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Colors, patterns and jeweled fabrics have this years prom-goers focusing on a bright future
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Paisleigh Burrows, 17, is a senior at Faith Academy. She is wearing a peach satin dress from Joyeria y Novedades Latinos in Gainesville. - photo by The Times

While celebrities took to the Academy Awards red carpet earlier this year in muted shades of gold and silver, local high schoolers will have a much brighter take on the ball gown.

When the limousines pull up to this year’s prom venues, girls will be dressed to the nines in a rainbow of blues, pinks, yellows and even multi-colored patterns. They will dance under the twinkling lights with their own rhinestone-studded dresses. Their patterned skirts will sway as they sashay with their dates.

Leave it to today’s youth to throw caution to the wind — this year, in the face of a sour economy — and celebrate their senior year with bold colors. Unlike their celebrity counterparts, these teens are showing their confidence in the future with colors and patterns.

"Fuchsias and pinks, and then of course the blues are always popular — electric blues," said Christi Franklin, owner of Christi’s Bridal in Dawsonville. "Bright neon has really, the last couple of years, been a good trend for prom."

Diana Cantu, owner of Joyeria y Novedades Latinos in Gainesville, said she sees a lot of girls come in with an idea in mind of they dress they want, sometimes even with printouts of a dress they’ve seen. She’s getting lots of requests for long, straight-to-the-floor dresses in bright patterns.

"Last year it was most of the girls bought puffy dresses," she said. "This year it’s been all straight, long prom dresses."

Franklin agreed that more girls are looking for sleek, straight dresses, rather than their poufy, full-skirted counterparts. She’s also getting a few requests for short dresses, too.

Christopher Davidson, owner of Christopher’s Tuxedo & Bridal in Gainesville, added that details such as crystals or beading are also popular this year.

"Prints are in, but a lot of girls are saying they don’t want the prints because everyone else has them," he said. "Fuller skirts, flowing chiffons, beading on dresses — it’s everywhere. Everybody seems to want color."

Cantu has a solution for girls worried about getting the same dress as another girl at the same prom.

This fashion faux pas can be easily avoided by keeping a record of which girl buys which dress, and only stocking one or two of each kind.

"Whenever somebody orders one dress, and we have another customer who wants to order the same dress, we tell her somebody else has it so that way they won’t be (in) the same dress," Cantu said. "We ask them what school they go to so it won’t be the same dress."

But how about the guys? Are they relegated to "penguin" status in varying shades of black tuxedos?

Not exactly.

There are lots of subtle fabric choices and different styles, Davidson said.

"The options are styles," he said. "Double-breasted is coming back, and different fabrics. So there are some variations in fabric."

Otherwise, choose a white tux, he said. That way, the guy can match his vest and tie to his date’s dress.

Which, after all, is where the focus should be, anyway, right?

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