Prom dress shopping? 12 trends you need to know about

Haven't bought your prom dress yet? No worries! You'll find a large selection of stylish gowns in a range of colors, sizes and styles – there truly is something for everyone, whether you're shopping at a department store or boutique.

Haven't bought your prom dress yet? No worries! You'll find a large selection of stylish gowns in a range of colors, sizes and styles – there truly is something for everyone, whether you're shopping at a department store or boutique.

We visited a couple of stores in Mobile to see what's hot for prom season. Here's what we found:

Red-carpet looks. At Lotus Boutique in The Shoppes of Bel Air, we found a sophisticated red gown that was reminiscent of the look supermodel Ashley Graham wore in E!'s Oscars pre-show. And at I Do Bridal and Formal, sales associate Jessica Williams showed off a high-low gown that's nearly identical to the one Taylor Swift wore at last year's Grammys. I Do sells two exclusive brands, Faviana and Mignon.

Being one of a kind. No one wants to go to a prom and see herself across the room. At Dillard's in The Shoppes of Bel Air in Mobile, sales associate Laura Quint said she keeps a binder that includes every school in Mobile and Baldwin County and the dates of their proms. Each dress is registered in the book, so "we can tell you if someone has already bought it," she said. "This cuts down on duplicates."

Two pieces. Exposed midriffs are a huge trend this year, and although the rules sometimes restrict two-piece gowns, there are ways to make the two pieces fit together until you get in the door. Or so we hear.

Pockets. Jessica Williams of I Do Bridal and Formal pointed out several dresses with pockets, which are both for style and convenience, to hold cell phones and lipsticks.

Color. Bonnie Carter, who owns I Do Bridal and Formal in Mobile and Montgomery, said that the three hottest colors are black, Champagne and red. Several of her sales associates pointed out that emerald green is also trendy.

Prints. One dress stands out among the collection of more than 500 dresses filling two rooms at I Do Bridal and Formal: Sherri Hill's strapless white gown covered with big red flowers.

Plain and simple. Sometimes less is more, and some of the prettiest gowns are the least adorned.

Rear view. Intricate backs, low backs and open backs are all the rage.

Sleeves. Long, lace or sheer sleeves and cap sleeves are popular right now.

Ball gowns. Nothing makes a girl feel like Cinderella more than a full, flouncy tulle skirt in white or a pastel shade.

A wide range of sizes. Quint, of Dillard's, is especially proud of the store's addition of plus size gowns this year. Two racks hold dresses in plus sizes up to a junior size 23. "We're hoping we'll do well with them," she said. Carter, of I Do Bridal and Formal, also offers plus-size gowns, but "as quick as we can get them on the floor, they're gone," she said.

One-on-one service. I Do prides itself on its personal service. Want to see what your dress will look like on the dance floor? They'll help you find shoes and jewelry, then stand you on a pedestal in front of a mirror and turn off the lights so you can see the sparkles on your dress – and even give you tips on how to style your hair. The transformation from everyday student to prom princess is like magic. "Once they're our customer, they'll shop with us for prom, then Mardi Gras and then their wedding," said Williams.

(Image:prom gowns)

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