The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

April 19, 2012

Top rule of picking prom wear: Tie must match the dress

JOPLIN, Mo. — Ethan Williams and Kendra Buchele are prom pros. The couple will go to their fourth prom next week at McDonald Co. High School. This year, Buchele took the reins for picking outfits.

“I wanted a fairy tale dress; a big, poofy gown,” Buchele, of Neosho, said. “So, I made him get a traditional tux with tails, top hat and a cane.”

Williams, of Anderson, said one of the toughest things about prom was easier this year -- picking the color of the tux was harder than picking the color of the tie.

As prom season approaches, the responsibilities of planning the perfect date loom large, and none more so than the selection of the outfits. Williams and Buchele said clothing is the biggest selection, even more important than the dinner.

And when it comes to clothing, there is one cardinal rule: The guy’s tie must match the girl’s gown. It’s one of the things a guy must get exactly right, said Rebecca Gubera, manager of the Men’s Wearhouse location in Joplin.

“It’s the one thing we stress,” Gubera said. “People come in with some crazy colors that make the odds of matching hard. But as long as it’s color coordinated and accents her dress, it’s good.”

But not good enough for some.

Some girls come in with fabric samples or swatches. Others bring the dress or shoes. Others are very picky about the colors matching. Gubera said that some girls have taken tux-wearing mannequins outside just to check matches in sunlight.

On Tuesday night, one girl brought in her shoes to make sure the tie was the exact color of copper, she said.

“I’d say about 90 percent of the time they want an exact match,” Gubera said.

Many teens today use cell phones to aid the color coordination.

Kourtney Ziercher took a picture of her dress in the store to send to her date, Michael George, for her prom last year at Barat Academy in Chesterfield, Mo.

“I told him it was burnt orange, and he got the tie to match,” she said.

“She knew that it was not a typical color, but the tie I got even had a little design on it that matched the design on the dress,” Michael said, referring to a light tiger stripe print on the fabric. “She was really excited about it. The girl’s dress is a big deal. If the outfit doesn’t go perfectly, if the guy isn’t matching, it’s a problem. I made sure it worked.”

But with so many dresses store-bought these days, and with cell phone photos sometimes producing unreliable hues, stores often provide physical swatches to assist in color coordination. David’s Bridal, which expects to sell 110,000 prom dresses this year in 300 stores, sells fabric swatches for $1 with dress purchases.

David’s Bridal also has a partnership with Men’s Wearhouse that makes it easy for young men to get accessories in coordinated hues for their dates’ dresses. Guys can order ties, vests and cummerbunds from Men’s Wearhouse using the same terms David’s Bridal uses to identify the dress colors  -- names like “watermelon pink” or “Malibu blue” -- and be guaranteed an ensemble that works.

“Since the beginning of time, everyone wants a tie that matches,” said Jennifer Ellis, assistant manager at the Joplin branch of David’s Bridal. “A customer the other day had a dress that was a melon, reddish maroon color. She had to take her dress there to match.”

Amanda Nohrenberg, store manager for David’s Bridal in Eugene, says “90 percent, if not 99 percent” of her prom customers want their dates to match. “If they aren’t coordinating, it’s because the guy is wearing a neutral color like black or white.”

Many couples also plan matching corsages and boutonnieres. “The girls are saying, ‘This is what I’m wearing and I want it to match the flowers,”’ said Pennylyn Kaine, owner of Blossom & Bee Floral and Event Design in Newfoundland, N.J.

Sometimes the boys come in “either with their phone picture or a physical swatch, but now what’s happening more often is, the girls are coming in and picking it out in advance,” said Kaine. “They’re actually saying, ‘This is what I want. I’m going to send my boyfriend in and he’s going to pay for it.’”

-- Beth J. Harpaz, of The Associated Press, contributed to this report.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose tours downtown Diamond

    A lost llama on the lam hoofed it down Main Street here today before it took refuge in a fenced yard that had only one way in and out.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho school board hires company to manage substitutes

    Citing its hopes of shifting health care costs and utilizing more time from retired teachers, the Neosho Board of Education granted a contract Monday to a temporary employee company to manage its substitute teacher program.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cherokee County Commission accepts general counsel's resignation

    Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the Cherokee County Commission since 2005, submitted a handwritten resignation to the board on Monday in the aftermath of a landfill controversy.

    July 22, 2014

  • Thunderstorms possible overnight in Joplin area

    Thunderstorms are expected to develop across northern Missouri late today and could move south into the area this evening and overnight, according to a hazardous weather outlook issued this afternoon by the National Weather Service.

    July 22, 2014

  • 071514 KC Atkins 3.jpg SLIDESHOW: Treasures of Tut Through Sept. 7, “The Discovery of King Tut” will draw tens of thousands of visitors to Kansas City’s Union Station to discover the history and mystery of the most famous Pharaoh who ever reigned over the Nile Valley.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Iraq_Cast(4).jpg Iraq Christians flee with little more than clothes

    Iraqi Christians who fled the northern city of Mosul rather than convert to Islam by a deadline imposed by extremist militants said they had to leave most of their belongings behind and gunmen stole much of what they did manage to take along.

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • Kevin Cure resigns as counsel for county commission in wake of Galena landfill debate

    In the wake of a Cherokee County landfill controversy, Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the county’s Board of Commissioners since 2005, submitted a hand-written resignation to the board on Monday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Area residents pessimistic about state of the economy

    Joplin’s employment rate is better than the statewide average, but many area residents “still feel like they’re in a recession,” an economist told a group of public officials and business leaders today.

    July 22, 2014