In praise of the prom pantsuit


I knew what I wanted to wear to prom when I was 12 years old.

The year was 2003, and my older brother’s senior prom party had come to our house in suburban Denver before the main event to take pictures. Among a group of girls wearing flowing gowns, one woman stood out—because she wore pants. They were grey taffeta with a hint of periwinkle, and they were accompanied by a matching spaghetti strap top and shawl.

I didn’t know much at the time, but I knew that I was looking at one bad bitch. And I also knew, of course, that I wanted to wear pants to prom. Unfortunately, I did not end up doing so, which is my only regret to date (maybe).

The pantsuit, whether pants, a romper, or a jumpsuit, is the single most underrated prom outfit of all time. There’s a reason why they’re getting more love these days. For the record, based on my extensive perusal of teen magazines, the ’90s appear to have been the golden era of sorts for prom pantsuits. But that trend would be nowhere if it wasn’t for outfits like this trailblazing number, found in the prom edition of a 1969 Co-Ed magazine:

It should be noted that when it came to the ’90s prom pantsuit, Alyce Designs, a Chicago-based promwear company, dominated. All of the following pantsuits are all from Alyce prom ads, some of which we found in the March 1997 issue of Seventeen magazine.

As I mentioned before, there’s no better way to get a leg up on the competition and stand out in a crowd of satin and tulle dresses than to wear pants. They’re practical, they’re badass, and they can be however feminine or masculine as you want them to be.  The pants don’t wear you. YOU WEAR THE PANTS.

Contrary to popular belief, the most important part of prom other than your pants is the actual dancing. A tight mermaid dress may look pretty good in photos, but it’s way too restricting when you’re trying to drop low, dutty wine, do some high kicks, or cha cha slide. Pants let your body breathe, so you can really get down.

Need to go to the bathroom? While attempting to pee in an overly tigh, or tulle-riddled dress can be borderline hazardous, it’s usually much easier when you’re wearing pants. (This, of course, does not apply when you’re wearing a romper or jumpsuit, so best of luck to those who do.)

Oh, and I almost forgot one of the handiest parts of prom pants:

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