Tacky Prom Ideas

By LeafTV Contributor

Institutions like high schools, universities and churches embrace the tradition of having a tacky prom. Tacky proms differ from regular proms in that, where regular proms display class and formality, tacky proms flaunt mismatched clothing, wild hair and more casual fun. Tacky proms take some planning but can be a blast when everything comes together.

Video of the Day


One of the most important aspects at a tacky prom is tacky clothing. Looking effortlessly mismatched may seem tricky, but the look can be achieved easily. Some people opt to wear retro outfits as a means of being tacky. For ladies, this could mean puffy, neon-colored '80s dresses that look like a bridal party nightmare. Men also delve into the '80s but some also wear '70s suits with wide lapels and bellbottoms. Being tacky doesn't have to mean retro, however. Try mixing patterns into one outfit, such as wearing plaid with polka dots. Tackiness also extends to colors worn, such as wearing a yellow and pink ensemble or other pairings that you feel clash when combined.


The right hairstyle properly accents your outfit and pulls together your tacky look. As with clothes, retro hair styles are often popular for tacky proms. Girls wear side ponytails a la the '80s or pump up the volume to give themselves huge Texas beauty pageant style coifs. For guys, this can mean a head full of hair products, either slicking hair down or standing it on its ends. For more tacky retro hair, pick up a crimping iron as a throwback to the '80s and early '90s. Ducktails for guys bring some '50s flare to the prom. Sometimes, not doing your hair at all becomes a style in itself. Give yourself some bed head and use hairspray to hold it in place, or stick some curlers in your hair.


Use shoes, jewelry and other accessories to complete a tacky outfit. Since prom is usually a formal event, wear some skate shoes, flip-flops or flats as a counter to the formality. Some people opt to wear mismatched shoes as an accent to their tacky outfit. With jewelry, throw out the notion that less is more. For a tacky prom, don't be afraid to pile on the accessories, ignoring what look goes with which outfit. Layer a bunch of necklaces, load up on bracelets or stick a ring on every finger. Pin a brooch or two -- or six -- to your dress or lapel. Hats can also be a way to add on some tackiness. Men could wear trucker caps that were popular in the late '90s, while women could turn to large church or Kentucky Derby appropriate hats.

Party Setup

Once you've gotten your outfit set, the prom itself needs a dose of tackiness. The music played at the tacky prom, rather than the usual pop or R&B chart-toppers, could also be a throwback to bygone days. Bad pop music from the '80s provides an appropriately tacky soundtrack for the evening. The decorations might be completely mismatched as opposed to having specific color themes. The prom setting can look as tacky as the prom-goers by making it look like it was thrown together last-minute. This could include using red plastic cups for drinks or tossing multicolored streamers haphazardly.