After working for three years at a teen publication, I've seen my fair share of questionable prom dresses in the images brands would send our way. (Who knew I would ever have to write a work e-mail that said, "We can't use this photo — it's of a 30-year-old woman in half a slip"?) I also happen to know that "sexy prom dresses" is, terrifyingly, one of the highest searched terms when it comes to prom night prep. Not to mention, a lot of brands (though not all of them!) are still using stick-thin models way older than anyone in high school, further perpetuating the obnoxious body image debate we still have to be having.
I have a lot of respect for teenage girls — they're way smarter than most people give them credit for, and I think that most of them realize these dresses are absolutely absurd. While most prom gowns are just regular prom outrageous — head to toe sequins, enough tulle to last a lifetime — some are just plain too gross to be marketed to a 16-year-old. Or a human, for that matter.
In honor of the bizarreness that is prom season, here are the 11 "sexiest" prom dresses you can actually buy. Click through to revel in the sea of cutouts.
The Dripping Beads
Oh, wow. I’m glad to see those weird strings of beads I hung from my door in middle school are making a comeback.
The Bondage Bustier
My main issue here is how on earth one finds a bra that can work with all these mesh cutouts. And that this looks like something Barbarella would wear.
The Sexy Mermaid
Basically, this is what Ariel would sport if she did burlesque. Also, the woman in this photo, while gorgeous, is certainly not a teenager. My rockin’ high school bod would never been able to pull this off, leading to major tears in the dressing room.
The Stomach Circle
If there’s one thing I remember about prom, it’s how hot my belly button got on the dance floor. This would have been a real life-saver.
The Mardi Gras Gown
You know the old saying about prom: The more your dress looks like a rainbow puked all over it, the better.
The Crop Top
I’m all for a good crop top, and honestly, the lace on this could be super pretty. But paired with the shortest skirt known to humanity plus sheer paneling it feels a little bit, well, naked for prom night.
The Mega Slit
If Angelina Jolie went to prom in 2014, she’d be all about this sassy little number.
The Barely-There Bodice
I actually could be very down with this dress for a Hollywood starlet. My high school self, however, would have just looked ridiculous.
The Tron-esque Dress
Into the metallic details. Not into the superfluous cutouts.
The Strategic Sequins
Prom is basically the only time you can get away with head-to-toe sequins, so I say go the heck for it. But maybe skip on the sheer paneling from ribs to ankle.
The Handsome Accessory
This dress honestly isn’t horrible, but I felt the need to include for the photo. Judging by the models, I think we can only assume that this is a dress for the chaperones, because no high school dude has that much perfectly scruffy facial hair.
Main Image: Poulsons Photography - Fotolia.com