Homecoming Dress for a 14-Year Old

Updated on September 09, 2013
K.R. asks from Dallas, TX
25 answers

Should a 14-year old freshman have a long dress or short dress when she goes to homecoming?

I ask because I went shopping yesterday with my niece and sister and we looked at all the short dresses and they just looked too revealing for a 14-year old; too short, too tight, plunging necklines, see-thru ares that should not have been see-thru. We ended up getting a long dress because she looked beautiful in it, but do you think that will be too formal? In all honesty I feel like if she looks beautiful and modest then that is the dress for her, because isn't the dance about having fun and feeling beautiful, not just being sexy?

I know some of you ladies will have daughters that are looking at/buying homecoming dresses so I just need your take on it.

BTW there will be 1500 kids at the dance, we are in the south so it is a WAY bigger deal here than in northern states, she is going with her bf and her friends and their bfs and it is at some huge dance venue, not the school's gym.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your responses. It was actually for my niece although I feel like a second mother to her! :D I went to school here in Dallas (not that many years ago) and no one wore short dresses to homecoming. I have only ever seen girls wear long dresses, so Im actually really surprised at all the people who said you are suppose to wear short dresses. When did short dresses become the thing? I spoke with her mother this weekend, worried that we had bought a dress that was too formal (me being frantic). She put it into perspective for me though; she is a 14-year old girl going to a dance with a 14-year old boy, let them have fun (as was my thought). My sister also felt that if she had gone in a short dress the guy would almost feel obligated to make some sort of move. To each their own I guess.

**Added I just found out this weekend that she missed homecoming queen nominations by 3 votes! As a freshman! Better luck next year. BUT there was a girl at the dress shop this weekend (we went to get alterations) and she HAD been nominated (as a senior) for Homecoming Queen and she was only looking at long, beautiful gowns. So HAD my niece been nominated and had a short dress we would of had to buy a second long dress. Basically Im just really excited that she was almost nominated as a freshman!

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

I find long dresses more womanly and inappropriate for young teen girls, too slinky. I think a modest, short dress looks better, less like they're trying to play grown up.
But either way she should find out the dress code ahead of time, she doesn't want to be the only one coming in an evening gown, that would be mortifying.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Here, above the knee is more customary for homecoming and long is more for prom. We found that the more expensive stores had formals that were stylish but still age-appropriate. I think all of my older daughter's homecoming dresses came from Macy's. We bought them from the clearance rack so we often got $300+ dresses for 80-90% off. Once, a dress was lovely but once we got in line I saw it had a strap needed to be mended. I showed it to my daughter and said I'd take it to the cleaners to be repaired and the clerk knocked an additional $20 off. We got a $325 dress for $49 plus tax.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Sometimes I just don't understand why they just don't legalize nudity and be done with it.
Oh - right - there would be nothing to spend 100's of dollars on.
I would have thought a short dress (about knee length) for homecoming would be fine.

I like this one - I think it would look good on any 14 yr old (shorter heels with it might be good).

She's got 4 more years of high school.
How often is she going to wear it and will you be buying more occasional use dresses every year?
Try to keep it in perspective and save up a little something in case you help her out with a wedding someday.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

It really depends on the school. Our HS homecoming is fairly casual, the girls DO wear dresses but it's more like what you'd wear to dinner, or church.
For junior prom the shorter dresses are more popular and for senior ball long dresses are required.
Honestly the GIRLS should know what's appropriate and expected, they are the ones going and talking to each other about it. All they need to do is ask around school, ask the leadership kids or whoever it is planning the dance (and dress codes are usually spelled out somewhere, like on the school website under activities.)
Also, for what it's worth, I found the shorter dresses to be sweeter and more tasteful, even the strapless ones. The longer dresses that my daughter and her friends wore last year were WAY sexier and grown up IMO. But they were 18 at that point so of course they all loved that!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

I understand your not finding an appropriate short dress. I have a 14 year old daughter and I am discouraged on a regular basis when we go shopping for clothes. It is beyond me why designers think we want to parade our daughters around with as little on as possible. Grrrr.

Is there a possibility of having the long dress shortened? I know it would be an added expense, but if the dress is perfect otherwise I would consider it. I don't have any advise about long or short dresses for homecoming. I applaud your sister for making the emphasis on your daughters beauty and not on how sexy she can look at a high school dance!!!


3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

No long dresses....those are for prom. I have four girls and they have all been to both Homecoming and Prom. The shorter dresses are for the homecoming scene and the longer, very elegant dresses are for prom. None of my girls ever wore a long dress to a homecoming dance. It's a more fun, dance the night away kind of affair where we live. Prom is usually reserved for the upper classmen and is classically known as the boyfriend/girlfriend formal event of high school. The girls go all out for this dance with elaborate floor-length gowns and the guys are always in tuxedo's. Unless the dresses you are looking at are exceptionally "hoochie" looking, the short dress is the way to go for this event. Nobody....nobody wore a long dress to any of the homecoming events my girls went to. Things might be different state to state but the majority of dresses were all short or they also had some that were shorter in the front and longer in the back. In fact, those were really cute and might give you the best of both worlds.
I know that there are some dress styles out there that are just ridiculous and I don't blame you for not wanting a plunging neckline or something that exposes tons of cleavage. Those dresses are just inappropriate no matter what the age of the girl or the event she is going to. But, there's the sweetheart neckline, one shoulder, halter, and some even have a full top. I know the dresses can be a bit on the short side but that is the style these days. Most young ladies of this age have great legs and as long as the dress is covering everything that it needs to be, let your daughter pick something young, fresh, and stylish. It's her statement to make with her dress at homecoming. Heck...the dress is the most important thing! My daughter always had a brilliant idea with the shorter dresses that they wore....they had their volleyball spanx underneath the dress! No kidding! They wore their llittle spandex volleyball shorts so that nothing would ever be an issue if they were dancing up a storm, getting in an out of the car, or even a windy night! I thought that was genius! Maybe that trick would work for your daughter too. Whatever you do here, just make sure your daughter is the one picking the dress and is in love with her choice. If not, everything else will be miserable. Nobody ever wants to look back at photos of the self going to homecoming and be reminded of the awful frock that Mom made me wear. You were young once too so channel your inner teenager and happy dress hunting!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Down here the majority of the girls wear the short dresses and I know for a fact many of the girls are pretty modest so they wear a short sleeved lace sweater..

Sure some of the older students can look a bit revealing, but the administration are there at the door to take a look at what is going on and can ask them to change clothes if it is too little..

But we do know some of the smaller towns around us, still wear long dresses. Could you ask some of the other families what the tradition is at that school?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I don't think we can answer that. Each community has their own customs. Your daughter would know or she can ask older kids.

Here, homecoming is for high school only. And a few girls wear long dresses (not formal) to school. Also I think the homecoming dances here are not formal.

What does your daughter think of the dress? I'm surprised it was OK with her that you shopped for the dress without her. She's old enough to have a boyfriend and go to a formal dance but not old enough to have a say in her dress?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on


Those are the standard rules, of course they aren't set in stone.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am in Plano, just a tad north of Dallas in the burbs, and the girls at our high school wear short dresses for homecoming and long dresses for prom.

That said, there is nothing wrong with wearing a dress you love and look great in, short or long!!

Short dresses can be found... it just depends on where you look. Terry Costa has some pretty dresses. We got daughter's prom dress there. Beautiful! We actually found a couple of short dresses by surprise at Dillards.

So I suppose you will be getting the mum as well... That is quite a expense in itself. My daughter had a wonderful time with homecoming and prom.

I hope your daughter has a great time. These last 4 yrs of school fly by.!! My daughter graduated this past June.

ETA: I don't know about other schools but our schools adhered to the school dress code at Homecoming and Prom. Some girls were turned away from both. It is ok to look nice and beautiful but the school does draw a line on the cleavage and butt cheeks. So, if the parents choose not to buy something appropriate, the school will parent for you and not allow the girls in to the event.

ETA2: I complete agree with Meganthemom on the spandex under short dresses. My daughter was in cheer all 4 yrs and captain last year. She still wears proper colored spandex under short dresses. I'm talking about short, boy short type spandex that is worn with cheer uniforms, etc

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think she will be fine in long. When I lived in the area, I saw plenty of girls going in long dresses. If you want, and you have time, keep looking for short and hang on to the long just in case. You may have better luck going to the misses departments in stores than the junior department finding something a little more modest.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

there's no right answer.
you can get a short dress that isn't revealing (yes, plenty of them exist).
many long dresses are super-seductive.
you just pick a style that is attractive and acceptable. long or short.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I remember when I went to homecoming, it was semi formal and we all wore knee length dresses. That was back in '96. If she likes the dress and feels beautiful and comfortable in it, then I don't see any problem. I do think that the dresses that younger girls wear are too sexy today. I'm a modest person anyway though. But, I think as long as she is happy with the dress, then she will be just fine :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Most tailors (these days they all seem to operate out of dry cleaning businesses) will be able to shorten the dress quickly and fairly cheaply. Look into that if she's concerned that the length is too formal. She should talk with her girlfriends to see what's preferred.

Good for you, your sister and niece too, for wanting something modest.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If she is happy, then I'd just let her own her choice. My SD has worn both long and short dresses for various formal and semi formal occasions. With that many kids, I doubt she will be the only one in a long gown.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Well I live up north and Homecoming is a huge deal although it is in our school's gym. In the suburbs of Phila. no one where's a gown to homecoming. I am afraid your daughter could feel really out of place wearing a gown if no one else is wearing one.
We bought a beautiful dress for my daughter at a bridal shop last year. We had them hem it but my daughter still felt it was to long compared to her friends dresses. I agree with you.... Most are too short with ridiculously plunging necklines but you can find modest, beautiful shorter dresses although you may pay for it. (the alterations on my daughters's dress were over $90. Yikes!!!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think girls will buy what they like in the stores, so if your niece bought a long one, I think she will be fine. I think you will find all kinds of dresses at the homecoming dance.

I just went shopping with my 12-year old for homecoming and I was appalled at the see-through materials etc. It took some looking, but we found one that is age-appropriate and beautiful on her. Almost all the dresses were strapless! We found one with straps, but even if we didn't, I would have sewed straps on. I don't think young girls need to be running around in strapless dresses!



answers from Washington DC on

With that many people going to the dance, you'll probably see everything, short, long, and in between. It's what she wants that matters. If she's okay with the dress, she'll be confident.



answers from Boston on

Find out what her friends are wearing. Around here, homecoming is semi-formal dress, which means short. Prom is the only event that girls wear long dresses to. We're lucky because my step-daughter is short so dresses that would be mid-thigh on other girls are just above the knee for her and she knows that a fitted dress is not an option. I bought her last dress on-line at simply dresses because we couldn't find anything in the stores that she liked. For another event, we found a cute dress at Delia's that wasn't tight or too short. A lot of her friends show up to these looking like well-dressed hookers. God bless them for having the figures to carry these short and tight dresses off, but they really do look cheap and trashy. Unfortunately, that is the style now and it's hard to find dresses that are not super-short and super-tight, but they are out there if you look long enough.



answers from Oklahoma City on

14 at a dance...long dress.

Short dress is for older people. More like a sorority or fraternity party. I'd always let her have long or tea length. It's more youthful.


answers from Montgomery on

I have been through many Homecoming Dances...normally the girls wear short dresses but I HAVE seen long dresses worn... you have already purchased the dress, she as well as you say, 'she looks beautiful' THAT is the key to having a good time!

In the South especially formal usually reigns...have her either take a change of clothes or be careful on the bleachers during the game if she is staying for it... unless, of course the dance is afterwards ;p



answers from Kansas City on

I'd say a long one. A 14 year old is better off looking beautiful than trying to look sexy. I think the plunging necklines and such are too much for a teen to reveal. And I sure wouldn't want my 14 year old in a short dress with a plunging neckline sitting next to a 14 year old boy who would be enjoying it!



answers from Columbus on

Here where we live it's usually short for Homecoming; long for Prom. BUT, usually a group of girls will figure out amongst themselves what they'll all wear in the group.

I certainly know what you're talking about with the styles out there! When my daughter and I went dress shopping for her first Homecoming Dance two years ago I was in shock - although, I guess I shouldn't have been!! The dresses all looked like they were for 35-year olds instead of teenagers!! We finally found a really pretty one - it hit right above the knee - covered enough skin and looked very presentable. And the really good part was the price was very reasonable!! I was not going to spend a ridiculous amount for a one-time thing!! Although, she actually has ended up wearing it several times.

So, bottom line ..... whatever the girls are comfortable with, I say go for it!!

Good luck!!


answers from Chicago on

Most homecoming dresses are not floor length. It is not that they can not be, you just want to make sure it's not too formal.

Could you not find a "tea length" dress?

The sad thing is that if you are looking for modesty in a dress for a teen you are better off looking to have it made.



answers from Detroit on

Is it one that you can have it altered to a length that you are comfortable with? Short, but not too short? Only if she wants it short, though! Have her talk with her friends. If she is fine with long, go for it!

And Kudos to you and your daughter for keeping it modest and fun!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions