'Anything goes’ seems to be the underlying theme when it comes to prom 2010 dresses. “There’s plenty of color, prints, short dresses—there’s really a little of everything,” says Nancy Lehtman, co-owner of Distinctions.

    One of the hottest looks this season is colorful prints. “We have dresses with abstract, geometric, watercolor and animal prints,” Lehtman notes. “Prints are very personal, but there are so many patterns, large and small, that make them look good on just about any body.”

    Dresses with ‘strong back interest’ are also popular, Lehtman says. “These have cut-outs, beading, or other things that would enhance the way a dress looks from the back,” she explains. In addition, fitted bodices with soft bottoms are in. “The nice thing about some of the dresses is that even though the bodices are form-fitting, the bottom part is forgiving,” she says. “The fabrics, like charmeuse, are softer and show your figure off, instead of girls having to suck it all in.”

    Lehtman notes that body type plays a big role in determining what kind of dress looks best.  “Sometimes a larger girl will come in and want a full gown, thinking it would hide her figure, but that type of gown is not necessarily the most flattering,” she explains, adding that it’s just as difficult for a tiny girl to find a good dress. “More is not always better for a petite body.” For a shorter girl, Lehtman recommends a dress with a bodice that will give her length. “Maybe a gown with an interesting beaded bodice and a skirt at the bottom.”

    Short dresses are also in demand. “Short dresses and party skirts with tulle,  as well as ruffled edges, are happening,” says Paulette Friedman of Special Occasions with Paulette & Teddy. “It’s a really popular look for tall girls with long, willowy legs.” She adds that long column dresses also remain popular for taller, slender bodies. Other trends include lace and hand-painted gowns.

    And there will be plenty of bright colors to choose from. “Pink, fuchsia, purple, electric green—and of course, black,” Friedman says. Even girls who want a white dress will ask for a splash of color. “The best thing is to wear colorful earrings or shoes against the white dress.” For instance, Friedman says a pink and white dress would look great accessorized with long pink gloves and matching heels. She suggests completing the look with a small soft clutch or box clutch.