Prom trends for 2022 include colorful hues…and supply chain issues

For the past two years, prom season in Connecticut has been a little different from the big dances of the past. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted both distance learning and distance end-of-year celebrations in 2020, while the following year was marked by unique outdoor venues and masks as prom props complementary. But this year, promgoers are making up for lost time by being bold in their outfit choices.

Laurye Natale, owner of Dazzle Boutique, said shoppers she’s seen at her Oxford store are ready to ditch the casual leisurewear that’s been a hallmark of the past two years.

“This generation never gave up on leggings,” she said. “They don’t know what it’s like to be in something fancy.”

With a chic occasion on the horizon, Natale said prom shoppers are looking for fitted silhouettes, usually in a jersey fabric with small rhinestones on it, with a lace-up back. Styles like the A-line or the ball gown are always in demand, but Natale said “very sexy, very fitted” styles have been a hit in her shop this year. One-shoulder dresses have also regained popularity, according to Natale.

One of the prom dresses available at Dazzle Boutique in Oxford, Connecticut.


Leanna Natale/Contributing Photo
One of the prom dresses available at Dazzle Boutique in Oxford, Connecticut.

One of the prom dresses available at Dazzle Boutique in Oxford, Connecticut.


Leanna Natale/Contributing Photo


Two of the prom dresses available at Dazzle Boutique in Oxford, Conn. Leanna Natale/Contributed Photos

At Dynamite Designs in Wallingford, owner Kristen Gudaitis said she’s seen shoppers interested in styles that “run the gamut” this year.

“They really want to make a statement this year,” she said. “They are ready to step out of their comfort zone. Usually I do really well with royal blue, but this year they’re in all these fun colors. I think everyone has been pretty much locked inside and really excited to have fun for the night… They want to make a splash when they go out.

Gudaitis said the splashy styles her shoppers have turned to include the similar fitted silhouettes that flew from Natale’s boutique shelves.


“A lot of [shoppers] like this style, whether it’s the simplistic style where there’s just one color with no embellishment, or the opposite where it’s this shape that fits with glitter all over it,” Gudaitis said.

While many traditional colors like red and blue have remained favorites with promgoers, Natale said popular colors this year at her Dazzle store include light blue and lavender purple. The trend toward lighter shades is something Natale said she’s seen spreading beyond the prom crowd and into bridal parties for 2022.

“We do a lot of mother of the bride dresses, and most of the colors that have been in bridal parties this year are green, light orange, cornflower blue, just super light and very pastel colors,” said she declared.

Gudaitis said one color trend has been the most surprising for her this season: orange.

“Orange has been a hit in our store,” she said. “For a while we couldn’t even keep it in stock, and we were looking for it in every business that had it so we could grab it because inventory has been a little thinner this year across all of our businesses. ”

One of the prom dresses available at Dynamite Designs in Wallingford, Connecticut.

One of the prom dresses available at Dynamite Designs in Wallingford, Connecticut.

Kristen Gudaitis/Contributing Photo

Both Natale and Gudaitis noted that promgoers tend to go for a chunky heel to pair with their dresses, though Natale said some aren’t beyond wearing sneakers or Crocs with their dress. Jewelry tends to be minimal, store owners said, with most promgoers opting to accessorize primarily with earrings and keeping other jewelry to a minimum.

When it comes to tuxedos, according to a spokesperson for Men’s Wearhouse, trends are less about what you see on red carpets and more about asserting personal style. For prom 2022, this takes the form of “colorful suits, tuxedos and tuxedos, in pastel and jewel tones, especially blue, pink and all shades of green”, although ivory and black traditional are always classic options. According to Men’s Wearhouse, this year’s promgoers aren’t shy about prints, either.

“Bold patterns look new this year and are popping up in shirts, jackets, accessories and even head-to-toe looks, so the promgoer can mix pattern and color however they like,” the Men’s Wearhouse spokesperson said in an email. “The key is to own the look and have fun.”

Promgoers matching their date looks are also still available for this spring, though Men’s Wearhouse noted the goal is to create a complementary, cohesive look that leaves room for personal style to shine.

“If your date is wearing a printed tuxedo, feel free to wear a slightly more colorful or patterned dress or tuxedo,” the Men’s Wearhouse spokesperson said. “A lot of couples coordinate the entire costume or even accessories to add a bit of flair to their look. That’s not to say you shouldn’t dress to your personal style, but look in sync with your partner during of your big night will make you love the way you research your occasion and make great photos to remember.”

With prom season in full swing and shoppers securing their looks for the big ball, Natale and Gudaitis said finding a dress that suits their style isn’t the only thing promgos meet this spring. There are also supply chain issues that have reduced the number of choices in stores and available to order.

“It’s really kind of like you don’t have a choice anymore – what you see on the rack is what you get because there’s no ordering,” Natale said. “The designers were very limited in what they could come up with. Instead of having about 200 different styles or 300 different styles on their line, they have maybe 50 or 60, and certainly no more than 100.”

Designers don’t even cut a large amount of dresses, but rather cut dresses based on what’s sold in the market so they don’t end up with pending stock, Natale said.

For Gudaitis, having enough dresses for each prom season can be a challenge.

“The season is so short for us,” she said. “There are so many challenges, because while we’re thinking Connecticut, there’s the south, where proms are earlier because they get out of school earlier. So we face a challenge with inventory up front because our proms are a little later so they tend to shop a little later than other schools or other areas.

For retailers like Gudaitis and Natale, the reduced supply of inventory allows them to sell what’s in stock instead of carrying over last season’s styles to the next year. The downside for buyers is that they may not have the ability to order the size they need in the style they want.

“Our factories are overseas,” Natale said. “Most or all of them are in China, the fabrics come from Turkey, a lot of the beads come from India, they come from all over the world. Every country has its own set of issues when it comes to COVID. I know our factories in China are running at 30% capacity because they had a huge increase and everyone was away.

One of the prom dresses available at Dazzle Boutique in Oxford, Connecticut.

One of the prom dresses available at Dazzle Boutique in Oxford, Connecticut.


Leanna Natale/Contributing Photo
One of the prom dresses available at Dynamite Designs in Wallingford, Connecticut.

One of the prom dresses available at Dynamite Designs in Wallingford, Connecticut.


Kristen Gudaitis/Contributing Photo


A beaded dress available at Dazzle Boutique in Oxford, Conn. (left) and a red dress available from Dynamite Designs in Wallingford, Conn. (to the right). Pictures added

Both Natale and Gudaitis said their customers more often than not have to buy a dress in-store instead of ordering and run the risk of a shipping delay. According to Gudaitis, it’s something people are probably used to due to international supply chain issues.

“It’s like the other territories,” she says. “Whether it’s furniture delays or whatever, they know it’s better to get it now while it’s right in front of you.”

Supply chain issues are not limited to prom dresses. Evening dresses of all price points were limited to the small selection available in stores, according to Fast Company. And with more and more special occasions arising as COVID-19 concerns wane, Fast Company reports that demand for such garments is outstripping designers’ abilities to keep up and overcome supply chain shortages. supply in the textile industry.

Regardless of what this year’s prom trends indicate, Natale said what each shopper decides to wear for their dance is less about fashion trends and more about who they are as a person.

“It all depends on their personality,” she said. “Some will really want to blend in, but for others it’s like ‘It’s my big day’ and they go for it.”

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