Project Runway” Season 9 contestant Amanda Perna recently visited Bloomingdale’s in Boca Raton to help young women select their perfect prom dress.

Perna currently manages her own line of beautiful apparel, The House of Perna, and works as a freelance stylist on events, editorial photo shoots and runway shows. She even shares her expert style advice on  

We had an opportunity to chat with Perna to find out what to wear out to one of the biggest nights of high school.

What are your top tips for young women preparing for prom?

I think the most important thing is to put together a look that makes you feel beautiful. So often girls think about what everyone else thinks, but the real trick is that if you love what you have on, then you will feel confident and look amazing no matter what you are wearing.

The other trick to make sure you don’t look exactly like everyone else is to accessorize in a way that is unique to you. Think outside of the box a bit, and put together accessories that make a statement about you.

Another important tip is to remember to have fun. Have fun shopping, and getting ready. I find a lot of girls get overwhelmed and get upset during the process of prepping for prom. For [many], it is one of the only times in your life you can have fun with your friends, dress up in gowns, and take tons of pictures. Make it a night you will remember and just enjoy every minute of the process.

What are a few of the popular trends this season for prom attire?

One trend that I am personally excited about is metallic dresses. A lot of brands are offering amazing sequin and metallic gowns which make it so easy because you don’t have to accessorize very much.

Emerald green is Pantone's official color of the year, so a lot of brands are offering green dresses. I personally am drawn towards the pastel colored dresses that are in stores this prom season. Pastel is a good option for girls who want to look glamourous and like they are attending a red carpet event instead of a prom.

What I think is particularly exciting are the bold, vibrant printed dresses. Prints make a bold statement, and are especially relevant in South Florida.

I have been seeing a variety of options in terms of length, which I think is great. When I went to prom, most girls wore long dresses, but I think it is nice in Florida to have the option to wear a shorter dress. My personal favorite though are the high low-hemmed dresses. I think it is a great way to have the best of both worlds...the freedom to move about a you would in a short dress, but the elegance of a long gown.

Sweetheart necklines are always an elegant choice, but for girls who prefer a bit more coverage and support, dresses with an illusion neckline are great. It allows you to look a bit more sophisticated and still look age appropriate.

What accessories do you think pair well with these trends?

I think metallic shoes are a great option this prom season. Depending on the color of the dress, I also love a beautiful nude pump. These look great with dresses that have bold prints or are pastels.

For shorter dresses, I think it is important to wear a shoe that makes a statement. I love shoes that are strappy and open toe with shorter dresses. For a high-low hem dress, I think a pretty pump (open or closed toe) is your best bet.

My personal favorite way to style a dress is with a color that compliments the dress, and isn’t so matchy-matchy. So for example if you are wearing a blue dress, to wear a yellow shoe. The key is making sure the tones in the two colors do not conflict.

For purses, I always recommend a small evening bag that has a strap. It can be a wristlet or an elegant shoulder bag with a very thin strap. This way you don’t have to spend the entire night holding your bag, you can wear it and not have to pay too much attention to it.
I once again love a complimentary colored bag- it makes a bold statement. Another great option, is if you have a solid dress, carry a printed bag. This is another way to introduce metallics to your look as well.

Meet Perna this Saturday from 1-3 p.m. For more details, please call 561/394-2000.