School's out and, while it is not a graduation requirement, there is a subject some students are still chasing an A in - what to wear on prom night.
Yes, just like in Hollywood teen flicks, Singapore has a prom season too. It marks the end of an era for final-year secondary school and junior college students.
|Accessorize 01-43 Raffles City
Aldo 01-123 Suntec City
Depression 04-41 Far East Plaza
Fashion Lab 01-101 Suntec City
FCUK French Connection UK Level 3 Tangs Orchard
Flexor 03-121 Far East Plaza
Flow 03-38 Far East Plaza
Fox 01-29 VivoCity
FuncDeko 03-90 Far East Plaza
Haru Goth 03-42/46 Far East Plaza
Love Parade 03-42 Far East Plaza
Love Potion 03-42 (Shop 2) Far East Plaza
Martina Pink Level 2 Tangs Orchard
Messy 03-03 Bugis Junction
Miss Selfridge 02-115 Marina Square
Myth 03-46 Far East Plaza
River Island 01-41 VivoCity
Sinma 04-85 Lucky Plaza
S-Junies 03-77 Far East Plaza
Spotlight 05-11 Plaza Singapura
Studio Tangs Level 2 Tangs Orchard
Tang+Co Level 3 Tangs Orchard
Topman 02-109 Marina Square
Topshop 02-109 Marina Square
Two 03-39 Far East Plaza
Girls hope to morph into glamazons and boys to men at these soirees, usually held in hotel ballrooms.
The big night is usually in end November or early December.
Talk about end-of-year pressure: How the teens look on prom night is vital, so that their youthful selves frozen in Facebook photos will elicit a 'wow' rather than 'wah biang'.
No wonder the prom queens and kings put exam-worthy effort into mugging a look that will work for them and their budget, as Urban found in a check with six schools - Anglo-Chinese Junior College, Raffles Junior College (RJC), Temasek Junior College, Anglo Chinese School (Independent), Raffles Girls School (RGS) and Ngee Ann Secondary School.
Eva Hor, assistant deputy head of RJC's student council, says that compared to 10 years ago, girls nowadays are dressing in more 'age-appropriate' fashion, donning more colourful shades, trendier hair styles and more subtle make-up.
Boys, meanwhile, are shedding their blazers for a more casual tie-and-shirt look.
Sophia Wong, the teacher-in-charge of the school's annual prom, says: 'Proms are probably the last time for graduating students to get together and have fun so it's really a night for students to let their hair down and dress up.'
How do you pull it off without stumbling into Fright Night or, at the other extreme, cheesy High School Musical?
Urban consults the experts. Our faculty is made up of Zouk's marketing manager Tracy Phillips (TP), 31; local senior marketing executive of British high-street label River Island, Sam Yeo (SY), 28; stylist Sharon Tan (ST), 33, who has worked with teen publications such as Lime and Teens; and American fashion blogger and freelance fashion writer Betsy Lowther (BL), 31, of www.fashionisspinach.com fame.
You will ace the party look, once you let them primp your prom.
|FOR GEEKS AND THE SPORTY: $100 AND BELOW
||FOR GEEKS AND THE SPORTY: $101 to $200
|Clockwise from top left: Shatricia wears a dress, $99, from Miss Selfridge; clip, $8.90, and hairband, $1.90, both from Xinma; clutch, stylist's; Ben wears a hoodie, $49.90, and pants, $42.90, both from Messy; tie, $109; shirt and sneakers, model's; Alexandria wears a dress, $79, from Depression; stockings, $7.90, from Spotlight; clips, $7.90, from Accessorize; necklace, legwarmers and heels, stylist's; Pete wears a one-piece vest and polo, $35, and pants, $42.90, both from Messy; bow tie, $5, from Fashion Lab; glasses and loafers, stylist's
Budget excludes shoes and accessories.
|Clockwise from top left: Pete wears pants, $69, from FCUK; pullover, $45.90, from Flexor; bow tie by Menagerie, $89, from Tang+Co; glasses, loafers and tee, model's; Ben wears a tee, $29, and jacket, $99, both from Fox; jeans, $45.90, from Messy; tie, $59, from FCUK; socks and sneakers, model's; Alexandria wears a top, $35.90, from S-Junies; skirt, $109, from River Island; jacket, $55, from Depression; socks, slingbacks and hairband, stylist's; Shatricia wears a top, $53, and skirt, $99, both from River Island; bow tie, $19, from Depression; Mary Janes, model's; leggings and glasses, stylist's
You are: the bookish one who can explain Einstein's theory of relativity E=MC2 but cannot fathom what Dsquared2 is.
Personal style: Conservative - your collar tickles your chin and your hemline grazes your ankles. Your top is always tucked into your bottoms and your favourite print is - what else - argyle, argyle, argyle
TP: A 1950s-style cocktail dress that provides coverage and is chic at the same time.
BL: A statement-making vintage brooch.
ST: Checkered prints, which are big on fashion runways this season.
SY: A classic tweed vest - puritan style made popular by Justin Timberlake.
LESSONS TO LEARN
- Clever is cool: Your wardrobe staples such as tailored trousers and button-down shirts can make for sharp prom fashion options, but make sure they fit right.
- Show some skin: Turn from dowdy to dapper by hiking your trousers up a few inches - a hot spring/summer runway look. Girls afraid to show some leg can don coloured tights.
- The eyes have it: There is no need to fumble for contact lenses for the big night if you are not used to wearing them. Thick-rimmed glasses add personality to your look.
|BE A SPORT
You are: the popular athlete who excels at games and whose idea of the ultimate clothing accessory is a gold medal.
Personal style: Street chic. Your look is casual and comfortable, often consisting of the popular tween combo - tee or tank top with jeans or shorts. You follow high-street trends and like labels such as Topshop, Topman and River Island.
ST: A mini-skirt to show off your athletic curves.
BL: A smart tuxedo-style dress is bound to earn the approval of your teachers.
SY: A uber-trendy skinny tie.
A cap that allows you to bring some funky street style to the party.
LESSONS TO LEARN
- Game on: Sneakers, knee-high socks and hoodies are not just for the pitch. Score a style homerun at your prom by mixing them with more tailored, dressy pieces.
- Cover up: Having a taut figure is no excuse for baring too much flesh. Respect school rules and go for sassy, not sexy.
- Colour in: Dress up your casual attire with interesting textures and bright colours.
|FOR GEEKS & THE SPORTY: $201 to $300
||FOR REBELS & THE IN CROWD: $100 and below
|Clockwise from top left: Pete wears a shirt, $65, from Depression; sweater, $139, from FCUK; bermudas, $63, from Fashion Lab; chain, $19.90, from Love Parade; lace-ups, stylist's; Shatricia wears a top, $69, from Miss Selfridge; vest, $129, and skirt, $86, both from Topshop; Ben wears a shirt, $89, from Fashion Lab; hoodie, $110, from Depression; pants, $59, and shoes, $59.90, both from Flexor; Alexandria wears a sweater, $129, from Flow; skirt, $90, from River Island; clutch, $73, from Topshop; booties, $129, from Studio Tangs; hairband, stylist's
||Clockwise from top left: Pete wears a shirt, $49.90, from Flexor; pants, $42.90, from Messy; tie, $59, from FCUK; Shatricia wears a dress, $89.90, from Love Potion; clutch, $49, from Martina Pink; necklace, $79, from FCUK; Alexandria is wearing a dress, $42.90, from Two; black skirt, $39, from Myth; polka-dotted skirt, $10, from Love Parade; gloves, $33, from River Island; handbag, $45, from Superordinaryshop; stockings and boots, model's; Ben wears a tee, $39, from Depression; jeans, $45.90, from Messy; scarf, $36, from Miss Selfridge; cuffs and suspenders, stylist's
|GET INSPIRED: GEEK CHIC
America's latest sweetheart Betty Suarez, better known as Ugly Betty, with that gawky grin, braces and all.
The buck-toothed Napoleon Dynamite from the 2004 Jared Hess movie of the same name. He boogied to Canned Heat at his prom in straight-leg jeans slung on his waist, calf-high boots and his now-iconic "Vote for Pedro" tee.
GET INSPIRED: BE A SPORT
The sunkissed homecoming queen-elect cheerleader Claire Bennet in Heroes, who is played in real life by the equally popular and athletic dolphin-saving American actress Hayden Panettiere.
High School Musical's heart-throb basketball star Troy Bolton who gets away with all that cheesy singing and dancing with his twinkly eyes and boyish grin.
You are: the one who's too cool for school. Your collar is permanently up, your shirt-tails out. Oh, and let's not forget that sulk.
Personal style: Fitting in is your worst nightmare. You take your cue from grunge, indie and other sub-cultures. Almost never seen in any shade brighter than grey.
BL: Ankle boots for that indie/rock chick vibe.
ST: Leather and lace - both hot this season and oh-so-goth.
BL: A top hat so that you really stand out in a crowd.
TP: Sneakers - no need to splurge on painful, pointy-toed loafers; easier to make a dash in too after any shenanigan.
LESSONS TO LEARN
- Balance out: If your outfit is far out, lighten up on the face paint or you will look like you are still hung up on Halloween. This applies to boys as well.
- Be practical: All that leather might look cool but in Singapore's weather, you will feel anything but. Trawl vintage stores and - take a deep breath - high-street labels for faux versions that look like the real thing and cost less.
- Light touch: Play up your everyday bad boy/bad girl look with accessories such as scarves and metal cuffs. Remember, being a cool dude is all about attitude.
|FOR REBELS & THE IN CROWD: $101 to $200
||FOR REBELS & DANDIES: $201 to $300
|Clockwise from top left: Shatricia wears a dress, $167, and ribbon clips, $17, both from River Island; necklace, $35, from Aldo; stockings, stylist's; Pete wears a shirt, $45.90, from Flexor; cardigan, $69, and pants, $79, both from Fashion Lab; Alexandria wears a halter top, $99, and cuff, $43, from River Island; skirt, $85, from Haru Goth; boots, model's; Ben wears a vest, $99, and pants, $99, both from River Island; shoes, $59.90, from Flexor; fedora, tee and socks, stylist's
||Clockwise from top left: Alexandria wears a blazer, $169, top, $51, and scarf, $43, all from River Island; leggings, $109, and bag, $79, both from Topshop; boots, model's; Ben wears a jacket, $173, and tee, $46, both from Topman; pants, $45.90, from Messy; belt, $59, from Fashion Lab; Shatricia wears a top, $109, from FCUK; dress, $143, from River Island; bangle, $17.50, from FuncDeko; bag by Casablanca, $199, from Tangs Orchard; stockings and shoes, stylist's; Pete wears a shirt, $53, from Fox; pants, $89, from Fashion Lab; blazer, $110, from Depression; tie, $43, from River Island; fedora, socks and shoes, stylist's'
|FINE AND DANDY
You are: the finicky fashionista who knew of BCBG and D&G as soon as you learnt your ABCs.
Personal style: Hollywood chic. Your favourite textbooks go by the names of Vogue, Details and Nylon. Your favourite documentaries are the fashion programmes on the E! Entertainment channel.
TP: A tiara - because you are a princess.
SY: A statement-making hairpiece such as a feathered headband that is ideal for making that grand entrance.
BL: A pocket square that shows you are no boy scout but a gentleman.
ST: A blazer that screams preppy chic.
LESSONS TO LEARN
- Act your age: With everyone else opting for hipper designs, that bouffant you crave, along with the shiny ballgown, belong at your parents' prom.
- Key pieces: Depend on just one or two statement pieces such as an elaborate hairpiece or bow tie to lift your outfit.
- Pile it on: A good way to make classic suits and gowns look age-appropriate is to layer, such as wearing a shirt inside your tube dress.
|GET THE LOOK: REBEL, REBEL
Jane Lane, the pageboy-bobbed aspiring artist from the MTV animated series Daria. While pal Daria was a tad nerdy, Jane was the crimson-lipped queen of cool.
The scraggly, chain-smoking, hard-drinking outcast Patrick Verona in the romantic comedy 10 Things I Hate About You. Played by the late Heath Ledger, there is nothing to hate about him.
GET INSPIRED: FINE & DANDY
Shipping heiress Serena van der Woodsen, Blake Lively's "I'm-perfect-but-pleasant-so-you-can't-hate-me" character on the hit TV series Gossip Girl.
Gossip Girl's billionaire boys club character, Chuck Bass, played by Ed Westwick. Bass is vain and lazy but you have to applaud his flamboyant fashion sense and scarf passion.
|Special thanks to Zouk and Phuture
This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times on Nov 14, 2008.