The Most Iconic Prom Dresses of All Time
Prom is one of the most nostalgic, potentially awkward, and possibly most dramatic events in a person’s life, so it makes sense that some of our favorite television shows and movies weave it into a plot or episode. We can all relate to a prom story—the good, the bad, the ugly. Oh, the days of shoulder-pads. From Josie Gellar’s two prom dresses in “Never Been Kissed” to Andie Walsh’s dress that made “Pretty in Pink” a legend, there’s plenty of ruffly, sparkly, and classic prom dresses ahead. So pour yourself a cup of spiked punch and enjoy our recap.
Pretty in Pink
Molly Ringwald’s pink prom dress from this 1986 classic might be one of the most famous pink dresses of all time. Her character Andie Walsh proved that even the thriftiest finds can be more gorgeous than designer dresses.
Olivia Newton-John’s iconic role as Sandy will forever be one of our favorite characters, and the costumes from “Grease” are truly legendary. Her cream, tea-length dress was a timeless stunner, and that dance-off scene is one of the best.
You can’t have a list about prom dresses without mentioning the most famous movie about prom in history—“Carrie.” The simple light pink shift that Sissy Spacek wore as Carrie was actually beautiful before it was covered in blood.
Never Been Kissed
Josie Grossie, no more! Drew Barrymore stole our hearts as the lovable, goofy Josie Gellar. Her character really found her confidence in the incredible Shakespeare-inspired dress she wore for the “Meant For Each Other: Famous Couples Throughout History” prom she organized.
Never Been Kissed (x2)
We didn’t forget there was another iconic prom dress in “Never Been Kissed.” Josie’s actual prom dress from high school, a shiny, ruffly mess that screams ’80s, paired with an equally ’80s side ponytail, made for a look we couldn’t help but love (and okay, laugh at).
Back to the Future
The vintage dream that Lorraine (Lea Thompson) wore in “Back to the Future” might be one of our favorite dresses of all time. The ’50s-style strapless dress was a dream, and her sweet curls with a bit of baby’s breath made for the most beautiful prom looks ever.
10 Things I Hate About You
Julia Stiles’ angsty Kat Stratford might not have been excited to put on a dress and string of pearls, but she was stunning (and so was her date). Honorable mention to Kat’s sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), who wore a daring two-piece prom dress that showed midriff!
Lori Singer’s Ariel donned a look that Southern girls would approve—pink, ruffles, pearls, and curls—for her final dance. Fun fact: In the 2011 remake, Julianne Hough also donned a simple pink dress with ruffles.
She’s All That
The style in this 1999 couldn’t be more, well, 1999, but Rachael Leigh Cook’s character Laney Boggs’ simple black dress stands the test of time. Although the “We found out the nerdy girl was pretty all along” theme is dated, we’ll always have a soft spot for this cheeky movie.
A Cinderella Story
Although we’ll never understand how Chad Michael Murray’s character Austin Ames couldn’t tell it was Sam, i.e. Hilary Duff, under that teensy tiny mask, we’ll forever be in love with the gorgeous strapless ballgown she was wearing with it.
“The One with the Prom Video” might be one of our all-time favorite episodes. It gave us a Ross and Rachel moment to love (and Ross’s cringy mustache), but more importantly, it gave us Rachel and Monica’s prom dresses, with sleeves bigger than the state of Texas.
Although Jamie Lee Curtis’s character Kim didn’t have quite the prom night teen girls dream about (masked killers don’t make for the best prom pictures), her pink dress was pretty!
This one was for a dressy Chilton “dance,” not prom, but we loved seeing our little Rory (Alexis Bledel) get all dressed up in an off-the-shoulder dress and super-fancy bun. This night had plenty of boy drama, so it technically counts as prom, right?
Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” Music Video
This one wasn’t from a TV show or movie, but Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” was a pop culture phenomenon. Although she’s not quite believable as the nerdy girl next door, the video was cute, and her strapless white dress was so sweet.
Beverly Hills 90210
Brenda Walsh (Shannon Doherty) AND Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) both donned this black dress with a big, off-the-shoulder white bow to the spring dance, which was a major fashion faux pas. The dress—and the juicy episode—were absolutely legendary in the show’s history.