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We Don't Deserve Pants Anymore

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The Prom Dresses I Wish I Could Buy for My 17-Year-Old Self

I’ve never been one to regret past decisions — not even the long list of questionable wardrobe choices I may have made over the years. This no-regrets policy applies to both my four-year-long emo phase that lasted throughout high school (Hot Topic email subscription included), as well as my American Apparel-influenced spandex-everything phase during college. These looks were character-building! And I can laugh about them now.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about either of my prom dresses — two items of clothing I will certainly always regret.

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The author's on the left, feeling her regrets.

Let me add some context with the fact that I went to my junior prom in 2009 and senior prom in 2010. Jersey Shore had just started, and Lady Gaga had just worn that meat dress to the MTV Movie Awards; in general, no one was going for “classic” or “timeless,” instead just being as extra as possible. When translated to prom shopping, this meant insane patterns, heavy beading, and neon colors. TL;DR, I ended up in a peacock-patterned chiffon dress with beaded straps (pictured above) my junior year and this strapless rainbow swirl situation my senior. (Lmao.)

I blame it on the options available to me at the time — Macy’s, that huge East Coast warehouse Prom Dress Express, and two overpriced boutiques in my very small Rhode Island town — paling in comparison to the online options available to gown-shopping teenagers today. (Because of this, I’ll always hold some sort of grudge against the Gen-Z-ers who can and do shop at Need Supply instead of Delia’s.)

Especially around this time of year, I see dozens of dresses that I would wear if I could do it all over again, given all of the accessible-but-still-cute options there are today (and the too-few excuses to wear a ball gown in my adult life). But since a re-do isn’t on the table, I figure the best way to get over it is to help someone else out.

Here, you’ll find a handful of those dresses should you — or someone you know — be on the search for a prom dress. Some are short, some are long, but all have the promise to still hold up in pictures more than five years down the line.Tanisha Pina, associate market editor

In the spirit of commiseration, we want to hear from you about your own prom looks, whether you’re dealing with similar shame or still love whatever you wore to this day. Drop us a line at, or better yet, share your stories and pics with us on Twitter or Instagram @Racked with the hashtag #PromRegrets. We’ll be reposting the best in an Instagram story so we can all have a good laugh at each other’s expense.

Deal of the Day

Intermix's “Ultimate Spring Sale” is happening now — online only — and boasting an extra 40% off sale merchandise and a crop of new markdowns. These Kenneth Jay Lane faux pearl earrings are $35.40, this Fleur Du Mal velvet bodysuit is $113, and on the pricier-but-worth-it end, this stunner of a Jonathan Simkhai red knit dress is $357.

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In the News
We Don’t Deserve Pants Anymore

We’ve said it before, but it feels like the pants business has really been a race to the bottom lately. Jeans with gaping thigh holes became popular for no good reason at all, and Topshop made clear plastic trousers that only seem to exist for the purpose of revealing exactly where and how much you sweat. Not all reworked denim is bad, but in the same way that the delightfully askew shirting trend mutated out of control and escaped the lab, these have gone too far.

The latest Bad Pants — and a hat tip to Fox for this find — are mud jeans from Nordstrom. No, not Mudd Jeans. Mud, as in these pants are made to look like they are smeared with dirt. If they look bad, the product description is worse:

“Heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans in a comfortable straight-leg fit embody rugged, Americana workwear that's seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you're not afraid to get down and dirty.”

The fetishization of manual labor is troubling enough on its own, but what’s really rankled people is the fact that these jeans cost $425, making them a luxury item designed for people who definitely don’t have jobs that would give their clothes a “caked-on muddy coating.” There are some things money just shouldn’t buy. —Eliza Brooke, senior reporter

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Kawakubo is the subject of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s upcoming Costume Institute exhibit, which opens next week in New York City. The exhibit will explore Kawakubo’s “art of the in between,” which Met head curator Andrew Bolton has said refers to how the 74-year-old Japanese designer “changes our eye by upending received notions of conventional beauty and by disrupting the defining characteristics of the fashionable body.”

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Just One Thing
I Bought the Sports Bra Serena Williams Wears to Win Grand Slams
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Here is a fact: I exercise four days a week. Here’s another fact: I got a breast reduction three years ago. I tell you these two things because they are what led me to doing something I never thought I’d do: buy a product because a celebrity was hawking it on Instagram.

Before my reduction, I wore what can only be described as body armor to keep my rack from giving me a black eye. Post-reduction, I spent much too much on high-end sports bras recommended to me by my surgeon. They were lovely (hi, Chantelle “high intensity” sport bras!) but then… I gained weight in my chest and my newly small boobs started moving back up the cup-size spectrum.

Enter Serena Williams, promoting her favorite sports bra, Berlei, on Instagram. Apparently, she’s been wearing them for 18 years. In those 18 years, Serena has won 23 grand slam single titles, one of which we now know she won while pregnant. Can you imagine anything more inspiring? Those bras helped her do it! They were there when she won every silver plate and when she hit serves right into the net. They were probably even there for her when she learned the choreography for Beyoncé’s "Sorry."

So I bought a few to wear while I complain my way through squats, and I’m so happy I did. The bras keep me secure when I’m cycling. They don’t pinch or slide anywhere when I push weight over my head. And they’re so comfortable that — don’t tell anyone this — I sometimes wear them throughout the whole day. I’ve been on both sides of the boob spectrum now and I can say that, like Serena, this bra is good at its job. —Mackenzie Kruvant, contributing writer

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