Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Remember When-sday - Prom Season

It's the middle of May... the height of prom season. It's a night on which dreams can be made and shattered. So much weight is put on one night. It's a teenage right of passage. K at BlogGoggles tagged me in a prom dress post last week, so I'm about to show you my prom photo from senior year. I loved my dress. Now I think it looks frumpy. It was a Gunne Sax, which was all the rage then. I was so freakishly tall that my mother had to sew a wide lace trim to the bottom to make it long enough for me.
If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, you probably remember Gunne Sax well. Here's a little blurb about the company that I found interesting.

Gunne Sax is a clothing label which specializes in formal and semi-formal wear for young women and is owned by Jessica McClintock, Inc. It was founded in the 1960s and bought by Ms McClintock in 1969.
While Jessica McClintock, Inc., is a large and diverse style house, the term "Gunne Sax" is often associated with its 1970s fashions, which could stylistically be called "prairie-revival", drawing on many elements popular in late-19th and early-20th century American fashion such as pinafores, gingham prints, and calico. The company was named after the "gunny sack" or burlap trim used on some of the earlier dresses.
Gunne Sax also revived a kind of "renaissance" look, with empire waistlines and middle placket, usually with more modern textiles such as velveteen. Often there was a high collar in the back with a low neckline in the front, making for a more demure variation on the medieval "wench" look. The puffed sleeves were usually tightened below the elbow, a style known as "leg o'mutton." Many of the dresses have laced bodices resembling corsets.
The characteristic puff sleeves and leg o'mutton sleeves found in many Gunne Sax pieces started the puff sleeve craze that prevailed throughout the 1970s and '80s and into the early '90s. Imitators of Gunne Sax included Candi and Young Edwardian. Collectors consider clothing with the original "black label," used only in 1969, the most valuable. A "hearts label" was used for a short time following, until the 1970s and early '80s larger label with scrollwork was put into use.
Gunne Sax dresses are still manufactured, though the 1970s style associated with the term is no longer used by the company. Contemporary Gunne Sax dresses tend to follow modern prom dress sensibilities, such as tight, strapless bodices and full skirts, favoring fabrics like satin, taffeta, and tulle.

My date, a boy I invited from another school, owned his own tuxedo because he's was involved in youth politics and had to give speeches at events frequently. I thought that was pretty cool. I remember very little about the night except when I thought my date left in the middle. I thought he'd gone to the bathroom, but he'd been gone a long time. I asked a friend to check the bathroom and he wasn't there. I looked everywhere for him and was getting pretty upset about being ditched when he showed up again. He'd gone to the car to change his shirt because he had two tuxedo shirts and couldn't decide which one to wear, so he thought he'd surprise me by changing half-way through. The second shirt was blue with ruffles in the front. I wish he'd had that one on for the photo because nothing says retro like a ruffled tuxedo shirt.

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you're scrambling for something to blog about, pull out your old prom photo to share. I'd LOVE to see it.


Designer Studio said...


The latest fashion trend in apparels today is the skinny jeans that give you a lean look. However, if you are unable to get into those, you would also be happy to put on those wide legged pants or trousers that are also hot with the fashionistas. When worn with a short narrow top and a slim fit jacket along with high heel shoes, this combination would look cool and give you that much longed for lean look.

Try it out this season!

Aunt Becky said...

Man, if only I could find one to show you. I look SO uncomfortable--my boyfriend and I were wickedly fighting--and awful.

My mom talked about Gunne Sacks (I know I misspelled that. It's honestly a wonder I don't misspell my own name). My dress was Ann Taylor, I think.

Anonymous said...

I had a Gunne Sax dress in college that I LOVED!!!! It was navy blue, almost military looking, and one of the only dresses I've ever owned. Thanks for the reminder.

BTW-- surprise, surprise.... I never went to the prom. And funny thing, I don't feel any loss in it. Glad you had fun at yours!

Liz said...

Too funny... I remember my prom so well - what a fun time. My mom made my dress and I loved it.

Lorilee said...

The dress I wore to my husband's senior prom was similar in style. (I was a sophomore). My Mom made my dress for my Sr. Prom. I adored it. Maybe I'll find a photo and post! I miss the more innocent syles. Today's prom styles make the girls seem too mature!!

Marie Smith said...

What a nice article! Looking for that perfect dress for your prom or a big event? You should browse through all the Prom Dresses at The website lets you search by designer and by the type of dress you are looking for, you are bound to find exactly what you are looking for!

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