Prom Photos and Generations
Welcome to Flashback Friday! Since it’s prom season in Oklahoma, I thought this photo of a group of Gen Xers from a 90s prom made for a fitting look back. All these girls look so happy and so beautiful! I’m guessing they were born sometime between 1972 and 1976.
I was attending college parties, homecomings and banquets in the 90s. I well remember the velvet dresses with the teal blue, iridescent taffeta sleeves and skirting. I also remember wearing my hair just like the girl on the far left. The side ponytail with tendrils falling was a hot look back in the day.
I never cease to be amazed how dramatically prom styles changed from 1980s through the early 1990s. When I was freshman in high school prom dresses by Gunne Sax were very popular. Here is a photo of some friends of mine from high school. This was taken at the Caney Valley High School (Caney, Kansas) prom in 1982. I was a 9th grader that year and didn’t attend, but I remember the theme was Fantasy Island. All of these girls were juniors and seniors, some of whom I knew quite well through the school newspaper staff and school plays.
Florals, Ribbons, Pastels and Lace
Every spring in preparation for the annual prom, the maintenance men at CVHS would hang heavy-duty wires around the gym. From this, the junior class would spend a week of afternoons taping hundreds of streamers to the floor to create four crepe paper walls. It was really something to behold!
Pastels, Ruffles, Dotted Swiss and Cumberbunds
This picture was taken the following year (1983) when 80s prom styles shifted to the Southern Belle look. We all wore these gigantic hoops under our dresses. We looked completely ridiculous dancing. That’s me on the back row in the white dress.
We were still living in Southeast Kansas and my mom drove me all the way to Tulsa to buy this dress. It was a Nadine formal and it appeared in Seventeen magazine that year. It cost $140. My brother, who was in the Marines at the time sent me the money to buy it. My sister, who is 11 years older than me, told me it cost more than her wedding dress.
The theme of this prom was Up Where We Belong from the popular movie, An Officer and A Gentleman.
Prom dresses with ruffles and jewel tones
This is me and my friends from my junior prom (1984). That’s me in the front in the dark green dress. The big skirts and ruffles were still very popular, but I didn’t think any of us looked particularly sexy, not like prom-going girls today.
I can’t for the life of me remember the theme to this prom, but I think it was from the movie Footloose. The sophomore servers danced to Let’s Hear It For The Boy.
It was kind of a mixed bag of pastels, laces, jewel tones, taffeta and lace.
Finally, this is a picture of all the girls in my senior class who went to prom on May 4, 1985. My high school was very small. That’s me on the very back row in the middle wearing blue. My dress had a sequin bodice. I was crowned (don’t laugh) a 1980s prom queen 27 years ago today.
Twenty-seven years ago! My gosh, life just gets away from us, doesn’t it? It was pretty neat being wearing a $20 tiara for the night. It would have been even better if I’d actually had a date to the prom. Yes, friends, I went alone. To be sure, the stereotype of popular cheerleader did not apply to me and neither did the prom queen archetype played out in various horror movies.
So, anyway, 15 days later, we all graduated high school and went our separate ways. I probably disconnected more than anyone else in my graduating class. I moved around a lot growing up and I was accustomed to saying goodbye. My family didn’t have strong ties to Kansas and we blew out of town the exact same way we blew in. Like a soft rain on the prairie that only a farmer notices. I went off to college and lost touch with most of my friends. Through Facebook I’ve connected with many of them, especially some very special teachers.