Polishing up for prom – local salons and dress shops share their favorite memories

From the hair, to the nails, to the perfect dress, shops and salons throughout Northwest Philadelphia play a key role in the local prom experience.

NewsWorks caught up with employees and volunteers in the area last week to hear about their favorite prom memories and the styles that are trending. 

The hair 

Mt. Airy’s Culture Hair Salon, located at 7201 Germantown Ave., styles many young women for prom night. Annie Alaimo, hairdresser and makeup artist at Culture, says this year, the trends are old Hollywood glamour and bohemian styles.

“Hollywood glamour is really in right now – we do sleek soft curls that are pinned back,” said Alaimo, “or you’ll see the other end of the spectrum with bohemian-like looser waves.”

Alaimo, who has been in the style industry for more than seven years, says her favorite part of preparing girls for prom is when they receive a boost in confidence from her work.

“I think it’s exciting when someone comes who’s not used to being styled,” said Alaimo. “It’s great to give them a pretty style and really glamorize them. You see them and they will be glowing; it gives them an extra sense of confidence.”

She says her tip to prom clients is to enjoy prom night and feel confident in their style.

“I think it’s really important to feel good and be worry-free,” said Alaimo. 

The nails 

The employees of Chestnut Hill’s Rainbow Nail Salon, located at 8024 Germantown Ave., have helped plenty of young ladies polish off their look for prom. Lisa Hoang, manager at Rainbow, has been in the business for 16 years and says she enjoys showing girls the latest nail designs and trends.

“Prom season is a busy time,” said Hoang. “Some of the girls come together after school in groups. They have fun together picking out their polish colors to match their dress, some do acrylic or gel.”

Hoang’s favorite prom memory is preparing her daughter for senior prom last month.

“She wanted a French manicure,” said Hoang, “I was very happy to do it for her, of course, and it looked pretty with her light pink dress.”

The dress 

Fairy Godmothers is a volunteer-based organization that provides prom gowns and accessories to high school girls in the Philadelphia area. The group, which has been in operation for 12 years, holds a prom fair each March at the Cheltenham Mall.

“Junior and senior high school girls are able to attend the prom fair if they have a family hardship,” said Joyce Jesko, founder of Fairy Godmothers. “We have many volunteers who act as a fairy godmother for the day to help these girls find that perfect gown.”

The group receives donated prom gowns through sponsors David’s Bridal, Alfred Angelo’s and The Deb Shops. Throughout the year, the ‘Godmothers’ search for and purchase all of the accessories they offer including evening bags, jewelry, and cosmetics. The price of a gown starts at $10 and the accessories are priced between $2 and $5.

“There are many times when the girl comes out of the dressing room to show her parent how the dress looks on her, that’s when it gets emotional,” said Jesko, “It’s almost like that gown was made for her.”

At this year’s prom fair, Jesko reports outfitting about 400 girls from the area for their prom night. 

This is the second installment of the “Preparing for Prom” series on NewsWorks. Check back tomorrow for a feature on the barbershop and suit shop helping to shape prom styles for young men in Northwest Philadelphia. 

What’s your favorite prom memory?  Feel free to share it in the comment section below. 

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