Fashion: Finding the perfect dress for prom season

Top, �22.99, Mango, skirt, �85, Whistles; Lily dress, �245; Serena dress, �225, both Carolyn Baxter
Top, �22.99, Mango, skirt, �85, Whistles; Lily dress, �245; Serena dress, �225, both Carolyn Baxter
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The hunt for the perfect dress is on as the countdown to prom season closes in.

With the prospect of bumping into your dress doppelgänger on the dance-floor, great lengths have to be taken to eliminate said threat.
 But you don’t have to follow the trend of spending a small fortune on a dress that won’t have longevity in your wardrobe. 
 I’ve taken three pre-promers – Abby Langton, 17, and Alison Dickson, 17, from Drummond Community High, and Julia Sutton, 18, from Craigmount High – and pulled a plethora of pieces for them to test-drive. Here’s what they thought.

Pink chiffon dress, �195, Coast; cream dress, �199, Somerset by Alice Temperley for John Lewis

Pink chiffon dress, �195, Coast; cream dress, �199, Somerset by Alice Temperley for John Lewis

• Edinburgh has a wealth of independent boutiques that can cater to your individual needs.

But if you can’t find something to suit, why not layer together a top and maxi skirt from the high street for the illusion of a formal frock?

Once your prom is done you can revisit those two prices in your wardrobe all summer long.

That’s what our style squad chose for Abby who wears a chiffon top from Mango with a maxi skirt from Whistles.

“I would never have thought to do this and really love the way it looks on,’ she says.

Ali wears the Llily Dress by city designer Carolyn Baxter. “I had feared there may be a fish-tail dress for me to wear as I’m not their biggest fan, but it’s not so bad on and I really love the sweetheart neckline.”

Julia wears the Serena Dress, also by Carolyn Baxter. “I really like this dress. The high neckline and floor length skirt works well.”

• If the thought of a long dress is a drag there are always another couple of options.

Formal tea dresses inspired by the 1960s are everywhere at the moment, and teamed with an oversized bun on your hair and lashings of eyeliner you’ll be Mad Men glam with minimum ease.

Abby wears a cream and pink gown by Coast. She says: “The shape is perfect, but I hate the colour. I’m not a fan of pink.”

Ali wears powder blue floral embroidered frock from Reiss. “The colour and flowers are really lovely,” she says, “But the length is wrong. I’d either go floor skimming or over the knee.”

Julia wears a cream shift dress by Temperley for John Lewis. “This dress feels a little too sensible for a prom,” she says. “I’d prefer it shorter.”


Strictly dancer Ola Jordan swaps her skimpy ballroom costumes for demure prom gown. Hot foot it to Coast for her Henriette pink bandeau dress, £250 (George Street).


Rihanna has returned to River Island with her second clothing collection. Her high summer range has now landed in stores and online at, with prices from £15.


Ted Baker celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and to mark the occasion, the brand’s inviting fans on a globetrotting adventure.

Baker has organised a competition to win a holiday to one of three far-flung destinations that have helped shape his designs. Coral buttons inspired by the Great Barrier Reef mean one winner will be sent on a five-night ‘Reef Encounter’. Customers can also enter for their chance to win a ‘Loch Stock’ trip right here in Scotland, where Baker opened his very first store, or ‘Saddle Up’ for an all-American ranch experience where the idea for Baker’s Bespoken For accessory personalisation service first took shape. Follow the designer ‘Around the World in 25 Years’ at and enter to win a Come Fly With Ted trip.


Stock up on smalls at Debenhams. Buy two pairs of women’s knickers and get the third pair free. The offer is available on selected lines in stores or online at with promo code RM26.