The Anatomy of the Perfect Homecoming Outfit

Be+a+gem+in+jewel+tones.+L+to+R%3A+1983+Vintage+ILGWU%2C+Source+Unknown%2C+approx.+%24100+%2B+inflation.+David+Meister%2C+Neiman+Marcus%2C+%24395.%0D%0A

Alexa Geidel

Be a gem in jewel tones. L to R: 1983 Vintage ILGWU, Source Unknown, approx. $100 + inflation. David Meister, Neiman Marcus, $395.

Alexa Geidel, Columnist

The looming reality of homecoming is almost relieved. But until Sunday morning, the stress stands tall. Homecoming shouldn’t be stressful – it’s a joyous event. It can be a romantic evening, completed by a dapper date. It can be a thrilling evening, friends by your side. It can be anything you make it to be, but it has to start with the perfect outfit.

Most of the stress of homecoming can be alleviated by the simple spark of an idea. Decide where you’re taking your inspiration from, pick something that intrigues you. Fashion Week previews, Pantone’s Color of the Year, designers’ Pre-Spring collections, award season red carpet looks, all would be an exemplary starting point. Having homecoming in the turn of the season is optimal, though untraditional  – seeing as most every other school in the valley had theirs in second quarter. The transition from muddled winter themes into poppy spring patterns presents the paramount opportunity for smart stylization. Hemlines get shorter, the sequins come out of hibernation and the world is a better place.

Now that the inspiration is flowing, time to determine what will look best with your body. Determining one’s body type can be embarrassing for some people, but it is important to discover, and doesn’t have to be shared with anyone. Decide on your own what you are comfortable displaying, and what features you want to bring out. If you have killer legs, show ‘em off. If you love the freckles on your shoulders, don’t hide them. Do some research in order to best support your needs. Bandage dresses are slimming, gold makes pale skin appear more tan, but most importantly choose the neckline most appropriate for you. If you have a fuller chest, opt for a halter or sweetheart neckline, offering support, narrowing the shoulders and not straining your back. If your top section is smaller, go for spaghetti straps, strapless or a style with cinching or front detail to enhance the shoulders and give the appearance of a fuller bust. Most homecoming dresses have an A-line and are sectioned in two, drawing the line at your smallest point, the waist, flattering on everyone.

Shoppers, start your engines – this, is the fun part. Get together with your best friends and head to the mall. Bring plenty of water and snacks because it might take a while. Before every shopping trip, especially a particularly long one, apply your normal daytime makeup and put your hair up in a comfortable style. You’re going to be checking yourself out all day, you might as well like what you see. Save your inspiration photos on your phone and have key words and colors written down in a notes app so you don’t get distracted by styles that don’t match your figure and unflattering colors. Have one day where you focus on dresses; ignore the shoes, bags and jewelry. If you fall in love with two frocks, take them both home so you can revisit them later and possibly get more opinions. If you are in search of less expensive options, you can still begin the treasure hunt in the mall. Hit up the sale racks – remember all the homecoming dresses from the regular season for the event will now be on sale. Then, venture out more, head downtown near ASU, college campuses always have consignment stores nearby. Finally, if nothing appeals to you, look in your own closet, your mother’s, your sister’s or swap old dresses with your friends. The options are endless. If you don’t find something, don’t freak! Head home to recharge with some Pretty Little Liars and set out again. You will find your dress.

Even if you have money left over for accessories, avoid buying new. Look through you old stashes of jewelry, and don’t be shy to use costume jewelry – this night is about going all out. Barter with friends; you always get your own treasures back and it’s free! Shoes, bags, jewelry, all can be mixed and reused. Check out some famous D.I.Y. blogs for mega-easy projects to customize your outfit. Make something that no one else will have. The price of shoes, makeup, bags, and jewelry add up fast, so put the wallet away and use your imagination.

Piece by piece, your perfect homecoming outfit will come to life. It takes patience and perseverance, so don’t give up. Taking the time and effort to put together a stunner will make the night that much more special, you won’t have to worry about any slip-ups or missing pieces and you can feel confident and beautiful as you go to the dance. Relax, you deserve this.

Play it cool in a red hot number. L to R: City Studio, Macy’s, $70. Marilyn Monroe, Macy’s, $60.
Play it cool in a red hot number. L to R: City Studio, Macy’s, $70. Marilyn Monroe, Macy’s, $60.
Cut out the competition with intricate back detailing. L to R: Mystic, Strawberry Boutique NYC, $23. Rampage, Macy’s, $80.
Cut out the competition with intricate back detailing. L to R: Mystic, Strawberry Boutique NYC, $23. Rampage, Macy’s, $80.
Get creative with old costumes. L to R: Tag Missing, Source Unknown, $350. Marcea Dancewear, Source Unknown, $200. A Wish Come True, A Wish Come True Catalog, $20.
Get creative with old costumes. L to R: Tag Missing, Source Unknown, $350. Marcea Dancewear, Source Unknown, $200. A Wish Come True, A Wish Come True Catalog, $20.
You’ll never strike out in a white out with gold detailing. L to R: Vintage Casino Nites, Loretta Lane of Lathem (Presumably), approx. $275 + inflation. XOXO, Macy’s, $80.
You’ll never strike out in a white out with gold detailing. L to R: Vintage Casino Nites, Loretta Lane of Lathem (Presumably), approx. $275 + inflation. XOXO, Macy’s, $80.