The Most Legendary On-Screen Prom Dresses of All Time
From perfectly ’90s bows to high schoolers in Chanel, take a look back at some of the TV and movie prom dresses that still serve up serious inspo.
Marissa Cooper, The O.C.
Never has there ever been a high school student as chic as Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton). The girl was practically a walking Chanel ad from the show's very first episode, so it was only fitting that she wore the designer on prom night. It's been over 10 years since Newport Beach's most infamous teens took on prom, and Cooper's dress is still as envy-worthy as it was back then.
BUFFY SUMMERS, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
As the name of the show states, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) always slays, but perhaps more so at prom, where she wore this lavender strapless dress with a near-magical shine to it. Fitting, right?
Cha Cha DiGregorio may have won the dance-off (whose side are you on, Sonny?) but Sandy's breezy cream dress made her the sartorial winner of the evening.
BRENDA WALSH, BEVERLY HILLS, 90210
Nothing screams '90s teen TV quite like Beverly Hills, 90210 does. So for the show's answer to prom—the generically named "spring dance"—Shannen Doherty's Brenda Walsh went for an of-the-decade black-and-white dress, complete with a big bow. It was such a hit, fellow 90210-er Kelly Taylor also wore it.
DJ TANNER, FULL HOUSE
Brenda Walsh wasn't the only '90s girl to go to prom. Up the California coast, San Franciscan DJ Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure) also attended her own prom in the show's final season, choosing a black off-the-shoulder dress that has really stood the test of time.
SAM MONTGOMERY, A CINDERELLA STORY
When you're going full fairytale, à la Sam (Hilary Duff), don't forget to have many layers of tulle, a mysterious mask and killer heels (that hopefully you won't leave behind).
ELENA GILBERT, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
For a more modern on-screen prom look, Nina Dobrev's character went with a flowing, floral gown in a pretty pink-and-purple hue. It's so chic, we'll forgive her for stealing it from Rebecca for the big night.
BLAIR WALDORF, GOSSIP GIRL
Even Upper East Siders go to prom—and when they do, they look really good. Though this black-and-gold gown initially upset Blair (Leighton Meester), thinking it was sent from Chuck to ruin her night with Nate, she still wore it—and looked amazing–on the big night.
MERCEDES JONES, GLEE
The teens of Glee know how to put on a show, so it was no surprise they looked stage-ready on prom night—but no one perhaps more so than Mercedes (Amber Riley), who stunned in a tiered fuchsia gown.
JOSIE GELLAR, NEVER BEEN KISSED
ANDIE WALSH, PRETTY IN PINK
Teen queen Molly Ringwald may have ruled high school in the a slew of '80s films, but Pretty in Pink was her only on-screen prom experience. And with it came one of the world's most iconic prom looks: a dress that featured lace, polka dots, and of course, pink.
BELLA SWAN, TWILIGHT
When Bella did prom, she did it her way—in a blue halter dress and Converse sneakers. (She had just been injured during an epic vampire battle, so who can blame her?)
KAT STRATFORD, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU
We can't watch 10 Things I Hate About You without getting emotional (Heath Ledger!), but this prom scene is one of the best—thanks in part to Stratford's simple navy slip dress, pearl necklace and piled-on-top curls.
Ariel (Lori Singer)'s pink dress was an understated choice for the festive finale—when they finally get to cut, well, you know—and it's also so iconic that Julianne Hough's Ariel wore a similar version in the 2011 remake.