I’m not sure what prom-pted it, but last night people were posting their prom pictures on Twitter. As you can imagine, much hilarity ensued. Let’s just say some fashions have not stood the test of time.

Of course I’m going to show you mine:

I’d actually dug this picture out of a box, because I was thinking about using it for something when Prom Dates From Hell came out, but then I never did. Which is probably too bad, because it’s one of the most flattering pictures in my life.

This dress (and gloves, and hair) were not at all fashionable. I designed this dress and mom made it. (You can’t see, but it has a point at the waist, like a ballerina tutu or a Victorian gown. That was very important, because I knew that was more flattering as I am short waisted and have, um… I was stacked even then.)

I felt like a million bucks. You can kinda tell that from my smile. And funny, I had gotten a terrible sunburn a few days before. I itched like CRAZY. But it had faded to the point where it just gave me a really nice glow. Seriously flattering, completely by accident.

But back to the fashion thing. I was *horribly* insecure about my looks in High School. I was younger than everyone else; I had great hair, but I kept trying to make it do unnatural things (A spiral perm omg);  And even more incredible, I thought I was chubby (!!!!).

I did have a bit of baby fat through most of high school, but the real problem was that I was a very curvy girl when the fashions were unforgiving to anyone with boobs and hips. Just the shape of the jeans–high waisted, pleated front, peg legged–were the perfect storm of hideous on a short, short waisted, big boobed, curvy hipped girl. I actually HAD a waist, but I went through school looking like a Weeble.

And the Madonna lingerie trend? I hadn’t worn lacy-strapped lingerie since I was 12. By the way, I’ll say this for advances in engineering. The bras for bigger girls are infinitely prettier now. Back then “support” basically meant something a little like a harness. Unfortunately, thanks to the media, and some comments made by classmates at a rather formative point in my life, my curves translated to ‘fat’ in my eyes.

Then some time in my senior year, I stopped paying attention to fashion. I stopped buying my jeans in the juniors section of the department store and got plain ol’ straight leg Wranglers from Cavenders. I loved old Hollywood musicals, and when I looked at the gorgeous women in the 50’s and realized I was shaped just like them, and THEY looked amazing. In trying to put together things that *I* thought looked cool, I made plenty of blunders.  But the prom dress? That worked out.

Don’t get me wrong. There were no whispers of “Who’s that girl in the beautiful dress?” Or “Who’s that ugly duckling turned into a swan?” I was as under the social radar as I’d ever been, but with my own set of friends. It’s looking back that I see what happened here.

I was *myself* in this picture. Even better, I was the me I wanted to be: independent (of fashion), creative (I’d designed the dress), and confident (obviously).  That would come and go (a lot!) and it still does. But when I look at that girl in the picture, I see the person I’ve become now.

Mostly. When I’m not eaten away by neurosis and worry.

Huh. Maybe I should look at this picture more often. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Prom-tastic”

  1. Oh wow…awesome post. You made me cry a little. Being a girl is so hard…to be a strong girl with a positive sense of self is nearly impossible. I wish for every woman to find that place where they are *themself* because when you do–look at how you shine!


  2. Gwen– I think it's a place some of us (me) have to find more than once in our lives. That girl in the photo is the 'me' I am now, but it was a bit of a circuitous route to get here. 😀 Of course, if it wasn't life would be boring. Candy– I'm not sure you're to blame for the shoes (and definitely not for the purses), but for what I can now justify spending on them. 😀


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