want a close-to-the-body look, either short and strapless or long and slinky, with a slit up the middle of the skirt. Feathers, sequins and crystal beading on these dresses keep the need for accessories to a bare minimum.

A New Orleans, romantic debutante look is also in full swing with black-and-white, full skirted styles that either graze the ankle or the knee. Those wanting traditional pastel colors will be likely to find such dresses in this category.

The most adventurous dressers will wear retro looks from the 1950s and 60s, updated for today in stretch fabrics, besides traditional fabrics such as chiffon. The empire waistlines, chemise and A-line shapes that are popular in daytime wear will be right for night too.

Meehan says to think Jackie Kennedy when it comes to accessories -- small, hand-held purses, and short gloves. Other nostalgic prom accessories are silk ribbon chokers, rhinestone earrings, and Bridget Bardot style hair twists.

As grown-up as these styles are, Meehan says it is important for makeup to remain young for prom-goers.

"Basically, what we show for a prom look is either a focus on eyes or lips, but a really soft look," says Meehan.

Seventeen will bring its take on prom style to Owings Mills Town Center, for two free fashion shows. The Prom Style fashion shows will take place at 7 p.m. April 5 and at 3 p.m. April 6 at Owings Mills Town Center, featuring fashions from Owings Mills merchants. Gift bags from Seventeen advertisers and door prizes will be given out to show-goers who get there early.

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