Is Prom really all that?

What the class of 2022 has to say about spring’s biggest activity

Hannah Levy, Senior Staff Writer

Glittering lights. Twirling skirts. Fabulous boutonnières. The date Saturday, May 21 is featured like a marquee sign, bright and bold, attracting the attention of seniors. 

Coming soon: Prom — a night to remember.


Plans, schemes, and whispers have infiltrated Oak Park High School this spring. The logistics are daunting as there is much to coordinate, including transportation, the potential of an afterparty and where to spend the night. Anxiously searching for a date and the right thing to wear, many students are asking themselves: To go or not to go? Let’s see what the class of 2022 has to share.

What does the class of 2022 look like? 

As of March 2, 38% of seniors responded anonymously to a poll regarding prom preferences. Of these respondents, 79.4% replied ‘yes’ they plan on attending prom. The participants were evenly distributed between male and female, as well as 2.9% of the students identifying as non-binary. 33.1% of participants do not plan on having a date. 

With nearly a third responding they do not plan on having a date, are we ditching a tradition that’s been around for decades? Teen Vogue states, “Going to prom alone is the ultimate power move [to avoid] tying yourself down.” The senior class has 357 students; with so many students’ voices unrepresented in the poll, we’ll have to wait and see if the tradition holds and students start coupling up. 

While the question of a date may remain in limbo, students are taking the topic of outfits into their own hands — and they’re making progress. With about two months to go, 30% of respondents either had their outfit already or were in the process of looking for it. The top five colors students plan to wear (from most common to least) are: black, blue, white, red and green, with purple and pink following close behind. Market Insider’s 2019 regional sales showed that “prom goers [favored] shades of red and blue nationwide.” 

What will the dresses actually look like? 

Expect flowy and bodycon fits, either simple or embellished. Market Insider’s data highlighted “V-necks” and “low backs” as being the most popular styles of dresses in 2019. Oak Park seniors responded similarly this year. For those planning on wearing a dress, 41.3% will have a V-neck, 13.3% will have a strapless neckline and 12% will have a round neck, with other necklines such as long sleeves and halters being less common. 

Suit or Tuxedo? 

For those not wearing a dress, 71.2% of respondents plan to wear a suit and 42.4% will wear a tuxedo, with 10.6% planning to wear a vest. Other additions may include suspenders, cufflinks or patterned dress socks. The mixing and matching options leave room for creative freedom. If you are looking for tips to spice up your outfit game, check out the Black Tux’s prom blog. They provide ideas for modern, creative and traditional looks. 

How much is too much? 

From the cost of tickets (estimated to be around $140) and transportation to the outfit itself, how much is this whole thing going to cost? When polled, nearly 46% of seniors plan to spend between $150-$250 on their outfits. The second most popular price range is $100 or less, representing about 35% of respondents, and the third most popular range is $300-$400, chosen 14.7% of the time. Interestingly, the most expensive category of $600 or more had more responses than its predecessor category of $450-$550. Go big or go home?

What feels like an endless stream of decision-making can often seem overwhelming or pointless … depending on who you ask. To some, prom is a highly anticipated evening of magic and fun with friends. To others, it may seem like an obstacle standing in the way of highschool being over. Either way, the class of 2022 made it this far and deserves to celebrate.