Dress Codes: Decoding the Super Hot Short Prom Dress


Don’t lament “you can’t rock it if your school’s gonna stop it.” Most schools have dress codes and those dress codes exist for a reason – someone took advantage of a situation where there weren’t any dress codes, and caused a situation where it was so egregious, one had to be developed. It could also be that they’ve established dress codes as a preemptive measure.

If your school has a strict dress code for prom, you can still be unique and bold! For example, you might look into a much simpler yet unique prom dress design.

Another option is to look at prom dresses by designers who focus on prom, who are aware of the limitations put upon teen girls going to prom. Choose a designer, like Sherri Hill, who has her pulse on the hottest fashions for this year’s prom, makes gorgeous quality gowns and has designs to meet those annoying rules and regulations. Make sure you know about the dress code before checking any collection of prom dresses in dazzling colors.

While the following aren’t “ripped from the headlines,” they are actual, authentic, real rules and regulations from actual, authentic, real schools in the United States. The exact verbiage regarding the length of dresses include:

  • A dress shouldn’t have a slit that exceeds mid-thigh. This is fingertip length.
  • A dress should not exceed more than 2 inches above the knee (front and back).
  • With your arms down by your side, if the skin from your arms touches the skin on your body, below the bust line, the dress is inappropriate.
  • Hemlines or slits for dresses must not be shorter than 2 inches above the knee.
  • A dress must not be shorter than mid thigh, even while dancing.
  • Hemlines for the dress must not be shorter than 1 inch above the knee joint (where the knee bends).
  • Length for ballerina dresses should not be above the knee.
  • A short dress with sheath bottom is not allowed.
  • Bi-level must hit knee.

However, there was a school whose length minimum is:

  • 5” above the middle of the knee.

So … it’s wise to read the rules carefully especially if you want to stand out by wearing one of the unique Sherri Hill prom dresses. Your school’s regulations may look, as the Brits say, “sharpish,” but you may be pleasantly surprised at how flexible they might be. Still, truth to be told, most of the school’s rules were like the ones we’ve highlighted and if we had included all, there would’ve been a good deal of repetition.

The most common rules were 2” above the knee and fingertip length. Yes, it’s a variation on the nuns who used to make uniformed Catholic school girls kneel to ensure their dresses touched the ground, but it’s always better to go into any situation – especially choosing a prom dress – armed with information. We suggest you pull it up on a second open browser on your computer or laptop so you can shop for prom dresses online in one, and then check the dress code on the other.

Ultimately, whatever your school rules are, you will still have plenty of leeway to choose a great dress. Rather than focus on what you can’t wear, consider the most flattering color for you, and what bodice style you like. For the skirt portion of the dress figure out what silhouette is most fetching – at the required length. Rock a short dress, decode the dress code!

In this article

Join the Conversation