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Some girls prefer the glitzy red-carpet look, while others wish to appear as if they’ve stepped from the pages of a storybook. This year for prom, everything goes.

“We’re selling many more of the trendy sequin dresses in hot pink, gold and silver,” said Nicole Robeck, owner of Nicole Robeck Fashion Boutique.

The bright and bold colors seem to mirror those dresses worn by celebrities on the red carpet, she added.

At David’s Bridal, the more traditional styles tend to be going out the door, which could be influenced by this year’s Central/ Stevens prom theme of “Fairytale.” Tammy Jo Abel, David’s assistant manager, said the more traditional pink and blue gowns have received the most attention. However, magenta, raspberry and purple gowns are also popular.

“They seem to favor the poufy styles this year, with bold jewelry,” Abel said.

Keara Bradford, a senior at Central High School, already has her “dream dress,” a baby-blue Cinderella ball gown, which she purchased online.

“I’m so excited about it, and I also have had my hair appointment booked for a month,” she said.

The windows of Audra’s Bridal Gallery feature everything from classic black-and-white floor-length formals to tie-dyed short ensembles.

“If someone hasn’t stopped in to try a dress within a couple of weeks, we’ll change out the display,” said owner Audra Sayler.

Inside the store, shoppers will find three-dimensional flowers, iridescent fabrics, sequined sheaths and jeweled bodices.

“This year, truly everything goes,” said Sayler, whose initial prom sales started back in November.

The store is carrying more short styles than in years past, due to market trends and local demand. Which hem length is most popular this season remains to be seen.

At Magic Moments Bridal, many shoppers first try on short dresses, but then tend to go back to longer styles. Dresses with patterns and “the mermaid look” were all featured at the buyers’ prom fashion shows attended by the store.

“Girls with short dresses want more bling,” said Fran Cersosimo, co-owner of Magic Moments.

“Colored stones and sequins are in.”

Ashley Vanwell, a Central student from Summerset, said she wore a short dress last year, but has started looking for a longer one for this year’s Central/Stevens prom, which is April 16.

“I don’t think the styles have changed that much, but I’m ready to move toward something longer,” said the junior.

Emily Heezen, a high school senior from Pierre, tried a few dresses before finding her perfect gown at Audra’s. When she came to Rapid City, she knew the dress “had to be long,” and that it had to complement her boyfriend’s tuxedo. She brought her mom, Tammy, and another friend to help with the selection process.

 “When she tries on the right one, she will know,” said Tammy Heezen.

Most of the guys will wait to pick out their prom attire until after their date’s dress has been selected, and Sayler said the guys have a lot of fun with their choices.

“We advertise that we have more colors than the rainbow,” she said of the palette available for vests and ties. She added that some guys go all out and order brightly colored tuxedos like the characters in some of their favorite movies.

Girls also shop in groups to scout out dresses.

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“They seem to be more influenced by what friends think than what they truly like,” Cersosimo said. “They first come in groups, but mom usually has final approval.”

Another secret to prom dress success is being the only one at your prom dressed in your style.

“Every girl wants to be exclusive,” said Cersosimo, and the store she operates with her sister, Trish Jones, goes to great lengths to assure that will happen.

Jones and Cersosimo keep track of each dress and the school at which it will be appearing. With prices ranging from $160 to $400, they feel the girls deserve that level of attention.

“One of us is always here, so we have no trouble keeping track,” Cersosimo said.

Robeck agreed.

“This is such a special occasion. They each want to be the only one and we have to treat them special. Once a dress is going to a school in a certain color, we may suggest an alternate color,” she said.

Audra’s and David’s Bridal also track the girls’ selections to avoid duplication.

So, while everything goes this year, is there anything new on the prom scene?

 “Again, it may be the theme, but we’ve sold a few tiaras this year,” said Abel of David’s Bridal.

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