If you watched the Oscars, it was hard to miss Angelina Jolie's thigh-high slit, Jennifer Lopez's seriously plunging neckline or the dresses with extremely low backs and cutouts in places you normally expect to see fabric.
Prom season is here and, believe it or not, some girls plan to wear dresses just like J-Lo and Angelina. While these dresses may be great for the Oscars, how would you like your son's prom date to show up in basically a bikini with sheer satin over it? Yes, they make dresses like that, and girls wear them to the prom, hence the dawn of prom dress codes.
Schools across the country are going to great lengths to show girls what is acceptable prom attire. Gowns shorter than 3 inches above the knee, low backed, sheer or with cutouts are out.
Julie and Mike Crowder's daughter attended a high school that had a prom dress code.
"I think it was a good thing to have a standard for dressy events," said Mrs. Crowder. "Nobody had to wonder if their dress was acceptable, and it was an opportunity to teach about appropriate attire for the occasion."
For the last month, the Crowders' daughter has been searching for just the right prom dress. On a recent trip, they stopped at a mall to see what they could find. The brother was given the option to hang at the Apple Store, but he chose to tag along.
"He was worse than I was about his sister wearing something too revealing," said Mrs. Crowder. "He doesn't want any guys looking at her like that. There is a difference in looking beautiful and crossing the line. We ended up finding a dress that not only met our daughter's requirements but passed the test with our son as well."
From the perspective of a date, college student David Baird said he thinks balance is the key.
"I would not like it if my date was wearing something slit up to her thigh or her stomach was showing," he said. "I think women can pull off sexy, appropriate and self-respecting without being too revealing. I've been out with a date where we both saw a girl wearing something over the top. We were embarrassed for her."
So what's the takeaway? Women have worked hard not to be seen as just sex objects. If your daughter wears a revealing dress to prom, what kind of a statement is she making? Someone once said, "A girl's date attire should be like a thesis statement for a paper. Revealing enough to spark curiosity but not so much that it gives away the whole story."
Teens have always pushed the envelope when it comes to fashion. Part of being a parent is helping your teen make a fashion statement that speaks to her beauty -- inside and out.
Email Julie Baumgardner at firstname.lastname@example.org.