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Prom preparation

It’s one of the nights every girl looks forward to.

Prom night.

When ball gowns are de rigueur.

Hair is dressed to the nines. And guys break down and put on those tuxes.

And just like everything else about dress, there’s a continually changing fashion to prom night as what was in last year will definitely not be seen this season.

So what will work this spring as students start to look forward to one of their special nights?

As far as dresses, the range is from elaborate ball gowns to slinky.

“Big poofy with a lot of crinoline, heavy beaded and strapless. Ninety percent are strapless,” says Melanie Dishman of Bride Beautiful in Proctorville. “Orange is big this year and bright colors and a lot of beading.”

Fabrics can be lame’, animal prints or polka dots, she said.

Long and short is on the gown radar screen, according to

Elisa Walters of

Yellow Brick Road in Huntington, W.Va.

“Lots of beads. No beads. It’s pretty much open,” she said. “Lame’ I haven’t seen since the early ’90s. Everything turns around and comes back. Halters. Strapless. Dressy short ones.”

Usually, girls come into the shops by January or February to start their search for the perfect dress.

“Most of them make a choice right then. Some take time to think and a lot come without their mothers to begin with and say ‘I’m going to bring back Mom,’” Dishman said.

Even the fuller-figured gals can find something for prom, says Walters, who carries a selection for sizes 14 and up.

“It’s more of the ruching and more of an A-line look instead of a fit straight,” she said.

Now that the perfect dress is in the closet, the next step is hair, makeup and nails.

At All That, a full-service salon in Coal Grove, curls are taking center stage, manager Tracy Ferguson sees.

“A lot of them are going for curls because their dresses are more funky,” she said. “I have some leaving their hair down.”

Makeup, she says, usually features more color and coordinates with the dress.

Another full-service salon in the Tri-State is Identity in Ashland, Ky., where many local girls go for hair and the works.

“Everything is really, really simple. A side pony tail or a bun,” says Tina Goad, manager. “Very simple. Very elegant. A side bang or a swoop.”

Nails give girls another chance to accent their gowns by using a variation of the French manicure that remains popular with so many for everyday wear.

“Acrylic tips are different. There’s color instead of white. Black, blue, brown or any color,” Goad said. “Clear or white for the nail bed. The tips whatever. Match or contrast.”

When it comes to makeup this year, the look is definitely dramatic, especially with the eyes.

“We have eye lash extenders in different glitter color on them,” Goad said. “Purples, greens pinks. All different lengths.”

They’re put on with permanent glue and the girls can come back in after prom and have the fake lashes taken off with adhesive remover; come back and have them filled in; or let them come out naturally as their lashes fall out.

As for the guys, decisions are few when it comes to getting a tux. Both Bride Beautiful and Skeffington’s in Huntington, say it’s basic black with possible color on the vest and tie to match the girl’s dress.

“Most everything is single-breasted with four to five buttoned coats and a longer tuxedo,” says Charles Roeller, owner-manager of Skeffington’s. “Some guys wear top hats but not very many.”

As far as how much time a guy will spend picking out his duds, experts say, it depends.

“If the guys come in by themselves, they don’t spend a lot of time,” Roeller said. “If they come in with their girl friend, they spend more time.”

Now, it’s the big night and the guy is at the front door, bearing a special gift — the flowers.

And with that gift comes another decision: silk or fresh for the small bouquets the girl will either carry in the crook of the arm or in hand, Julie Fugitt, a designer at Weber’s says.

“The girls still prefer to carry fresh, but they will do silk. … Silk flowers are made so real-like you just cannot tell the difference. Sometimes you can even touch them and not tell the difference,” she said.

Which helps make prom more than a night of evanescent memories.

“Some like to keep them as keepsakes,” Fugitt said.