It’s prom season and girls around the country have been eagerly planning their attire for the festivities. For most, that entails some type of evening gown.
In my day, they were either fluffy pastel colored confections, or Quiana halter dresses (a nasty synthetic fabric that gave polyester it’s bad rap). The boys tended to match their ruffled shirts to the girl’s dress, or in some cases, (horror of all horrors), they selected a coordinating colored tux.
Even then, this went against my fashion instincts. As a high school senior, and a fashionista in training, I knew I would rather skip the party than dress like that. The eternally chic Bianca Jagger was photographed wearing a tuxedo to Studio 54, the disco in New York City where all of the fabulous fashion crowd partied the nights away. An inspiration was born…
I was headed to New York in September to seek my fame and fortune, and attend the Fashion Institute of Technology to study design. What better statement to make in my last days of oblivion in a midwestern high school than to wear “Le Smoking” as Yves St. Laurent called his iconic version of the tuxedo for women.
I set out to rent a suit, but my 5’4” and 95 pound frame did not quite work in a boy’s tuxedo. Being a budding young designer, I found a women’s black suit, tailored it to fit, and added the satin touches to make it work. Accented with some fierce Lucite wedges, I think I created quite the desired stir on prom night.
Today, as I was trolling the Internet, I was shocked to discover that many young women are being banned from attending their proms if they choose to wear a tuxedo.
Many of the cases featured were lesbians, challenging their rights to equality by choosing to wear what is considered “gender inappropriate” formal wear to the prom. As appalling as this is on a human rights level, it is also abhorrent on a fashion level. Who are these people to dictate sexuality or personal style?
The recent runway shows featured many iterations of women’s tuxedos for the coming fall season. Illustrious designers, from Ralph Lauren to Jason Wu, showed new takes on the look, ranging from the more classic to modern variations of the white dinner jacket. In my opinion, any of these might be a better look than forcing a self conscious young women to stuff into a dress that does not flatter her body, or make her feel comfortable.
Thankfully, several of these cases were brought before the court, and deemed unconstitutional. The girls will be going to the prom with their same sex dates, and rocking their tuxedos. For the time being, the United States legal system, and the fashion police have prevailed.