I know this sounds crazy but when it came time for me to shop for my own dress, I adamantly told my mom that I didn’t care what color it was… “just NOT white!”. It may have been because I was prone to stains or that white seemed to wash me out. I think my biggest fear at the time was that wearing white was going to make me look too much like a bride.
There is nothing wrong with wearing white if you love it, but for me it was an image I definitely was not ready to portray with my high school boyfriend. I ended up falling in love with an rich turquoise dress, but as the years pass, I find myself thinking more and more about why I did not want to wear white; it is a gorgeous and sophisticated color! As I got a bit older and began navigating college, I finally figured out the ways to wear white without being afraid of spilling on myself, being washed out or feeling like i am walking down the aisle. White is the color of purity, sophistication and elegance, and now I want to wear it every day! Read on to learn about ways to wear white to prom.
Picking the Perfect Shade of White
Different types of white with tints of different colors have the potential to wash you out or give you a glow; so choose your shade of white carefully. Being washed out means the tint is too similar to the undertones of your complexion, so go the opposite way. This issue is more prominent the lighter your skin tone is, but can be tricky for anyone of any skin tone to wear. My skin is light with a cool yellowish undertone and I have yellowish blonde hair. Although I like yellow, it’s not my color, my whole visage becomes different tints of yellow whenever I wear it.
Colors are classified by perceived temperature; red, orange and yellow are warm while green, blue and purple are cool. Although white isn’t technically a color, it can be laced with tints of colors to change its hue. In this way different whites can have temperature readings. Lear about how to identify your skin undertone pigment and temperature by reading the “What Prom Dress Color is Right for You!” blog post.
To avoid being washed out, wear a white that has a tint which doesn’t match your skin undertone pigment but has the same undertone temperature. For example, someone with a yellowish undertone should wear a cool white, while someone with a pinkish undertone should wear a warm white, and both temperatures can also wear a neutral white. Those with neutral undertones should wear either a decidedly warm or cool white because a neutral white like ivory might drain them.
In the image above of various swatches of satin, the sample on the left, has a tint of yellow making it a warm white, the sample to the right has a tint of blue making it a cool white, and the sample in the middle is neutral because it isn’t tinted by any colors. Read more below to see examples of white satin in the pictures preceding this section depict different temperatures of white.
In the image above, the model on the left wearing Faviana Style S7701, is wearing a warm white dress while the model has a warm undertone. The model on the right wearing Faviana Style 7774, is a neutral white dress while the model has a cool undertone. No color palette should only consist of just warm or just cool colors, there needs to be a balance of both in order to create dynamic looks. It’s important to accent your natural look by balancing your personal palette with a mix of warm and cool tones. Learn more about visually identifying these shades in the next section below
Choosing a Style
There are a bunch of styles to choose from but with white you have to make smart decisions.
Cut: One of the biggest things to consider when wearing white is fabric and cut. Trust me, I love lace and organza as much as the next girl but depending on the cut and style of your dress you can come out looking very bridal. Pick a fitted and decidedly modern cut like style in the photo above which has an illusion design that is wonderfully flattering.
Texture: Give your look some character by going with a dress that has texture. Sometimes white can appear flat depending on lighting, so textures like sequin patterns, chic embroidery, and rushing or pleated fabric can add needed dimension.
Embellishment: The embellishments give an air of regality and enrich the look of solid white. Intricate beading or a scattering of sequin and rhinestones gives you the right amount of sparkle. You won’t have to worry about not standing out!
Lace: Dead set on wearing lace? It’s a little risky but do-able! White lace on a white dress will be too bridal but try a white dress that has lace with an accent color.
- Example: Style 7724
Simple: A plain white dress runs the chance of looking similar to more modern wedding styles. To avoid the comparison, try pairing it with big, edgy, statement accessories that have character all on their own! Brides usually opt for more demure pearl earrings or simple rhinestone ones so this style is sure to keep you looking young and chic! Silver and gold are great but for a bolder look, throw in black or red, and for a more color pop, try bright colors.
Stains happen to the best of us, but they always seem to happen just when you’re wearing light colors. If you are going to wear white, you have to be alert to sources of stains.
If you want to have a red or any bright colored lip, go with lip stain instead of gloss or lipstick to avoid getting any on your hands and then possibly the dress. Be really careful when eating that Penne alla Vodka! Be vigilant of dark sauces, and chocolate desserts. Put your napkin in lap at the table.
When all precautions fail, and somehow you get a little schmutz on your gown, be prepared by bringing a stain remover like Shout Out wipes or Tide Stick in your purse! I think Shout Out works better personally. Couple this with a bit of seltzer water or club soda, which, by the way, is not sprite; not that I’m speaking from experience or anything:)
I hope you enjoy these tips for a pristine modern look! Click through our other collections to find your dream prom dress!