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Prom Perfection: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Dress Color (2024)

Choosing the right prom dress is a big decision. There is a lot to think about — the style is one thing, but then what color do you choose? 

When faced with a dress that comes in 40 different shades, each hue appealing in its own right, it’s like standing before a kaleidoscope of choices where each turn presents a new possibility. The multitude of options means there’s a perfect color out there for everyone, but it also means making a decision requires careful consideration. It’s not just about what looks good; it’s about what feels right.

How to choose a prom dress color FB

The color of your dress is a form of self-expression, a way to communicate your personality without saying a word. It’s about finding that one shade that not only complements your natural coloring but also captures the essence of your spirit.

In a sea of options, your task is to find the color that anchors you, that feels like a natural extension of who you are, and in which you can confidently sail into the memorable night that is prom.

Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself. 

What To Consider When Choosing Prom Dress Color 

#1. Choose Your Favorite Color

It ensures that you’ll be wearing a hue that you’re naturally drawn to and that you feel represents you. 

Often, our favorite color is one that we have an emotional connection with; it can evoke feelings of happiness, calmness, or excitement whenever we see it. This affinity might be rooted in pleasant memories, an aspect of your personality, or simply because it looks flattering when you wear it.

If you do have a favorite color, ask yourself why it resonates with you. Is it because it reminds you of a cherished moment, like the azure blue of a family vacation by the sea? Or does it reflect a trait you value in yourself, such as the boldness associated with red? Your favorite color can serve as a personal emblem, a signature shade that tells a piece of your story.

Choosing a prom dress in this color means you’ll likely feel more confident and comfortable throughout the night, as you’re enveloped in a shade that is so intrinsically ‘you’. It can also simplify the decision-making process, allowing you to focus on other aspects of the dress, such as the style and fit. Remember, prom night is a celebration, and what better way to celebrate than by surrounding yourself with a color that brings you joy?

#2. Consider Your Skin Undertone

When selecting the color of your prom dress, your skin’s undertone can greatly influence how different shades look on you. Skin undertones are the subtle hues that lie beneath the surface of your skin and can be categorized as cool, warm, or neutral. 

Cool undertones tend to look good with cool colors like blues, while warm undertones pair well with earthy tones and warm colors. For those with neutral undertones, most colors will complement your skin.

By understanding and embracing your skin’s natural undertones, you can select a prom dress color that will naturally highlight your features and ensure you look your absolute best on this memorable occasion.

If you don’t already know what your skin’s undertones are, flip over your wrist and look at the veins there. Do they look more green or more blue? If you’d say green that means you have warm undertones. While if they look blue to you that means you have cool undertones.

You can also try a quiz like this one from L’Oréal to answer a few more questions and make certain. 

Now that you have that figured out, you can basically look at any piece of clothing and know, generally, if the color is going to look good on you or not. 

Keeping an eye on current trends can provide valuable inspiration when choosing your prom dress color, and for 2024, shades of gray are taking center stage in the fashion world. 

This color has a broad spectrum, from soft, pale silvers to deep, dark charcoals. So there is a range of options to suit any style. Gray can convey a sense of timeless elegance, and it works beautifully with a variety of accent colors if you wish to incorporate additional hues into your prom look.

Embracing the trend of gray also allows for flexibility in accessorizing. The color pairs well with metallics for a glamorous touch, or with pops of bold color for a more contemporary, eye-catching ensemble. 

Whether you opt for a light gray that exudes a gentle, romantic vibe or a dark gray that exudes a modern, chic feel, choosing a shade of gray in line with the 2024 trend can make your prom outfit fashion-forward and memorable.

#4. Consider Your Personal Style

Selecting a prom dress color that mirrors your personality and style is a powerful way to ensure you feel truly yourself on prom night. Your choice of color can speak volumes about who you are and what you stand for.

If you’re someone with a vibrant and energetic personality, you might gravitate towards bright and bold colors like hot pink or electric blue. If you’re known for your calm and collected demeanor, softer shades such as sage green or dusty blue might be more your speed, reflecting your tranquil nature. If you’re someone who values tradition and timeless beauty, classic colors like black, red, or navy might be your go-to.

Your prom dress color is an extension of your wardrobe and should align with your everyday style while also offering the opportunity to amplify it for this special occasion. Whether you prefer minimalist chic, bohemian whimsy, or edgy glam, let your personal style lead the way in choosing a color that feels authentic to you and complements your unique sense of self.

#5. Reflect on Color Psychology

This is a fascinating aspect to consider when choosing your prom dress color, as different colors can elicit various emotional responses and convey distinct messages.

For example, blue is often associated with stability and calmness, making it a color that can help you feel serene and composed on what might be a nerve-wracking night (Verywell Mind). Red is a color that’s frequently linked to passion and excitement, potentially boosting your confidence and making you the center of attention (Science of People).

Yellow, with its sunny and cheerful connotations, can evoke feelings of optimism and happiness, perfect for someone who wants to portray a positive and bright demeanor (Toptal). Green is often tied to growth and renewal, and wearing a green dress could symbolize a new chapter in your life as you celebrate the end of your high school journey.

Considering color psychology allows you to choose a dress color that not only looks visually appealing but also resonates with you on an emotional level. It’s a way to subtly communicate your personality and intentions through your fashion choices. For additional reading on how colors affect human mood and behavior, consider exploring the resources provided above to deepen your understanding of color psychology and its potential impact on your prom night experience.

#6. Complementing Your Date

Complementing your date’s outfit when choosing your prom dress color doesn’t necessarily mean matching colors exactly, but rather selecting a dress color that harmonizes with your date’s attire. For example, if your date is wearing a classic black suit, you might choose a dress in a color that offers a striking contrast, like a bold red or a subtle blush, to complement the look without blending in too much.

If your date has chosen a suit in a more “adventurous” color or pattern, you could select a dress in a complementary shade that brings out a color in their outfit. For example, a navy suit could pair beautifully with a dress in a cool silver tone, while a burgundy suit could be complemented by a dress in a warm white.

burgundy suit and white dress

Communicate with your date about their outfit choice to ensure that both of you feel comfortable and confident in how your outfits work together.

#7. Don’t Discard A Multicolored Dress

Don’t shy away from the idea of a multicolored prom dress; it can be a stunning choice for an unforgettable prom experience. It allows you to showcase your unique style and personality. 

A dress featuring a blend of colors offers a eye-catching alternative to a single-hued gown. The varied palette within a multicolored dress can provide more options for accessorizing, as you can pick up on different colors from the dress for your shoes, jewelry, and even your date’s attire.

A multicolored dress can also be quite versatile, as it may complement a wider range of skin tones. With multiple shades at play, you’re likely to find a color within the pattern that flatters your complexion. 

A multicolored dress can set you apart from everybody with its unique appeal.

When wearing a multicolored dress, try to balance your look by keeping accessories neutral or selecting one color from the dress to highlight through your additional pieces. This approach ensures that your ensemble is not overwhelming.

MANER Women's Sequin Dress Sparkly Glitter V-Neck Sleeveless Party Dress Club Cocktail Tank Dress (S, Periwinkle/Festival Fuchsia/Dark Purple)
MANER Women’s Sequin Dress

Amazon Prime Before You Try Program

Once you have a sense of what colors might be good for your prom night, the next step is to bring those color ideas to life. This is where the Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy program becomes an invaluable tool. It allows you to experiment with various hues by trying on a selection of prom dresses in the comfort of your home. 

The Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy program offers a convenient solution for trying on prom dresses in various colors without the immediate commitment to purchase. This service allows Prime members to select clothing items, including prom dresses, have them shipped to their home, try them on, and only pay for what they decide to keep.

When it comes to choosing a prom dress color, this program can be particularly beneficial. With the ability to order multiple dresses in different colors, you can directly see which shade complements your skin tone, matches your accessories, and aligns with your personal style – all in the comfort of your own home. This try-before-you-buy experience eliminates the guesswork and potential regret that can come with choosing a dress color based on online images alone. For example, if you’re undecided between a classic navy or a bold red dress for prom, you can order both options through Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy. Once they arrive, you can assess which color makes you feel most confident. You can also consider the lighting in which you’ll be wearing the dress, as colors can look significantly different in daylight versus artificial lighting at the prom venue.

So, step by step let’s look at the best colors and patterns for you to consider as you think about what prom dress color is right for me and finalize your perfect prom ensemble. 

Dress Colors For Warm Undertones

Earthy Tones: Examples of this are terracotta, rust, and olive green — tones that you would quite literally see in nature. These colors harmonize well with warm undertones.

Warm Reds and Oranges: Opt for warm shades of red (red can be warm or cool), like tomato red or coral, and oranges that have a golden undertone. These colors can enhance your natural warmth. And if you’re curious what is the most popular color prom dress, this is it — reds are really having a moment right now.

Lindo Noiva Long Bridesmaid Dresses for Wedding Coral Chiffon Cold Shoulder Off Shoulder Ruffles Sleeves Prom Dress with Slit Party Evening Gowns Size 6 LNL048
Lindo Noiva Long Dress

Yellow and Mustard: Yellow tones, especially mustard, can compliment warm undertones beautifully. They add vibrancy without being overpowering.

Knitee Women's Off Shoulder V-Neck Ruffle Pleat Waist Bodycon Evening Cocktail Slit Formal Dress (Medium, XX-Large) Yellow
Knitee Women’s Off Shoulder V-Neck Dress

Warm Greens and Browns: Choose greens like olive or moss green. Browns, including camel and chocolate, can also be quite flattering.

Eightale Prom Dresses Olive Green Tulle Sparkly A Line Lace Appliques for Women with Slit Long Spaghetti Straps Formal Party Evening Gowns Corset US8
Eightale Prom Dress

Peach and Apricot: Soft peach and apricot are really gentle and bring out the warmth in your skin.

Warm Neutrals: Warm neutrals are colors like camel, tan, or warm beige. These tones provide a really classic, timeless look and are a great base for more aggressive accessorizing!

Golds: Gold and other warm metallic colors such as copper and bronze compliment warm undertones more so than cool silvers. (This is also good to keep in mind when accessorizing your prom look).

Dress Colors For Cool Undertones

Cool Blues and Greens: The best blues for cool-toned skin are shades like navy, cobalt, or icy hues. And for greens go for shades such as emerald or mint.

Ever-Pretty Women's Spaghetti Straps Slit Floor-Length Summer Wedding Guest Dress Mint Green US6
Ever-Pretty Women’s Spaghetti Straps Slit Dress

Purples and Lavenders: Look for lavender or plum as these shades will enhance the cool undertones in your skin.

Wedding Guest Dresses for Women Sparkly Glitter Wrap Dress Cocktail Party Wedding Maxi Dresses with Slit Purple L
Glitter Wrap Dress

Cool Pinks and Magentas: Opt for cool-toned pinks and magentas — more towards a baby pink shade.

Women's Cocktail Dresses Flapper Dresses 20s Gatsby with All-Over Fringe Mini Dresses Feather Prom Party Dress(Pink,S)
Fringe Mini Dress

Jewel Tones: Deep jewel tones like sapphire, amethyst, and jade can provide a rich look for cool undertones.

MUSHARE Women's Halter Neck Sexy Split Cocktail Party Maxi Long Formal Dress Royal Blue
MUSHARE Women’s Halter Dress

Cool Grays and Silvers: Cool grays — which have more white in them than black, look really nice on cool undertones. Match these with silver jewelry to complement your skin best.

Icy Whites: Crisp, icy whites can brighten your complexion really nicely. Avoid shades like cream or off-white that may have warmer undertones.

Cool Neutrals: The best neutrals to reach for are charcoal, slate gray, or cool taupe. These colors also provide a sort of blank canvas look to accessorize on.

Alex Evenings Women's Long Cold Shoulder Dress (Petite and Regular Sizes), Smoke Glitter, 12
Alex Evenings Women’s Long Cold Shoulder Dress

Flattering Your Body Shape

Generally speaking, the cut of your dress is going to be what matters most when working to flatter your particular body shape. That being said, there are definitely colors that generally slim your figure out, and there are others which help to add optical-illusion curves.

Slimming prom dress colors

Black: Black is generally agreed to be one of the most slimming colors. It’s also incredibly sleek and chic.

Sarin Mathews Women Off The Shoulder Short Sleeve High Low Cocktail Skater Dress Black L
Sarin Mathews Women Off The Shoulder Dress

Other dark shades: Along with black, navy, charcoal, and deep burgundy can create a visually slimming effect by minimizing shadows and creating a streamlined silhouette.

Vertical Stripes: Vertical stripes, whether subtle or bold, can make your body look visually longer. This is great for adding height that doesn’t come naturally to you (I can relate) as well as creating a slimming effect.

ONAXTDA Light Blue Long Sleeve Prom Dress Vertical Stripe Sequins Short Formal Dress Sheath One Shoulder Club Dress Light Blue Size 2
ONAXTDA Long Sleeve Prom Dress Vertical Stripe Sequins

Neutral Tones: Taupe, gray, and other dark neutral tones can help create a more slimming look.

GRACE KARIN Women's Wrap V-Neck Formal Evening Gowns Swing Dress Brown Size 2XL
GRACE KARIN Women’s Wrap V-Neck Dress

Prom Dress Colors To Emphasize Curves

Alternatively, if you want to really draw attention to your curves, or even add the illusion that you have more than you do, there are certain colors and patterns that can help you do that.

Rich, Deep Colors: Think rich reds or deep purples which will draw attention overall while creating a more visually dynamic silhouette.

Women's Cocktail Dresses for Women Evening Party, Tea Party Dresses for Women 2024 Wedding Guest Dress, Black Prom Semi Formal Dress Elegant Lace Silk Bridal Shower Dress for Women Burgundy L
Women’s Cocktail Dress

Bright, Bold Colors: Something like a bright teal or even a vibrant, hot pink can draw attention to any of the curves you do have.

GRACE KARIN Women's Sequin Glitter Flared A-line Cocktail Dress Size S Dark Green
GRACE KARIN Women’s Sequin Glitter A-line Dress

Lighter Shades: At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, some lighter colors can also help create curves by reflecting more light. Try out a soft pink or a baby blue.

EYNMIN Women's Sleeveless Bodycon Corset Maxi Dress Spaghetti Strap Ruched Elegant Evening Party Long Dresses Blue L
EYNMIN Women’s Bodycon Corset Maxi Dress

Patterns and Prints: Some of the best patterns to add dimension to your body are diagonal stripes or an hourglass print that come in around your waist and out towards your bust and knees. Other similar patterns that come together around your midsection will create visual lines that slim your middle making your top and bottom seem fuller.

Coordinating Colors With Your Date

If you have a date (and if you don’t that is a-ok, feel totally confident going to prom solo!) coordinating your looks is not only going to make you look cohesive and shiny throughout the night but it’s also super fun! And remember, when thinking about how to match prom dress and tuxedo you can also match the bowtie to your dress color, or your corsage to the suit color.  

So, how to match a prom dress and tuxedo?

  1. Start with the Dress: Typically, the prom dress is chosen first. The dress is often the statement piece, so it sets the tone for the coordinating attire.
  2. Color Coordination: Use the color of the prom dress as a starting point for selecting tuxedo accessories. For a harmonious look, choose a tie, bow tie, pocket square, cummerbund, or even a vest that complements or matches a color in the dress.
  3. Neutral Tuxedo: A classic black tuxedo is a safe and versatile choice that pairs well with any dress color. It allows for more flexibility with accessory colors to match the dress.
  4. Keep it Simple: Avoid overmatching by keeping the tuxedo simple if the prom dress is heavily detailed or patterned. Let the dress stand out while the tuxedo complements it.
  5. Communicate: Discuss with your date about their dress color or any details they want to highlight. This ensures both parties are on the same page with the matching process.
  6. Accessorize Wisely: Pay attention to the smaller details. Pocket squares, cufflinks, and even socks can be coordinated with the prom dress for a complete look.

Here are seven common suit colors and what goes great with them:

Black: A classic black is a reliable pick which looks awesome with most any color. But a deep shade like a red creates a striking contrast.

man wearing a black suit and woman with red dress

Navy Blue: Another popular pick, navy is sometimes seen as a slightly more modern choice. This suit color looks amazing with a gold dress which adds warmth to your couple look.

man in a navy blue suit and woman in gold dress

Gray: A subtle yet stylish choice, a gray suit is a really nice balance between formality and versatility. One of the most classic pairings, and for good reason, is the gray suit with a blush pink dress. The softness of the pink is a perfect contrast to the gray suit.

couple wearing a blush pink dress and gray suit

White or Ivory: This clean color on a suit makes a bold statement. Pair it with a coral dress for a stylish contrast.

man in a white suit with a woman wearing a coral dress

Midnight Blue: This is a deep, rich shade which is a fun, but safe alternative to traditional navy. With this shade a silver or gray dress goes wonderfully

woman wearing a gray lace dress with a man wearing a midnight blue suit

Pinstripe: A pinstripe suit adds a nice little bit of flair and can go really nicely with a dress in a deep red.

man wearing a pinstripe suit with woman with red dress

No doubt there is a lot to think about when trying to answer the question what color prom dress should I wear. But always remember, the most important thing about the dress you pick is that you feel comfortable and confident in it. That is going to translate to utter magic all night long!

How to choose a prom dress color pinterest

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