The prom dress market truly has something for everyone. No matter your personal aesthetic, there is without a doubt a dress labeled "prom" that is out there waiting for you to fall in love with it. But just because there are options doesn't mean they are all good options. An endless array of dresses means you need to put on your taste-factor hat and wade through an inevitable sea of crap. Lucky for you, I've done just that, and made an important discovery — there are countless figure skating costumes out there masquerading as prom dresses.
Let the following selections serve as an important map to protect you from the pitfalls of accidentally dressing like an Olympic skater on prom night. From "illusion" cutouts to tiny flippy skirts, out of control embellishments, and even mesh sleeve catastrophes, there are clear warning signs on many a prom dress that scream "I do not belong here." And to prove it, I've followed up each supposed "prom" dress with their figure skating counterpart. Not that I have anything against skating costumes. Watching Tara Lipinski in 1998 at Nagano briefly put my entire life plan as a fourth grader into question. But some things need to stay on the rink.
So now that I've warned you, I hope that you're prepared for what you're about to see — and may Johnny Weir be with you.
1. The Sweetheart Illusion Cutout
The periwinkle is a unique shade for a prom dress...
Lexi Dress, $200, Windsor
... but when the answer to "who wore it better" is Mao Asada, you know you've gone too far.
2. The Bedazzled Fire Engine Halter
Crop top prom dresses really are amazing.
Vanni Dress, $150, Windsor
This bejeweled halter combo may seem innocent enough (if you're heading out on a magic carpet ride), but Kim Yuna has a better idea.
3. The Britney, Bitch (On Ice)
A bedazzled, sheer number is perfect for channeling your favorite pop star...
Promo Popstar Dress, $249, Windsor
...or Nancy Kerrigan, who made a great choice in Vera Wang back in 1994.
4. The Long Sleeve Lacy Micro Mini
Yay, lace instead of sequins!
Think Pink Lace Dress, $45, Windsor
TBH, this just makes me want to explore the possibilities of incorporating marabou into corsages.
5. The Appliqué High Neck
The high neckline gives even a short, turquoise dress made of tulle a vintage feel.
Dave and Johnny Short Lace High Neck Dress, $198, Prom Girl
Yet, once again, Kim Yuna comes out on top.
6. The Dramatic Two Piece With "Invisible" Inserts
OK, I understand what the idea was here...
Two Piece With Two Tone Appliqué Dress, $260, Camille La Vie
...but in real life, people have eyes that can see when you're wearing "flesh tone" mesh and trying to pretend that it's "your skin."
7. The Bubblegum Princess
Pink is always perfect for prom.
Cocktail Dress, Sherri Hill
And even better for the rink.
8. The Long Sleeve Black Mesh
For the girl who's sooo over prom.
Mesh Insert Long Sleeve Skater Dress, $60, Missguided
To be fair, this is kind of a hip skating getup. Like Nasty Gal on ice.
9. The Pastel Encrusted Boatneck
Something about jeweled necklines...
Joleanne Dress, $100, Windsor
...just scream "Winter Olympics."
10. The Barely There Back (With Rhinestones!)
Sure, it's different from what everyone else will be wearing.
Cleopatra Dress, $150, Windsor
But I still think you should only wear a dress that looks like this if you're prepared to clear the dance floor and perform a triple axel.
11. The Glittery Asymmetrical
So simple! So sweet!
One Shoulder Short Glitter Dress, $69, Simply Dresses
Michelle Kwan looks dreamy in this sparkly white one-shoulder thing, so maybe this one is actually OK.
12. The Tara Lipinski
Seriously, if you're a massive Tara Lipinski fangirl...
Alyce Paris Short Beaded Sleeveless Party Dress, $250, Prom Girl
...this literally has the same embellishment pattern.
13. The Coral Sweetheart
That neckline is 100 percent meant to be paired with ice skates.
Short Embroidered Fit And Flare Dress, $198, Prom Girl
The perils are clear. You've been warned.
Images: Courtesy Brands; Getty Images