It's no accident that prom season comes each spring after a string of awards shows have given teenage girls plenty of ideas about how to dress for their spring formals.
It's why girls this year might pick a print dress, like Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams wore to the Academy Awards ceremony. Or go sleek in a strapless mini, like Taylor Swift wore to the People's Choice Awards.
"There was a lot of bright color on the red carpet -- like magenta, pink and red -- and girls want to wear it,'' says Lisa Cipriotti, who selects prom dresses that are sold at David's Bridal stores. "This season another color that's doing very well is electric green, which the actresses on shows like '90210' and 'Glee' have been wearing.''
Others agree. "Prom is a great opportunity to wear color. It's springtime and it's a way to feel contemporary and fashion-oriented,'' says Adam Moon, who's in charge of teen fashion trends at Macy's. "We've seen a lot of really beautiful color, from cerise and fuchsia to coral; and turquoise, bridging the gap between blue and green.''
Other top trends of the season that teens are embracing are one-shoulder styling, dresses with cutouts on the back and sides, and lots of sequins and beading, Cipriotti said.
"It's all about embellishment,'' she says. "We have a white beaded dress like the one that Mariah Carey wore to the People's Choice awards and girls are loving that. We're seeing all-over sequins, or just elements, like on the bodice. They're liking the bling.''
Prom has become such a big business that it's getting the notice of such designers as Nicole Miller, who added prom styles to her collection this spring for the first time in many years. "I felt there was a younger customer I was missing,'' Miller said.
Among the styles Miller is offering are short tiered looks in tulle and lace, stretch metallic fabrics, one-shoulder designs in satin, and silk georgette dresses with Lurex touches. The looks are sophisticated enough to appeal to both mothers and daughters.
"Sometimes a mother and daughter will share a dress. I don't have a problem with that,'' Miller says. "I don't like to label things.''