Formal Statement: 20 Dope Prom Dresses (That Are All Under $300)

A little bird told us that it’s time to start shopping for a prom dress. Ok, no, that’s not entirely how it went down: A little bird (named Iryna) emailed us and asked, “Would you want to help a sister out and offer some prom dress/general evening dress suggestions?” Well, here you go, gurl: 20 ideas—all by super-cool designers and all less than $300—to get you started. And for those of you whose prom memories are currently being mined for #tbt fodder, I present this: a trip to the big-dance attire archives with Laney Boggs, Brenda Walsh, and Josie Grossie. —erica

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Left to right: Ryan Roche, Shona Joy, Erin Fetherston, Erin Fetherston.

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Left to right: Motel, J Brand, 10 Crosby Derek Lam.

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Left to right: Tucker, Horses Atelier, Alice + Olivia.

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Left to right: Alice + Olivia, Halston Heritage, 10 Crosby Derek Lam, Alice + Olivia.

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Left to right: Parker, L’Agence, Amanda Uprichard.

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Left to right: Halston Heritage, Acne, Rag & Bone.

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Next Level: Dressy Jumpsuits

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Is there a reason—a good one—that a jumpsuit can’t get a little serious, a tad grown-up? Don’t think so. These are four that mean it. —erica

LEVEL I: Steven Alan goes super-classic. You know, for a jumpsuit.

LEVEL II: Huh! This A.L.C. getup looks like separates without the trouble of putting an outfit together.

LEVEL III: Yah, yah, strapless. But put a blazer over this 10 Crosby guy—a tuxedo jacket, even?—and it’s ready for action.

LEVEL IV: Get a load of those pinstripes and pleats, via Band of Outsiders. This sucker is very Serious Business Lady in a Melanie Griffith way.

Fall down the “Next Level” rabbit hole.

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Weather Vain: Marfa, Texas - 53 and Clear

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Yah know, I’ve never been to Marfa, but it just seems like one of those magical places—the sort of spot that you want to pick up your life and move to after spending a day there. Here’s how to go if that day’s today. —erica

Clockwise from top left:

+ A Thomas IV clutch, as cool and chill as the Thunderbird Hotel.

+ K/LLER earrings, minimalist in a way Donald Judd could appreciate.

+ A To Be Adored leather skirt suited for some small plates—or, ok, shrimp and grits—at Miniature Rooster.

+ A shirt-jacket situation from Ace & Jig that’s ready for a cool desert night.

+ This 10 Crosby linen tee plus a Marfalafel from Food Shark equal low-key afternoon.

+ A Maniamania ring that’s bizarre and weirdly enticing—kinda like the Marfa Lights.

+ Acne boots itching to catch a show at Padres.

Get all the “Weather Vain” you can handle.

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Next Level: Asymmetrical Wrap Skirts

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Let’s be real: If you’re going to cope with chilly legs, it better be for good reason. Here, four skirts totally worth pulling on the never-quite-warm-enough tights. —erica 

LEVEL I: This Elizabeth and James number is black and blue in the best of ways.

LEVEL II: Wooly and warm! And not too short. This Kaelen guy can totally go to the office.

LEVEL III: There’s something so luxe-looking about this faux pony 10 Crosby style. Very tony, if you will.

LEVEL IV: Yah, there’s a lot happening here. But this Kenzo sitch goes so well with black tights, black tops, black boots…

It’s “Next Level” madness!

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Next Level: Wide-Leg Pants

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You’ve probably been wearing thigh-hugging, ankle-gripping pants for so long now that you’ve totally forgotten what it feels like to pull on a pair of billowy bottoms. Well, now’s your chance to remember. —erica

LEVEL I: Yes, yes—these MSGM guys are very Annie Hall.

LEVEL II: So loose and breezy, this Acne pair is so ready to hang at a country cottage. Or at the breakfast spot on your block.

LEVEL III: From the front, this Elizabeth and James style doesn’t look so crazy. But then you catch a side view.

LEVEL IV: LOUD. FUN. But these 10 Crosby Derek Lam pants have enough black, white, and gray in the mix to make putting the rest of your outfit together pretty easy.

Some serious “Next Level” action if you click this way…

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Fave Look: 10 Crosby Derek Lam

The very best of the Spring 2014 collections! Well, in our opinion. Follow all the picks here.

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10 Crosby Derek Lam, from WWD.

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In Character: Mona Lisa Vito

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Remember how GD dynamite Marisa Tomei was in My Cousin Vinny? I mean, the Academy recalls (and so does George Costanza). Here, the key witness essentials. —erica

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A 10 Crosby Derek Lam leather jacket, as black as the oil she dealt with during her mechanic days.

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House of Harlow hoops that are more Brooklyn than Beechum County.

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A Rachel Roy dress that’s about as appropriate for a day in court as a maroon tuxedo is.

So much more “In Character” action! Right here!

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Next Level: Seersucker

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Is there a fabric that screams “summer” more loudly than seersucker does? (That’s a rhetorical question, you guys.) Here, four ways to work it as we head into the weekend that kicks off the season. —erica

LEVEL I: A Pret-a-Surf bikini so classic in an Ashley Judd sort of way.

LEVEL II: This Rag & Bone tank leans toward sweet—but wearing it with some ragged jean shorts counteracts that.

LEVEL III: Seersucker, two ways, brought to you by 10 Crosby Derek Lam.

LEVEL IV: Oh, WELL. Didn’t see the leather shawl collar on this Boy by Band of Outsiders blazer coming.

Get a lot more “Next Level” with a single click.

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Next Level: Black Waistbands

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Stacy and Clinton would probably have something to say about how a black band across your belly has a slimming effect, and while we absolutely care, we also just think it looks damn cool. Four ways to have at it. —erica

LEVEL I: The dash of darkness gives this 10 Crosby Derek Lam skirt an easy, transition-to-spring vibe. Wear it with a striped shirt, and BAM.

LEVEL II: Suddenly, a white mini—this one by Elizabeth and James—seems a hell of a lot more approachable.

LEVEL III: No, leather shorts aren’t easy, but the neutral motif of these A.L.C. guys would go so exceedingly well with a slim white oxford.

LEVEL IV: Printed crepe Helmut Lang pants?! OH, why not.

Head on over to our “Next Level” archives!

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Next Level: Varsity Jackets

These days, you don’t have to earn a letterman jacket—you just have to want one. And, dear god, do I. Here, four that knock it out of the park. —erica

LEVEL I: This 10 Crosby Derek Lam puppy has a blazer-like quality that makes it especially easy to rock—like, picture it with a pencil skirt.

LEVEL II: The tweed on this Roseanna one is all deconstructed and French-y. Bonus: It’s a total black-brown switch hitter.

LEVEL III: Spring training, the Rag & Bone way.

LEVEL IV: WHOA, Clover Canyon! But how ridiculously cool would this be with white jeans?!

Get a whole lot more “Next Level” action here.

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