Get Prom Inspiration From Emma Watson, Rihanna, And Taylor Swift’s Red Carpet Style

There are certainly some girls who know exactly what prom dress they’re going to wear from the day they start high school. They know exactly what they want, and they seek it out. In the prom issue of ASOS magazine, Sarah Hyland talks about how she knew precisely which dress she wanted, and she ended up finding it, exactly, in the sale rack of a discount shop, the only one, in her size. For some girls, prom can be magic. On the flip side, though, there are some girls who aren’t totally sure what look they’re going for, let alone where to go looking for that specific dress. If you’re feeling particularly stumped, a good place to start is to think back on some of your favorite red carpet looks. While it’s probably a challenge to acquire the EXACT dress your favorite starlet wore on the carpet, those fancy frocks are often a VERY good jumping point. To get you going, we looked at signature looks from three of our red carpet faves for inspiration, and found three dresses that any girl could totally rock at prom for that red carpet vibe.


Emma Watson at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards.
Photo: Getty

If you’re not into the traditional prom dress, it’s OK. Emma Watson isn’t into traditional red carpet looks either, but she’s figured out a consistently fabulous workaround. The trailblazing actress has been a Best Dressed staple for us for years, in particular for her love of short, form-fitting silhouettes in graphic prints. You just don’t see much of that on the red carpet, and just like it stands out at an awards show, we’re confident that it would also stand out on the dance floor at your prom. Luckily, there are a number of different ways you can wear Emma’s signature style.

Dresses inspired by Emma Watson’s red carpet style.
Photo: Nasty Gal/Topshop

If you’re looking to be a little spendy, we LOVE Nasty Gal’s Lumeria dress ($300.00). The blue TIE-DYE frock features a body-hugging silhouette, asymmetrical (but not TOO asymmetrical) hemline, and a completely unique print that we adore. If you’re comfortable going even more casual, Topshop’s Floral Stripe Cut Out Dress ($84.00) is a practical option, since you can dress it up or down, and therefore, wear it night after night, not just at prom. Finally, for something in between, the Techno Sound Dress ($70.00), also from Nasty Gal, features a bold, versatile print, with splashes of metallic to really keep things interesting.


Rihanna’s 2013 Grammy Awards dress.
Photo: Getty

This year on Grammy night, EVERYONE was talking about Rihanna’s custom Alaia gown on the red carpet. The draping was flawless, the train absolutely astonishing, and pulled together with the right beauty look, Rihanna looked like she and the dress were made for each other. A red dress at prom is a bold move, but a really good one. Not only does red look good on most people (even redheads!), but it photographs incredibly well, so you’ll look great in those prom photos. Now, not everyone has access to custom designer gowns, but not to worry, we found some options that ALMOST make up for it.

Prom Dresses inspired by Rihanna’s 2013 Grammy dress.
Photo: ASOS/Farfetch

We love ASOS’ Von Vonni Long “transformer” adjustable dress ($250.60), because it still has the length and drama we’re looking for but in a slightly more practical cut, without that tricky train. The Coast Lyla Maxi Dress ($290.94) from ASOS is another more subdued option, with spaghetti straps and a girlish bow around the waist. If you’re looking for something a little more dramatic, the Aryn K Strapless Sweetheart Maxi Dress ($133.00) may seem like a simple strapless dress at first, but the sheer chiffon skirt adds a touch of that Rihanna danger to the otherwise classic look.


Taylor Swift’s 2013 People’s Choice Awards Dress.
Photo: Getty

Taylor Swift has something of a reputation for wearing the same three colors on the red carpet: white, red, and gold, with white being her absolute fave. That doesn’t mean that she never surprises us, though, and her plunging neckline at the 2013 People’s Choice awards certainly turned more than a few heads. We love the idea of wearing white to prom, but it can be hard to stay formal without being too bridal. We used Taylor’s scandalous dress as an inspiration to find unexpected whites that you won’t see walking down the aisle ANY time soon.

Dresses inspired by Taylor Swift’s 2013 People’s Choice Awards look.
Photo: Zappos/BCBG

For a classic feel, BCBG’s Magdalena Draped Jersey Evening Gown is closest to Taylor’s, and is a simple, elegant gown for a girl who wants to look beautiful and but still be able to move around. Another elegant option is the the Cross Bodice Halter Gown w/ Contrast Lace ($198.00), with a universally flattering halter neckline and fitted waist. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to go a little more out there, the Helena Sleeveless Jumpsuit ($268.00) is the answer to ALL of your prom prayers. A jumpsuit? At prom? Absolutely.

What celeb inspires your prom style?

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