How to Wear Black to the Prom

The classic formalwear color black may not be the most popular for the prom, when shoppers find dresses, tuxedos and accessories stocked in all the colors of spring. Wearing classic black instead of a trendy color helps ensure your pictures age well and your future kids won't someday wonder what mom or dad was thinking that night. If you pull it off with style and grace, you will wow everyone at the prom in a gown or tux that stands the test of time and invokes the feel of class and elegance at the same time.

1 For Guys

Pick a black tuxedo with black satin stripes down the outer edge of the pant legs. The jacket should be black and may or may not have tails depending on your personal style.

Add accessories to your tuxedo that either coordinate with your date's dress or in classic black or formal white. Choose formal white only if your date's gown is very formal and ornate, not a short or cocktail-dress style. Many men reserve a white tie and vest or cummerbund for a wedding only. Wear black patent shoes with a black tuxedo.

Choose a single deep red rose boutonniere with a sprig of baby's breath, tied with a ribbon that coordinates with the color of your date's dress or a black ribbon. Order a corsage from the same florist with a wrist strap for your date to coordinate.

Tuck a usable handkerchief into your pocket in case you need it to dab sweat away.

2 For Girls

Choose a black dress that fits and flatters you and appropriately matches the formality of prom. Stay away from informal fabrics such as knits, and choose a dress that both fits you and flatters your figure. If your date will be wearing a tuxedo with tails or a white tie, vest or cummerbund, choose a floor-length dress to match his formality.

Add accessories. Choose a wrap or shrug in black or add a splash of color to cover your shoulders once the sun goes down. Pick earrings and a necklace in black onyx, rhinestones or pearls set in gold or silver to complement your skin tone. Wear black patent or dyed black satin shoes with a heel low enough to be comfortable for dancing. Wear your hair up or partially up with an accessory that matches your jewelry.

Wear a deep red rose wrist corsage with an accent of baby's breath and a black ribbon or one that adds a bit of color. Coordinate with your date to purchase him a matching boutonniere from the same florist.

Apply your deodorant, perfume, lotions and any other body grooming products a half hour or more before getting dressed to allow them to dry completely so that your black dress won't show smudges from the products.

Take a small bag packed with essentials such as lipstick, bobby pins and face powder. Touch up only in the bathroom.

  • Keep your black clothes away from pet hair and dust. Use a napkin on your lap during the prom dinner. Keep your black gown or tux looking pristine.
  • Feel free to add color in your accessories, even if the main color of your clothing will be black.

Andrea Lott Haney writes articles and training materials for food industry publications. Having studied foodservice sanitation, nutrition and menu planning at Purdue University, Lott Haney has more than 10 years of experience as a catering and event planner for luxury hotels and currently tours the Midwest as a corporate customer service trainer and consultant.