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Prom dresses put to the test

Many high school proms are coming up in the first few weeks of May. Of course, the date and dinner are both important, but for many girls, it’s all about the dress.

There have been national stories where girls were asked to cover up or be kicked out of prom. While that may not be a huge issue here, we spoke to local high school girls and administrators about the rules and what works.

One safe bet is following school dress code. That usually means no midriff, mid-thigh or longer hemlines, and no cleavage.

“We do tend to be a little more lenient on shoulders because there are a lot of skinnier strapped dresses the girls would buy,” said Doug McLaren, principal at Hillcrest High School. Even strapless can be acceptable if the line of the dress follows underneath the armpit, and no plunging backs.

Sarah Rooney is a junior at Idaho Falls High School. She already has her prom dress, and we asked what about her parents’ expectations.

“Be reasonable. Usually the price tag gets them. Mostly just something you can be respected in, and that you can have fun in and you’re comfortable in,” said Rooney.

Ririe High School freshman Lexie Coles is petite, and says finding modest dresses isn’t as big of a challenge as finding dresses that fit. She said her parents prefer straps or covered shoulders, but they are open to what she feels comfortable and confident in.

MeKenzie Fife is a junior at Hillcrest. She said her parents asked her to keep modesty in mind for photos. She tried on a dress at Hart’s Tux and Gowns that has spaghetti straps, but also has a shawl. Brittney Grossman from Hart’s said that some dresses also come with shawls that could actually be sewed on to cover shoulders all night. If a dress needs to be hemmed, sometimes that extra material from the bottom can be turned into straps.

For girls looking for shorter dresses, a hi-lo dress could be an option. It still offers the full-length for a formal event, but comes up just above the knee in the front. These dresses also usually avoid a high slit, which can violate the mid-thigh dress code.

McLaren says he hasn’t had much of a problem with appropriate dress on prom night, and he trusts the community and parents to make the best decisions for their students.

“We want them to enjoy it. It’s about them. It’s about their night, we don’t want anything to distract from that experience,” said McLaren.

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