16 alternatives if you don’t want to wear a traditional prom dress

prom dress shopping

A prom dress is arguably one of the most difficult gowns to shop for.

Not only is there pressure to find a unique dress that will stand out from every other ensemble at the event, but there’s also the added stress of choosing a gown that you won’t regret wearing 10 years down the road.

Thankfully, shopping for prom dresses in 2019 has its advantages. There are tons of new retailers to shop at, and a plethora of new styles to try. If you’re in the market for something different, one of these 17 prom-dress alternatives might be for you.

A neon-colored pantsuit will stand out from just about any crowd.

A neon-colored pantsuit will stand out from just about any crowd.
Pantsuits are also a perfect option for those who would rather not wear a dress.
 Zara

Pantsuits have become especially popular among celebrities in recent years, so it’s likely that the style will translate over to prom fashion too.

Cost: $109.80

Find out more about Zara’s Blazer with Pockets and Cigarette Pantshere.

A cape-style dress will add flare to your look.

A cape-style dress will add flare to your look.
This dress style is dramatic, so you can go with simpler shoes, hair, and makeup.
Fashion Nova

Halter-style gowns are typically viewed as traditional, but the addition of a cape adds something unique and unexpected to the classic look.

By wearing a dress of this style, you’ll also be channeling Meghan Markle, who recently wore a dress with a cape while in Fiji.

Cost: $89.99

Find out more about Fashion Nova’s More Than Capable dress here.

This particular dress stands out for its length.

This particular dress stands out for its length.
Sparkles will make this style even more impressive.
 Free People

While many opt for floor-length gowns on prom night, you might want to consider a cocktail dress. The style is perfect for dancing, and will look striking compared to longer dresses.

Cost: $340

Find out more about the Free People Janelle Dress here.

A ruffled romper will look distinct for the same reason.

A ruffled romper will look distinct for the same reason.
This model’s long earrings add a sparkling detail to her ensemble.
 Pretty Little Thing

A detailed romper like this one will undoubtedly make a memorable fashion statement.

Cost: $50

Find out more about Pretty Little Thing’s Red Satin Bardot Frill Romper here.

Bell-sleeved dresses are rarely worn during proms.

Bell-sleeved dresses are rarely worn during proms.
The floral print on the sleeves also adds a distinctive touch.
 Guess

Prom dresses are typically held up by thin straps or short sleeves, so this retro style adds something new to the mix.

Cost: $198

Find out more about Guess’ Love Me Embroidered Bell-Sleeve dress here.

No one will expect you to wear an animal-print dress on prom night.

No one will expect you to wear an animal-print dress on prom night.
A faux-fur jacket will add a nice contrast to just about any animal print.
 H&M

Animal print is a bold style, so you can go simple with the rest of your look.

Cost: $79.99

Find out more about H&M’s Patterned Dress here.

A conventional gown will look less traditional if it features standout colors.

A conventional gown will look less traditional if it features standout colors.
The high-low skirt is unique compared to other prom dresses.
 Modcloth

This dress, for example, includes various shades of green throughout, adding multiple pops of color to an otherwise standard look.

Cost: $129

Find out more about Modcloth’s Peachy Queen Maxi Dress in Pear here.

Keep your eye out for an ensemble that’s made with a unique fabric.

Keep your eye out for an ensemble that's made with a unique fabric.
This baby-pink dress looks stunning with simple, beige-toned accessories.
 Reformation

Silk is eye-catching, and rarely used for prom dresses. By choosing a gown made from the shiny fabric, you’ll likely have one of the most unique looks of the night.

Cost: $278

Find out more about the Reformation Nicola Dress here.

If you enjoy the look of dresses but feel more comfortable in pants, try a jumpsuit.

If you enjoy the look of dresses but feel more comfortable in pants, try a jumpsuit.
To make the ensemble a little more formal, try wearing heels and jewelry.
 Urban Outfitters

The strapless top, wide pants, and knot in the center of this suit create the illusion of a dress.

Cost: $205

Find out more about Urban Outfitter’s Keepsake Heart + Soul Floral Strapless Jumpsuit here.

Choose a dress that features a unique color and shape.

Choose a dress that features a unique color and shape.
You can expect to make a bold statement by wearing a muted color.
 Forever 21

Browns, grays, and other neutrals are rarely worn during prom, so you’re sure to look anything but traditional — especially when paired with an attention-grabbing ruffle.

Cost: $58

Find out more about Forever 21’s Asymmetrical Ruffle Trim Homecoming Gown here.

You can still wear a skirt to prom without wearing a dress.

You can still wear a skirt to prom without wearing a dress.
To really make a statement, choose a crop-top that features a single-shoulder design.
Free People

Instead, skirts paired with crop tops will look both formal and edgy.

Cost: $394

Find out more about the Free People Pure Luck Set here.

Read more:A high school threatened to give girls ‘modesty ponchos’ to wear over their prom dresses

Don’t shy away from incorporating geometric prints into your prom look.

Don't shy away from incorporating geometric prints into your prom look.
Because the dress is so long, you don’t have to worry about buying fancy shoes.
Fashion Nova

A standout look like this one will have everyone wondering where you found such a unique dress.

Cost: $74.99

Find out more about Fashion Nova’s Stay In The Loop Rhinestone Neon Dress here.

Opt for a flowing gown to stand out from the crowd.

Opt for a flowing gown to stand out from the crowd.
You can skip the accessories with a dress as bold as this one.
 Fashion Nova

Whether you’re taking prom photos or dancing the night away, a dress of this style is sure to make you feel elegant.

Cost: $70

Find out more about the Fashion Nova Sunset Ombre Dress here.

Crop-top suits are trendy, and will look striking at an event like prom.

Crop-top suits are trendy, and will look striking at an event like prom.
Strappy sandals will also add a fashionable touch to your prom look.
 Reformation

To make an outfit like this look a little more formal, simply pair the crop top with a sharp blazer.

Cost: $248

Find out more about Reformation’s Samson Two Piece here.

Outerwear looks can be unexpected, but stunning.

Outerwear looks can be unexpected, but stunning.
This dress is particularly distinctive for its sparkly fabric and dark-green color.
Pretty Little Thing

Jacket-style dresses will look especially refreshing in a crowd of ball gowns.

Cost: $80

Find out more about Pretty Little Thing’s Emerald Green Sequin Button Detail Blazer Dress here.

The type of jacket you wear can make your prom suit stand out even more.

The type of jacket you wear can make your prom suit stand out even more.
This model also wore daring clear heels.
 Fashion Nova

Instead of wearing a long-sleeved coat, try wearing a sleeveless jacket.

Cost: $69.99

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