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The ultimate bat mitzvah dress guide

The best fit

Community Newspaper Group

Photo gallery

1/11
If you’re the ‘it’ girl: You’re already confident, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind. So wear something as charismatic as you, like this dress worn by Taylor Swift. It’s stunning, poised, and — just like you — classically cool.
2/11
If you’re spunky: For the spirited gal who’s full of positive energy, try a bright dress like Lea Michele’s with a skirt that has as much bounce as perfect ponytail.
3/11
If you’re a funny girl: Funny girls can look fierce! Just check out Whitney Cummings in a flashy dress as sparkling as her personality. Like many female comediennes who regularly hit the red carpet, such as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, we suggest keeping your ensemble simple — that way the inner-you will always shine.
4/11
If you’ve hugged a tree: Flow into your bat mitzvah in an earth-toned dress made out of a fabric that’s as light as the wind. Add a pinch of pretty, with a nature-inspired pattern like the flowers in Rashida Jones’s dress.
5/11
If you’re a little rock’n’roll: Glitter makes you bitter and frills make you ill. Try something sleek and structured like this beautiful, black gown worn by Kelly Osbourne. The black studs give this otherwise soft, fitted dress a hard edge and cleverly help define her waist.
6/11
If you’re a shy, sweetie-pie: Give your peers a visual cavity in a sweet dress like Zendaya’s. Capped sleeves, a diamond bow, and an effervescent skirt will make you look like the angel you truly are.
7/11
If you’re in every school play: All the guys will think you’re a doll in a mermaid-cut dress like this singular sensation worn by Amanda Seyfried. Add a ballsy color like navy, red, violet, or apple green to the dramatically structured dress and you will have a combo that goes together like “ramma lamma lamma ka dingity ding da dong.”
8/11
If you’re sporty: You’ve earned MVP, now earn Most Vivacious Bat Mitzvah by showing off the gorgeous stems you earned from hours of after-school practice. Sport an outfit that flaunts your leans legs and killer arms by wearing a short, flirty frock just like Gabby Douglas.
9/11
If you’re a fashionista: Your look? It’s yours. You own it and always look flawlessly put together, chic, and cool. Look to style queens like Marion Cotillard who looks daring and darling in this silk blue Dior dress complete with a hot trend — an asymmetrical hem.
10/11
If you’re quirky: You would knit your own prom dress but you’re way too busy trying to figure out how to play the piccolo. Quirky girls should look to Zooey Deschanel as their style muse. She usually opts for girly, vintage threads and then adds a personal twist — like tights, a fun belt, or a signature hairstyle.
11/11
If you’re a smarty pants: Pastels and floral patterns are all the rage this year. If you’re on honor roll, and serious about your studies, look as stellar as your GPA in a smart dress like Ariel Winter’s, which will show off your incredible knowledge…of fashion!

Imagine if your synagogue created a PowerPoint presentation that told you how to dress for your bat mitzvah. Chances are there would be pictures of nothing but bathrobes, muumuus, and burlap sacks. It would probably even claim that this year’s hottest accessory is a belt made out of a rope. Then suppose if Snookie from “Jersey Shore” made a similar presentation. It would be endless slides of skin-tight mini-dresses, sloppy cleavage-bearing tops, tacky beehives, and her favorite accessory? Probably a pickle. Or a duck phone. Yuck. There has to be a happy medium. And if there is, how do you find it? You’re having a hard enough time just trying to write your d’var Torah! Chill out and stop worrying. Just like Snookie should do 99 percent of the time — we’ve got you covered.

The ‘jump test’

The easiest way to determine whether or not a dress is right for you is with the jump test — basically, if you can’t jump in it, don’t wear it. This seamless test — that applies to dresses with or without straps — will determine whether or not your gown will be perfect for a fun-filled celebration full of dancing. Keep in mind that you want to feel comfortable the entire time, from slow dancing to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” to doing the “Cupid Shuffle.” You never want to worry that something is going to slip out. Remember, this is a formal affair and may be the very first time in your adult life that you have the opportunity to dress up. You don’t want to look like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, or Lindsay Lohan jumping out of a limo. Embarrassing!

“If you can’t bend down without someone seeing your goodies, it’s not right,” says stylist Shaunya Hartley, who has worked with the likes of Usher and Lauryn Hill.

Be yourself!

You are extraordinary, even if you have an ordinary name. Let your individuality glow in a gown that is 100-percent Y-O-U by creating your own style, not imitating a celebrity’s persona. Over-the-top celebs on the red carpet, like Rihanna or Nikki Minaj, are great for inspiration, but superstars like these are cultivating an image and contributing to fleeting, cultural trends, which may not be as cool in the future.

“Those costumes you see on your favorite artists are just that, costumes,” says Hartley. This party is a celebration of what you’ve accomplished. Keep your style classic. “You want to look back years from now and not be embarrassed about your fashion choices.”

If you’re unsure about what your personal style is, check out our slide show above! It takes all kinds of personalities and latest trends into account. Flip through and find the real you.

Tailor and tweak

The best dress for you is one that flatters your body type.

“You know why celebs always look so great in their clothes? They fit and tailor,” says Hartley. Don’t be afraid to get your dress hemmed or taken in at the seams, it makes a big difference.

“Formal clothes are supposed to flatter you. That means the bust shouldn’t be droopy. If you’re petite, you shouldn’t be tripping over the hem. And if you’re statuesque, your floor-length gown shouldn’t hit you at the ankles,” says Hartley. “If your gown shop has a seamstress, speak with her. If not, ask your store to recommend someone. Off-the-rack is okay for a T-shirt, but a seamstress can do a nip and tuck that will truly flatter a figure.”

Your bat mitzvah signals the end of an important era in your life, so don’t strive to look like anyone other than yourself. Variety is the spice of life — if we all looked like Beyonce and Katy Perry, how exciting would the world really be? Think about all the shoes you own, wouldn’t it be boring if all you had was one pair of black ballet flats? So dazzle on your big night with a dress that shows off you. And if it happens to have a little sparkle, even better — it will help you shine!

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