Prom & Graduation

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Should couples match at prom?

Prom season is approaching, leaving teenagers in a rush to find the perfect prom looks. Prom may be the first time many teens are required to wear formal attire, so the process of choosing what to wear come the big night can take time.

Guys attending the prom have a somewhat easier time when choosing a prom ensemble. Unlike the rows upon rows of party dresses and gowns girls have to choose from, gentlemen typically only choose between a suit or a tuxedo. But guys also must decide if they want their jackets and ties to match their dates' attire.

Matching on prom night may involve a few different style scenarios. Some couples may wear the same hue head-to-toe, while others may go no further than matching the guy's tie or vest to the girl's dress. A boutonniere that mirrors the colors in a young lady's dress is another, more subtle option.

Fashion experts say there are no hard rules regarding matching prom dates. The decision is entirely up to the couple. Ultimately, the couple should be on the same page when it comes to matching. Prom is a big milestone in a teen's life, and what teens are wearing can go a long way toward determining their comfort level. Forcing one person to wear a certain color or style can put a damper on the festivities. Couples about to choose their prom attire may want to keep the following suggestions in mind.

• Matching is a relatively recent phenomenon, so couples should not feel beholden to tradition when deciding whether or not to match. Both prom participants should be comfortable with the final decision.

• Ladies should provide their dates with an idea of what they will be wearing, including the color. Ladies should be as specific as possible, including the name of the shade, as shades can vary considerably. Text or email a photo so the color can be seen with the naked eye.

• Men traditionally wear black and white tuxedoes and suits so they can coordinate with just about anything the woman wears while providing a contrast that enables the young lady to stand out. A classic suit or tux can complement just about any prom gown.

• Guys may want to add some subtle effects or even incorporate some color theory into their choices. A pocket square or tie that matches the hue of a date's dress is an effective touch. Guys also can choose a complementary color or one that is opposite on the color wheel, for a nice effect. For example, if she's wearing blue, then guys can opt for gold or yellow accents.

• Consider working with clothing retailers that have coordinated color palettes. David's Bridal and Men's Wearhouse often use the same terms and stock similar shades so that dates can match. Other stores may have similar arrangements.

Attire is an important part of prom. Couples who come to mutual decisions on what to wear and whether or not to match may feel more comfortable and have a more enjoyable night.