Monte Durham Helps High Schoolers 'Say Yes to the (Prom) Dress'
See how the 'Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta' host lends his bridal expertise to prom-goers.
Many of us would like to go back and re-do prom if we could—maybe not the whole being in high school part but certainly being able to apply the fashion lessons we've learned over the years to our dress of choice. Say Yes to the Dress has again partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, along with JCPenney, BCBGeneration and many other fashion industry favorites sponsoring the events, to help teenagers' prom dreams come true. This year, they have even expanded the initiative throughout the country, stopping in five states. Today, the tour makes its way to Denver, Colorado, but we caught up with SYTTD: Atlanta star Monte Durham earlier this month in New York City to see how he applies his bridal style tips to young girls.
How does the prom experience compare to planning a wedding? “It’s very similar because on the show we have 1,000 dresses to choose from and here we have 3,000, so it’s the same principle: being taken into a room and allowed to pick any dress you want and not having to worry about it. And you have choices; it’s not just one dress or a hand-me-down. These dresses are new, so it’s incredible. In the beginning, the girls are very shy and quiet about their decisions, so it takes a little prodding from us to say, ‘Come on, step out of here. It’s prom! Let’s have some color, let’s get some energy, let’s add some life to these dresses.’ And that’s exactly what they do."
And how about their 'say yes' moments? Do you think they get the same feeling that brides have on the show? "Like any woman, there’s a struggle between this dress or that dress. [When] we had girls with a tie, they’d come to me and ask. I’d go, ‘Which one makes you feel like a party girl? Which makes you feel like a princess? And they hold up one and say, ‘Well, I feel like a real princess in this dress.’ Decision made."
What are your prom beauty tips? "Really, you don’t need to do a lot of makeup. Young girls are beautiful. All they need to do is maybe highlight the eyes a little bit: a little bit of mascara, heavy eyeliner, light shadow, a beautiful lip and then trust me, you’ll be prom perfection."
Brides-to-be tend to have more of an established style identity. What confidence tips can you offer young girls who are still determining their own? "This is where we’re going to make the mistake if we make them, right? The trick is make sure you don’t have to tug at your dress; make sure that you have proper undergarments with it—you can have them sewn into the gown if you need support. The other thing is don’t ever try to be anything you’re not. Stay in your zone. Step out maybe with color or print, but don’t wear a mermaid if that’s not your style and you’re [just] trying to be in fashion. Pay attention to yourself, stay true to yourself, look in that mirror and remember, ‘We’re going to look back at this dress later on.’"
For more of Durham's big day style advice, tune in to Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta Friday nights at 10pm EDT on TLC.