It used to be the stuff of Hollywood films, but prom is now an unmissable end-of-school celebration for many British teenagers. We talk to young women about the search for the dream frock
Prom, as seen through the prism of American TV and film, is far more than a night out. It’s the scene of Mean Girls-style drama and epic Footloose dance routines. It’s where transformations are revealed (She’s All That), and where nightmares (Carrie) and happy endings (Pretty in Pink) happen. It’s a significant step on the road into adulthood, with the prom dress crucial to the coming-of-age narrative. For British teenagers, those prom night pop culture dreams have become an end-of-school reality, with proms now standard at most British schools. It has been estimated that proms in the UK cost parents £90m a year, with prom dresses costing an average £220. Of course, it’s not just about the money – these dresses symbolise leaving school behind, the end of an era that doubles as an irresistible Instagram opportunity. We talked to young women across the UK about what prom means to them, why Pretty In Pink remains a reference and how shopping in sheds can lead to a dream dress.