How to Bustle a Prom Dress

How to Bustle a Prom Dress

January 20, 2023
By Kimberly Vernon

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It’s PROM SEASON!!! Prom is one of the most exciting nights in any high school experience. It’s a night to get fully glammed up with your best friends and celebrate the end of the school year by dancing the night away.

Finding the perfect prom dress is an adventure in itself. Because prom is typically more formal than homecoming at the beginning of the year, it’s pretty common for gals to wear floor-length dresses. If you are someone who loves the drama and flair of a gown with a long train, then there are certain aspects of how to wear this gown to take into consideration, such as learning how to bustle a prom dress!

What is a bustle?

Okay right now you may be thinking “What the HECK is a bustle?” Well we’re happy to break it down for you! In the olden days, the term “bustle” referred to a padded undergarment used to lift, add fullness, and support the drapery, at the back of women's dresses. (Think of something similar to the gowns of the evil step-sisters in Cinderella). Today, bustling carries a slightly different meaning. The process of “bustling a dress” simply means taking the train of the dress and making it so the train is no longer touching the floor as the person walks around. From pinning it to the back of the dress, tucking it under, or even creating a wristlet to wear, there are many different ways to bustle a prom dress!

Why would you need to bustle a prom dress?

On your perfect prom night, you are going to want to be in the moment living your best life! While you are dancing the night away, you won’t want to worry about others stepping on or tripping on your long beautiful train. This is why bustling is a MUST for gowns with long trains. Trains are absolutely gorgeous, especially in your prom photos where you can really show it off! However, they definitely serve more in the fashion rather than function department when it comes to something you will be wearing all night long. If you are going to wear a dress with a train to prom, we definitely recommend adding a bustle so you can help protect your gown from anyone stepping on the gorgeous train.

What are the different types of bustles?

While there are many creatively different ways people can bustle their dresses, here are three main types of bustles seen on dresses today:

1. The American: This type of bustle is commonly seen on most dresses with bustles. An American bustle takes a piece from the center of the train and pulls it up, attaching the train on top of the back-side of the dress. American bustles also may have multiple points at where the dress is attached.

2. The French: The french bustle tucks underneath the back side of the gown and sometimes has additional ribbons under that help tie up the train.

3. The Ballroom: This type of bustle is often found on A-line or Ball Gowns (hence the name!) This bustle tucks under the hem of the gown (acting as an additional hem for the dress). The ballroom is typically the most expensive type of bustle to add.

In addition to these traditional bustles, there are many other creative ways to bustle a dress! Bustles can help transform the shape and silhouette of a gown, serving not only the functionality of picking up the train of a gown, but also can serve as iconic fashion moments. Additionally, another fun way to bustle a dress is by adding a wristlet, so rather than attaching the skirt to the dress, you are attaching the skirt to you! This option poses as a fun and dramatic way to pick up the dress and dance around with it!

How do you add a bustle to your prom dress?

If you are looking to add a bustle to your prom dress you can either take it into a seamstress to get altered or find an at-home DIY method to do so. The main objective of adding a bustle is to protect and lift the train, so it is no longer dragging on the ground. While doing so, you’ll want to make sure the bustle connects at the center of your train and pulls it up and off the ground. To connect the train to your dress consider using materials like hooks and eyes, buttons, or even elastic!

Do you wanna make a dramatic statement at your upcoming prom? Check out these gorgeous gowns with long beautiful trains!

Jovani Blue Size 6 Velvet Train Dress on Queenly
Size 6

Jovani, Dress With Train

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Finding your dream prom dress should be a breeze!! A queen like you deserves the royal treatment whether she’s buying a new dress online or shopping secondhand. At Queenly, we’ve committed ourselves to promoting sustainable fashion while making it affordable for everyone. Join our community of Queens who have listed outfits in their online closet. It’s as easy as signing up for a free account, snapping some pics, and uploading the details- that’s it!

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One girl's dress is another girl's treasure.

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