It’s The Most Ratchet Time of the Year: The Ugliest Prom Dresses of All Time

May 3, 2012  |  
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I’ll never forget when I went to prom with my dad. Well, let me clear that up, he was just a chaperone and asked both my sister and I to come along to keep him company. He had never attended a prom and didn’t know what to expect. It should have been the norm: colorful dresses, happy teenagers letting loose and so on and so forth. But no, it was a hot ratchet mess. In this particular side of this particular part of this particular city, a majority of the students had their dresses made. You know a homemade prom dress when you see it–there’s less material to it. When the kids walked in the door, every piece of skin you could think of was out, the materials were hideous, and the guys were wearing hats with wrist watches on them…don’t ask. Yes, ratchet prom attire is becoming as American as apple pie, and to keep your child from going that route, have them look at this gallery. If not, good luck.

The “Where Are Your Damn Clothes” Dresses

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Blame it on a school where students have to wear uniforms all year long, or just society’s lack of appreciation for clothing, but more and more young ladies are showing up thinking these kinds of dresses are hot. All you have to do is make an outfit and use the extra material…as the dress. If we can’t see all thigh, your entire stomach and the top and sides of your breasts, then you’re not committed to looking as ratchet as possible.

The “I Tried to Be Creative But Failed” Dresses

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Who needs a prom dress when you can wear a prom capri outfit? And why not take cut outs to the next level? You can tell these individuals wanted to be creative and stand out. They sure do! But NOT for the right reasons. Please go back to the drawing board kids…

The “Name Brand” Dresses

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Nothing looks more refined and classic than the print of a Gucci bag or some Louis Vuitton luggage (the real ones, not knock offs). But on a dress? I don’t know who these people thought they were trying to impress but this is just dead wrong. Add to that the cut outs and scandalous splits on the Louis dresses and you’re looking at some of the tackiest attire, not just prom dresses, of all time.

The “Man I Love My Team” Dresses

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Prom season IS usually NBA playoff season, so I can understand being down for your favorite team. But there’s a time and place for everything. For instance, a bar, a playoff party at someone’s house, Buffalo Wild Wings (whatever floats your boat), but NOT prom. Thank goodness the jersey dress trend fell into the depths of hell a few years back because I can’t imagine still seeing these outfits on the street, let alone in prom-dress form.

The “My Baby is My Accessory” Dresses

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So you’re pregnant and you want to go to prom. These days, that’s not a big deal these days. But do everyone a favor and try to be tasteful with it. Do we need to see the belly out and about? And if you’re going to cover the belly, why must you have every other body part out? Something loose and lovely is the best option, not tight and tacky.

The “Just Plain ‘Ol Ugly” Dresses

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What can be said about these dresses that hasn’t been said about Evelyn from “Basketball Wives”?

They don’t make sense whatsoever and they’re tacky as hell. Plaid is not a good choice for a dress you intend to wear to prom, the first dress looks like something you should wear to Carnival, and the blue gown just looks like a dyed garbage bag with rhinestones and cut outs. To say these outfits aren’t cute is an understatement.

And What Is HE Wearing???

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I’m sorry, but prom is supposed to be one of the few times in the year that a young man leaves the sneakers and jeans at home for a fresh tuxedo or suit and maybe some fly Stacy Adams shoes. It’s sad to see these two guys couldn’t ditch the athletic-wear look for something more appropriate. I guess they were going to be damned if they were caught in some gators and  a vest. And that’s why they look a hot a** mess. And the boutonniere on the jacket? C’mon son…

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  • Shmalkandik

    Strange. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, Black men were ‘dandies’ and dressed extremely well – every one wanted to imitate Duke Ellington. Now the men want to look like pimps and please don’t get me started on the women are wearing. There is a cancer in the soul of Black culture. Given how black song and dance have dominated American popular culture since the days of Ragtime, this does not bode well for the future.

  • mariah asphalt

    Do these children have mothers? I could not continue to look at them.

  • FromTokyo

    What schools do these people go to that they allow all that?
    I haven’t been out of school long enough for this to be the norm. Or at least I don’t think I have.

  • wolfcat

    Those pregnancy ones are actually adorable and will prolly be good memories in the future. The first two basketball ones are cute. The rest were either just not my thing or certainly a bit too much/too little.

  • oscardgrouch

    Where are the parents???? Wait, they are probably just as bad.

  • blackdolphin

    Why are you showing photos that are 5 yrs old? I saw these the first time around.

  • Lisa Bedford Carter

    The respect you show yourself is the respect you can expect from others.

  • sexy geek

    lord give me strengt….

  • Telisaking

    I can’t disagree with the lack of decorum that the photos above emit. But, I do feel that Madam Noire, should perpetuate positive and uplifting images of ethnic people. And if post like this are necessary it would be nice for a diverse collection of the inappropriate, as to not target a specific people. Inappropriateness comes in all shapes and colors.

  • Eternanda

    that black and white plaid leather thing with the fish tail was actually ….pretty decent…lol. of all the other garbage like the louis vuitton scarf with holes and the basketball non wives of whereever the hell they from wearing …and those poor knocked up chicks…im kinda mad at the one standing alone with the white on…says too much

  • Rah Truth

    We all know teenagers lack sense. We all know parents lack sense. But, HOW in the heck did the schools allow this? This is just ridiculous. What happened to dress codes? smh

  • Bella

    My eyes nearly fell out of my head when I saw the picture of the pregnant girl in the silver dress.

  • Sheba

    I don’t even miss that I didn’t attend prom now…..

  • Cha Cha

    The parents letting their child go out like that is the bigger problem… My mom, aunts, uncles, dad, errrrrrybody, woulda told me to go put some clothes on…

  • Pingback: Jesus loves the ratchet! | Ramon Mayo()

  • Amonday9

    I don’t understand how they get in the door?! Proms around here in Texas still have dress codes! Insane!

  • Treyturneriii

    Until those of us who are parents do better our children are not going to be better!!!! Very disappointing and I dont blame the children for these outfits. You would think that there is not one parent who would allow these beautiful young ladies to go out to a prom dressed in these outfits. Just plain shameful!!!!!!!!!!!!! SMH

  • Mdanley8782

    how in the hell do parents let their daughters walk outta the house n something like that!!!???!!!! thats just a damn shame!!!

    • Guest

      how will you saw those two young pregnant girls… fast forward 17yrs what do you think their kids will be wearing to the prom?

  • Jackieo Perkins

    WOW…that really in bad taste…I HAVE SEEN UGLY…. BUT BUT F**king ugly takes the cake…and its very sad that young women have to be half dressed and thinks it looks good…and look at there roll models are half dressed celebrities

  • RenJennM

    My prom was in 2007. All of my classmates, my date, and I were gorgeous. I must say, I had a really good-looking graduating class overall. No one showed up to prom with outfits like these. Some people were a bit more revealing than most, but most of those females at least had the bodies for it. I was proud of how all 500+ of us looked. Classy. Cool. Fashionable. Elegant.

  • I will not let my daughters go to their prom looking like that. Some ppl need to learn some class. I understand at that age, they like to make a fashion statement but there should have been guidelines to most of those outfits :-/

  • Pingback: The Worst and Ugliest Prom Dresses of All-Time [Photo Gallery] | EURweb()

  • Korey

    Ten years from now the people in those pictures will facepalm when they figure out that it wasn’t the best idea at the time. Seventeen puts out a special Prom issue of their magazine… You have the internet at your disposal. HELL WATCH AWARDS SHOWS! Not BET though.. The Tonys, Emmys, SAG and Oscars.

    Go on Barbie Collector .com. 

    Four words for the pregnancy pictures: Natalie Portman 2011 Oscars.
    Five more words: Catherine Zeta Jones 2003 Oscars. 
    It aint that serious. You can be preggers and rock formal attire. 

    I remember when I was little my mom used to tape Miss America AND the Oscars so we can pick out some dress ideas for prom. Do people sill do that?

    Guess not if THIS is the result. 


  • aDawn217


  • The Truth

    Question….where are their mothers?????!!!!!! Okay, but now do you see what is wrong with our loose black women…their loose black mothers!!! Get it together for the sake of our people, please!!!

    • FromTokyo

      Guess the fathers are blameless. Or is that absent?

  • Ladyspencer

    Don’t want to sound too rough, but I picture these photo are taken down south somewhere. Like in the small towns of Georgia, Florida, Louisiana…… Like where did these fashion statements come from? Sure not from LA or New York.

    • FromTokyo

      Wrong. You tried it.
      You can’t even wear shorts 3 inches above the knee in the South. Anything goes in LA or New York.

  • Ladyspencer

    Don’t want to sound too rough, but I picture these photo are taken down south somewhere. Like in the small towns of Georgia, Florida, Louisiana…… Like where did these fashion statements come from? Sure not from LA or New York.

  • NicciNic

    I’m glad my school enforced dress code and I didn’t graduate too long ago. They will STILL send you home for wearing something like any of this smh.

  • NicciNic

    I’m glad my school enforced dress code and I didn’t graduate too long ago. They will STILL send you home for wearing something like any of this smh.


    I’m not falling for this hoax.  Y’all need to stop playin’.

  • Mskathy0724

    Some of these photos are quite old and have been on the Internet for a few years. I received them in an email at least  years ago. There is also a site that posts them. To be fair,besides the Hot Ghetto Mess site there are sites where you can see trailer park proms and country proms also. Often the kids don’t know better so what we did at one of the high schools I serviced was to set guidelines and place posters all over the school with photos from catalogs of what was appropriate and what was not appropriate.

  • (Literally) So painful to watch!  Why? (in my sobbing voice)  Why, so ghetto?

  • ms.lisa

    i graduated high school 5 years ago and my prom was nothing like this. i guess it was in certain cities, which ones i would like 2 kno!

  • We are making them richer

    Well there does seem to be a shortage of good parenting now-a-days. Typically before prom the girls take pics at home right? 

  • Klynnfun

    I know this is a black magazine, but you really did not have to go there. IJS/ SMH; although all the kids these days are on some kind of trip.  WE all need prayer.

  • Ace of Spades

    half of these are probably from chicago..they LOVE that silky silky material & get reallllllllllllllly “creative” with it

  • The only word I can come up with is Garish.

  • Are there any more kids these days!!!

  • NarutoFriendOmoi

    White girl looked great and some of the others.

  • Gimmeabreak78

    All of these outfits look like someone dared these young people to wear them in public.  The thought that these poor kids traipsed around their houses wearing these ghastly get-ups, and no one in their households loved them enough to tell them they looked like something out of a cartoon is almost too much to bear.  I would hope that if I were misfortunate enough to be a pregnant teen headed to prom, my mother (if no one else) would be kind enough to let me know that a cutout dress baring my very pregnant belly is not the photo I want immortalized in my prom/yearbook pictures. 

  • Jen

    Did anyone notice on frame #3 how her feet must have been hurting?  Her shoes aren’t on.  They are going to look back at this and go “WHAT IN THE HELL WAS I THINKING ABOUT?” Nah nevermind they won’t.
    All of them should have been banished to the backyard!

  • Kandi

    Wow! This was shocking, I didn’t even realize that people went out like this, let alone to the prom.  I must admit, I thought I would find at least one dress that I liked or that was over-exaggerated as ugly, but I really couldn’t! All of these dresses were hideous and the men looked like complete fools. Sad

  • Peachycakes82

    If any fathers were present before this horrific act with down & allowed it…PLEASE KILL YOURSELF!

  • sam

    It’s the end of days….


      Nah, just the end of good fashion 🙂

  • Sapphire

    These were absolutely hideous! All the cut-outs and slits were anything but prom attire.

  • Gheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetto!

  • Truthhurtz

    I really hope that some of these outfits are because there was a Prom theme or something.

  • rzakia

    I’m just trying to figure out why some of these “girls” (the ones with the gucci and louis v in particular) look older than I do and my prom was ten years ago. Were they actually parents who never got to go to prom so they decided they would go to the swap meet, buy some fabric, and get those “gowns” made? I’m just not understanding.

  • Prettymonna1214

    i went to a very “hood” high school n prom was a time to see who can be more ratchet. These outfits remind me of why we gotta do better. smdh

  • Pimpinispimpin

    I’m sorry… But a lot of them so called seniors look OLD AS FUDGE! And those outfits were absolutely HORRID! O.M.G!

  • Ashley J

    No do NOT blame it on a school were you have to wear a uniform. I wore a uniform from 4th grade until I graduated Highschool. And no one looked like a half naked tramp at my prom. Blame it on the school’s administration. We were told if we wore anything inappropriate we would be sent home! And after paying $90 for a prom ticket I made sure my a$$ was covered! And where are the damn parents??!!

  • Nekoj47

    These pictures have been around about ten years and schools have in the past few years enforced a strict dress code so let’s see what has been worn in the past 5-7 years.

  • my child would not have even entered my house with these dresses let alone leave the house in them. Just would have had to be mad with me for the next couple of years…..smdh

  • sexy geek

    hello lord…may i speak to jesus
    hi jesus…can u please take the wheel???

  • Mystique

    They look like prostitutes to me.  Where was their mommas?

  • NikkitaMichelle

    Mama’s 25, grandmother 35, great grandmother 40.  Where are the parents?  Some of these girls look like they’re ready for the pole. 

  • Jumelle

    And people wonder why our Race continues to be disrespected- because of these ill dressed baffoons!

  • I love a man in a tuxedo. These boys just had to ruin it.  

  • me

    I’m thinking or hoping maybe they wore these because the parents couldn’t afford to get them a real dress? So these girls were forced to sew scraps together?? Either way they are young and deserved better guidance in their choices, Im sure they will look back and think “what was I thinking when I wore that?” What we must remember is everyone is not raised the same….if they knew better they woud do better.

  • UK lady

     This article is a bit mean but I am surprised at how tackiness/creativity knows no boundaries. Here in England we have a television programme that features gypies/travellers and I swear they wear similar dresses to their big events (and they get them made for them too!). Seems to me that we should be looking at celeb culture cos kids across the globe are copying the barely dressed style from them!

    • VP22

      I have seen that show.  It comes on in the states on TLC and you are absolutely right about that.

    • BillySam

       No the article is not being mean, people need to see and hear the truth now. It is obvious they are not getting at home so they need to hear it somewhere.

  • you HYPOCRITES…if it was a CELEBRITY wearing this it would be O.K

    • Mls2698

      Most celebs pay a pretty penny to get it right. They don’t want to end up on the blacklist, or MN.

    • BillySam

       Ugh but those aren’t celebs, those are kids!!!! And look up the word Hypocrite!!!!

    • KJ23

      The celebs who have worn things to this nature have all been ripped apart by the likes of many fashion websites, magazines, and Joan Rivers.  Ratchetness is never okay.  *PSA*  “The more you know!”

  • I blame the parents for this. Children sometimes do not use the best judgement. That’s why we, as parents, need to be there to say, “Hey. That’s not appropriate!” I don’t even want to know what kind of parents these children have; what kind of household they are growing up in. The school usually sets some kind of dress code. It’s truly a shame that they had to do that, by the way. But the school should not have admitted them into the prom dressed as they were.

    • KJ23

      You are too right.  For my prom I wanted to get a custom made gown that appeared to have a pin striped design, a matching hat with a feather on top, and one of my uncle’s canes, and my mother promptly shot the idea down.  Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t go like a Pimp Mama. 

  • Mz_chocolatina

    WE have GOT to do better. . .


      Nah, THEY have got to do better most of US are doing quite fine. MZ-Chocolatina I’m not trying to pick on you post, but I think that this kind of “guilt” need to end. I really don’t think it that productive. Only black folk take ownership of the faults of anyone who’s black. You don’t see Italians embarrassed about what a ratchet Irish person does on St. Patrick’s day. Nor do you see a Scot ashamed about Jersey Shore. This isn’t “our” fault it’s their parent’s responsibility. We only need to do better, if these were our prom pics, or we were the one who raised these misguided youngsters. I hear what you are saying though…

  • Jolie

    I hate to be crude BUT if their parent(s) allowed them to choose these outfits, did these kids really ever stand a chance??! I only have superficial beef with the teens pictured (like tacky color choices, poor hair styles, etc.), my real issue is with the adults! Sadness personified.

  • poetsgroove

    My prom was like 16 years ago and I can remember everyone in my senior class was looking classy. This is beyond silly. Times have changed.

  • Rachael Agosto

    Did anyone else notice that the girl from slide 6 tried to recreate Beyonce’s bathing suit from B-day??? Wow

    • Jolie

      LOL yessss! You beat me to the punch. ….If only she was walking two crocodiles :-/

  • Jnxcat

    this is just…

  • Jay

    Some kid at my prom showed up in Nike slippers/flip flops and some socks.  Thank goodness I dodged that bullet, because we would have fell out if he wanted to go to prom with me looking like that lol.  There were some ratchets at my prom with their too small dresses exposing their cellulite etc. I agree it is the parents because my mom would have told me “ohh no child…that’s not cute” and I would have found something else to put on.

  • Guest

    I have a problem with this site & the author making kids the target for ridicule. Kids going to prom are 16 to 18 years old, and to place their pics on this site while running them down is reprehensible.  Shame on you Madame Noire and shame on you Indigo. 

    I don’t care for any of these outfits, but you do have to admit some of these kids are creative. 

    • Amija James

      That’s exactly how I feel.  Thank you!

      • BillySam

         First lesson to the soon to be graduates, in the real world when you act a fool or dress like one; people gonna call you a fool.

        • Mls2698

          Exactly! Now that they are graduating, they need to know how to dress accordingly. If not, they will be looking like sl*ts on interviews, and wonder why they aren’t getting hired.

          • Chilid856

            They are already looking like fools at job interviews. When I took my son to his summer job interview the other day. Some of the girls was dressed in animal print short dresses with the 6in. heels to match. I understand that your son my not have slacks to wear but why was some of these young men at this interview sagging and behaving so ghetto ot the interview and these kids had their parents there waiting for them.

  • FromUR2UB

    I’m encouraged by the fact that these are old pictures.  Maybe that means people are getting some sense, or better tastes.   I’m sure they had gone around bragging that they designed their own dresses and were having them made. 

     How do people exist in such a bubble?  It’s like watching a parade of circus people.

  • Let me guess, they all went to the same lady who said, Don’t pay a lot of money at those department stores, honey I will make your outfits for $20.00 and a case of beer.

  • knoel

    What happened to classy? The girls’ dresses in these last two pics don’t look as bad, at least they’re decent and colorful.

  • mommyof4

    Some of these outfits are completely out there but I think the intention was to be unique and swexy at the same time.. unfortunately it didn’t really work out like that

  • Betchert


  • Amija James

    Some of these are def a no no, with showing all that skin, but some are just……..I’ll say different.  I think some of these kids are just expressing themselves like kids do.  Kids want to push envelopes and that’s okay.    I think it’s mean to put these pictures up on Madame Noire, a site for black women, only to degrade these young black women.

    • Lalatarea

      did u look at the pictures? most of them already degraded themselves

    • Dreama70

      I agree wholeheatedly and I’m 41. We are always so quick to label anything out-of-the-box and undone as ‘bad’. And the youth generation has been getting this label, well since there were youth generations. I think they show a very high degree of creative thinking. just like our very unconvential hair shows. Flappers were thought of as immoral and evil, let’s not even talk about black power of the 70’s. My generation started the baggy pant trend (lord forgive us and tlc) One day these girls will be sitting around lamenting the loss of virtue and etiquette by ‘today’s youth’. lol.

      • Tezzchyn

        Baggy pants was started in the prison system as a sign of protest. I guess these young men were protesting the proper attire for a formal event as well as their dates.

    • Dreama70

      And I’d lik to add that no matter what our perception of what they’re ‘reality’ should be- it’s not ours to decide. Children in many inner-cities and poor communities deal with some very grown-up issues everyday.

  • what is with all this ratchetness???? was the proms at mf’n strip club or what?!  damn we got to do better!

    • Seriously though.  I can’t believe they don’t see that they look like fools.

  • Wowo

    The dude on the first page looked like Vince. Tamar must be mad as hell at this moment going all 
    “no boo boo, you didn’t mention that you took a ho to the prom!! uh uh I’m gonna beat her a**.com” lol

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    I blame the parents for encouraging and allowing the madness to prosper. . . 

    • Wish I could “like” your comment a thousand times…and I’m not kidding.

    • Not just encouraging…but allowing.

    • Tisha

      Me too there is no way I would allow my child to walk out the house like that and the school bears the  responsibility too, Please set some guidelines

      • Misslady

        My daughters school has to approve all prom attire prior to prom.

  • Oneluvnlyfe

    A bandana to the prom. dead

  • Oneluvnlyfe

    One dude looks like Bobby Brown, standing in the corner thugged out

  • Oneluvnlyfe

    Dayum… That dude with the Ronald McDonald hair reminds me of Sisqo! Maybe they were both hoping for the Prom Queen nomination.

  • ressex


  •  “What can be said about these dresses that hasn’t been said about Evelyn from “Basketball Wives”?………..DEAD

  • I don’t feel comfortable saying anything negative of these outfits, but I do find them shocking. This is not the way I remember the prom. It’s hard to keep one’s virtue when there are only a few swatches of fabric standing between you and your date.

    • Half-pint67

      I agree but the ladies who were pregnant at prom already lost their virtue.

    • Mls2698

      I feel comfortable saying that I couldn’t tell if I was looking at pictures from Freaknik, or Carnival.

    • Essence43090

      I feel comfortable. Where are damn,parents or guardians. Lookin loke a damn crow in a toilet dress,like whats wrong with yall.,self respect. Everyone sees ur pregnant why u need to show ya azz. Yall need to get it together just a damn mess