Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2005

It doesn’t matter what you wear

Teens, businesses prepare to sail into prom season

April 21, 2005

Jason Hamlin isn't much of a dancer.

Hip-hop music hardly makes him want to bust a move. He doesn't stand in line to dance when he hears country music. And polka music doesn't spur him to do the chicken dance.

So Hamlin, a senior at Eudora High School, will attend his school's prom Saturday, not in a Fred Astaire tuxedo, but as a pirate.

"I can't dance if my life depends on it," Hamlin said. "But I like going, and I decided it would be fun to go as a pirate."

Hamlin likely will be in the minority. Formal attire is still expected to predominate among teens the next several weekends as prom season hits full swing.

Naturally, clothing stores and beauty salons are seeing signs of the season.

Susan Ashley of Suzanne Ashley Alterations and Tux Rental has been busy preparing young beauty queens and kings for the big night Saturday.

"There are a lot of girls in pink," she said. "And the guys, they picked everything from James Bond looking to zoot-suit sort of coats."

Ashley said another trend in Eudora girls' prom dresses was overskirts, or skirts with a panel of fabric swooping across the front.

She said some of the boys came to her shop knowing exactly what they wanted, while others didn't have a clue.

"And some of them come in with their girlfriends in tow to tell them what to do," Ashley said."


Dressing the part

Hamlin went to prom last year dressed in a '70s leisure suit and fake sideburns. This year, he and his cousin bought material for pirate costumes. They soaked white cloth in tea to give it an aged and dirty look, Hamlin said.

Plans also are in motion to make a car look like a pirate ship. That may or may not work out, Hamlin said. But it doesn't matter.

"Prom is a time to get together with all my friends and just have fun," he said. "And you kind of make fools out of yourself and have a good time."

While Hamlin will go as a pirate, 44 percent of boys attending prom will wear a traditional tuxedo. That's based on the national Shopping in America survey completed by August Partners Inc. Guys also estimate that they will spend about $455 on prom night, with about $152.45 going toward their prom outfit and the rest for tickets, dinner and transportation, according to the survey.

Girls, on the other hand, will spend $379 on average for prom expenses, according to the shopping survey. Of that amount, about $190 will be paid for a prom dress.

Look good, have fun

In the last week, prom has been a key topic of discussion for many students at Eudora High School.

"It's definitely a big deal," junior Laci Moore said. "It's a one-night deal where you get to look your best and for one night you dance and have fun and party with all your friends."

Members of the junior class at Eudora began meeting several months ago to select a theme and decorations for their prom.

The theme for Eudora's prom is centered on the city of lights -- Paris.

For assistance transforming the school commons into a facsimile of Paris, students went to Lawrence-based Balloons-N-More.

"It's an incredibly busy time of the year," Balloons-N-More owner Debbie Payne said. "We help with proms here in Lawrence, Kansas City and Eudora. We built a huge Eiffel Tower for Eudora's prom."

The company usually provides balloons, tablecloths and canopies for area school proms, Payne said. The price tag can range from $1,500 to $8,000 per prom, she said.

"It's going to cost more for larger schools," she said. "Once we're done with prom, we move into helping with graduations."

Emily Miller (emiller@newsmwc.com) contributed to this story.

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