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Young women seek red-carpet-worthy gowns for prom

| Monday, March 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Ambridge High School student Kayla Kuhni models a prom dress at Babette's in Bridgeville Monday, February 25, 2013.
Ambridge High School student Payton Dizak tries on a dress at Babette's in Bridgeville Monday, February 25, 2013.
Emma Markle, 16, of Ligonier, tries on a natural waist baby doll prom gown by Lafemme, one of several selections Markle, a student of Ligonier Valley High Schooll tried on while shopping with mom, Christiana Markle (not pictured) at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
Morgan Burton of Penn Hills is joyful to model an orange burst ball gown by Mori Lee for family, one of several selections Burton, a student of Penn Hills High School tried on while shopping with mom, Shirrell Burton at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
Three of the Jovani prom dresses, available at One Enchanted Evening in Pine. ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
Popular prom accessories, kaleidoscope crystal cuff bracelets and chandelier earrings are available at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
Susan Kuhni looks over prom dresses at Babette's in Bridgeville Monday, February 25, 2013.
McGuffey High School student Beth Mounts looks over prom dresses for her daughter at Babette's in Bridgeville Monday, February 25, 2013.
McGuffey high school student Marlie Mounts looks for a prom dress at Babette's in Bridgeville Monday, February 25, 2013.
McGuffey High School student Marlie Mounts tries on a prom dress at Babette's in Bridgeville Monday, February 25, 2013.
Ambridge High School student Kayla Kuhni tries on a prom dress as her mom Susan offers a critique at Babette's in Bridgeville Monday, February 25, 2013.
Ambridge High School students Payton Dizak (left) and Kayla Kuhni look over prom dresses at Babette's in Bridgeville Monday, February 25, 2013.
Kayla Kuhni takes in a prom dress and her friend Payton Dizak, a fellow student at Ambridge High School, critiques the dress at Babette's in Bridgeville Monday, February 25, 2013.
Ambridge High School students Payton Dizak (left) and Susan Kuhni look over prom dresses at Babette's in Bridgeville Monday, February 25, 2013.
Marissa Bartges, 17, of Murrysville, is all smiles as she views the slim fit and beading details on a prom gown by Night Moves, one of several selections Bartges, a student of Franklin Regional tried on while shopping with mom, Kim Bartges (not pictured) at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
Emma Markle, 16, of Ligonier, tries on a a few popular accessories for upcoming prom, a kaleidoscope crystal cuff bracelet and chandelier earrings, while shopping with mom, Christiana Markle (not pictured) at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
One of the Jovani prom dresses available at One Enchanted Evening in Pine. ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
One of the Jovani prom dresses available at One Enchanted Evening in Pine. ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
One of the Jovani prom dresses available at One Enchanted Evening in Pine. ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
One of the Jovani prom dresses available at One Enchanted Evening in Pine. ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
One of the Jovani prom dresses available at One Enchanted Evening in Pine. ONE ENCHANTED EVENING
(from left) MB Bride consultant, Larissa Zumbro of West Newton assists Kayla Mikula, 17, of Elizabeth, PA, making a few adjustments to a fully beaded prom gown by Jasz Couture, one of several selections, Mikula, a student of Elizabeth High School tried on while shopping at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
Emma Markle, 16, of Ligonier, tries on a a few popular accessories for upcoming prom, a kaleidoscope crystal cuff bracelet and chandelier earrings, while shopping with mom, Christiana Markle (not pictured) at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
(from right) Kristine Lamantia of Blairsville, gives daughter Adriana Lamantia, 17, a few adjustments to a popular hi-lo style prom gown by Jasz Couture, one of several selections, Lamantia, a student of Blairsville High School tried on while shopping at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
Emma Markle, 16, of Ligonier tries on one of several selected prom gowns while shopping with mom, Christiana Markle at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
Sara Myers, 17, and mom, Corinne Myers, both of Ligonier admire details on a hand painted strapless prom gown by Cool Collection, one of several selections Myers, a student of Ligonier Valley High School tried on while shopping at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
Courtney Krupa, 17, of Altoona, models an empire waist beaded butterfly prom gown, one of several selections Krupa, a student of Altoona High School tried on while shopping with mom, Julie Krupa (not pictured) at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
MB Bride consultant, Larissa Zumbro of West Newton assists Kayla Mikula, 17, of Elizabeth, PA, making a few adjustments to a fully beaded prom gown by Jasz Couture, one of several selections, Mikula, a student of Elizabeth High School tried on while shopping at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
Morgan Burton of Penn Hills is all smiles as she models an orange burst ball gown by Mori Lee for family, one of several selections Burton, a student of Penn Hills High School tried on while shopping with mom, Shirrell Burton (not pictured) at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | For the Tribune Review
(from left) Adriana Lamantia, 17, and mom, Kristine Lamantia both of Blairsville look over a popular hi-lo style prom gown by Jasz Couture, one of several selections, Lamantia, a student of Blairsville High School tried on while shopping at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
Sara Myers, 17, and mom, Corinne Myers, both of Ligonier admire details on a hand painted strapless prom gown by Cool Collection, one of several selections Myers, a student of Ligonier Valley High School tried on while shopping at MB Bride in Greensburg, PA on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2012. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
Embellished shoes and jewelry by Helen's Heart are part of the popular prom accessories available at MB Bride in Greensburg. Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
PROMGIRL.COM
Tony Bowls floor-length strapless sweetheart dress with beaded bodice ($450), available at www.promgirl.com. PROMGIRL.COM
PROMGIRL.COM
Red halter prom gown by Tony Bowls ($398), available at www.promgirl.com. PROMGIRL.COM
PROMGIRL.COM
One-shoulder black-and-white ombre-print dress by La Femme ($299), available at www.promgirl.com. PROMGIRL.COM

The dresses hanging in zipped, plastic covers represent every style imaginable.

Some have head-to-toe sparkle, others less embellishment. Fabrics range from silk to chiffon. Colors range from the brightest orange, pink and blue to the darkest black, wine and emerald green. There are short and long versions, as well as the combination — the high-low. Gowns come in strapless, one-shoulder and halter styles.

The young women who will wear them to prom are just as diverse.

“There are so many choices,” says Gina Kelly, fashion director for Seventeen magazine. “That is what I love about prom. You can choose a dress that's sweet in pastel lace or one that is more edgy in red or neon pink with sequins. Go all-out glam or more subdued. It's all about the girl and what she likes.”

Some girls arrive at a store with a photo of the dress they want. Sometimes, they leave with that style, and, other times, they choose another, says Natalia Zavodchikov, president of Babette's in Bridgeville.

“It is our job to help them find the right dress, because we want them to be happy on prom night,” Zavodchikov says.

Buying a gown is a way of expressing a girl's style and wardrobe personality.

Today's young women aren't afraid to wear all-over bling, which is on trend this year, Zavodchikov says. Sparkles are everywhere from bedazzled bodices to the entire dress giving off a sheen when the girl walks in it. Dresses come in gold, silver and other metallic finishes. Some will choose short dresses, but the long styles are most popular, experts say.

The all-over beaded look is very popular, says Jennifer Mason, manager of MB Bride in Greensburg. Some are smaller beads, while others include the bigger, chunkier crystals.

“I think a lot of the bling comes from seeing celebrities on the runway,” Zavodchikov says. “We aren't seeing as many poufy dresses as in years past.”

Something that's new this year is the sheer fabrics added at the bottoms of dresses or even at the midsection to create an interesting illusion.

The average dress price is $359.

Many girls have been looking for the perfect dress since early January. Some have dates, others will get dates, and there are those who go to prom as a group of friends.

“They do their homework, because there are so many websites and magazines where they can get ideas,” Mason says.

Prom shopping is not just about the dress. Accessories, most likely, will have lots of shine, too, Mason says, from cowboy boots and sandals with silver sequins to chandelier earrings and cuff bracelets designed from mosaic beads. In addition to dresses and shoes, these girls go all out with nail art and fun hairstyles.

They decide on the accessories after they've made the dress decision.

“It is so important to choose the dress that is right for her, because this is her night to feel like a princess,” Kelly says. “This is their time for their red-carpet moment.”

During the decision process, girls might try on everything from the ball gown to a fish-tail style, which fits closer to the body. Lace is popular in all styles, Kelly says.

The girls like to choose early to get the dress they want before anyone else gets it. Most stores will register the dress so no one else at the school can buy it.

Linda Scolieri, owner of One Enchanted Evening in Pine, says some of the more-popular styles feature touches of lace, bodices with embellishments and rock-star beading. “Girls also like chiffon dresses with empire waists and heavily encrusted beading.”

Julie Durocher, design director for Jovani, who was featured at a trunk show at One Enchanted Evening, helped girls find their dresses and answered questions. She says there is a dress for every girl. “And you can tell it's the right dress when her face lights up.”

“The girl who wears this line is confident, because it has a little sex appeal to it,” Durocher says. “Buying a prom dress is competitive, in that girls will post the dress they've bought on Facebook so no one else will buy it.

“There is a lot of sophisticated lace and lots of jersey material because these girls are used to wearing clothing with some Lycra or Spandex,” Durocher says. “And the blush and champagne colors are really popular.”

She says girls don't want to feel like they are trapped in a dress. “They want the gown to be comfortable and to be able to move with them.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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