Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Back in Time - Prom

ready for Prom
approximately 1958 or 1959
Traditionally, most high school proms in this area are held from mid-April to early May. In the fifties, the gowns were mostly strapless with a net shawl attached with snaps. The skirt had layers of netting to create the full skirt.

If I remember correctly, my sister's dress was a pale, mint green and very scratchy.

Prom dresses as well as wedding dresses were ordered from the Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, and JC Penney catalogs well into the 1960s. I don't remember seeing a local bridal shop until I was in high school.

The corsage of choice (until the late 60s) was a large, single orchid. In order to keep the memories of that special night alive, the orchid were stored in the refrigerator until the petals turned brown. Wrist corsages made with roses and/or carnations were also popular. These flowers were often dried by hanging them upside down.

Roy Sargeant and Peggy Vaughn
DODDS teachers
Robert D. Edgren High School
Misawa, Japan
April 1980
I've attended more Proms in my life than I care to count; most as a chaperone or class advisor. The first Prom I chaperoned in Japan was held at the Officer's Club, and the second at the Club House at the golf course. Roy and Peggy (pictured above) were both from the South: Roy from Arkansas; Peggy, Mississippi. Peggy's lovely, silk dress was custom-made in Hong Kong over Christmas vacation. Peggy taught English; Roy, math at Robert D. Edgren High School.

Please share a Prom memory or describe a special dress that you wore to your high school Prom.


  1. I have never attended a prom or ever worn a "fancy" dress. LOL

    I did help our son and his date get ready for their date. Having a boy, I never knew how important it was to shop for just the right accessories. Julie (Stephen's date) and I helped Stephen pick out his tux and all the jewelry she would wear. It was a HOOT!

  2. The only prom I attended was my senior year in 1978. My mom made my dress from a pattern I picked out. It was a floor length evening gown with a halter neckline. The fabric was a pretty sea green color with a nice drape and just a little bit of shine. I remember receiving many compliments on it.

  3. I only attended my junior prom, and fell asleep on the ride home. Hem. ;) I did attend many formals in college though, and still have two of the dresses... said prom dress and another mint green frock, both by Jessica McClintock.

    Hmmm... Mint green is "in" again. Wonder if that dress could be transformed into something I'd wear now?

  4. I did attend prom...and my mom made me a very pretty green, long, a-line dress. The material was wonderful, as it had a sheen to it and draped beautifully.

    Great pictures. I remember so many of the "big girls" wearing these scratchy gowns...which of course we thought were fabulous.

  5. Love the way they dressed up! I never went to a I never had a dress...but I remember keeping corsages in the fridge and drying them upside down!

  6. The dress you have shown looks so much like my mom's bridesmaids dresses in the early 50s. Same kind of shoulder thingy...what do you call it???

    I got to go to my prom with Fireman and his prom the next year. Our pictures are hysterical. I wore a long yellow dress...YELLOW is now my worst color...and I should have known that then.
    WE made out the whole night under the stars and my best girlfriend Cindy was furious with me.
    Ha ha ha that's my memorY!

  7. How did the fitting work if you had to order from catalogs? My mother made my dress for both proms I went to (which were in a space museum under a SR71 Blackbird plane). I'll bet prom in Japan was a fun experience.

  8. I'm sorry I don't have any prom memories, I did not go to mine.

  9. Love that old photo! I went to Prom three timers. Twice with Far Guy. I had one store bought dress emerald green brocade..paid about 12 dollars for it. The other two my Mom custom made one was lavender with covered buttons and a train and the other was satin covered with an overlay of pink daisy lace material. Fun times:)

  10. in Australia we don't have the Prom...but we do have the Leavers Dinner which is similar I guess... it is at the end of high school (age about 15-16) and before you go to College... the dresses are formal and everyone turns up to see the Leavers arrive in all forms of conveyances ..trucks, old classic cars helicopters, even a couch on a trailer and motor bikes etc don't have any pics because I came from a tiny country town and we didn't have a leavers dinner...Love the dress by the way...

  11. The same woman in the first picture was and is still very talented (She is my mom). During many of my high school years she made a majority of my clothing including suits, pants, coats and yes, prom dresses. I looked like a southern bell with a light purple material and lots of lace. All of this was accented with a hoop skirt underneath.


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