05/21/2012 10:52 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I Still Wear My Prom Dress -- And I'm Not Ashamed To Tell You (PHOTOS)

I went to high school in New Jersey, where there is nothing more important in the world of style than senior year prom (not even graduation or a new episode of "Jersey Shore"). Not even the many other formals I attended during those four years. Choosing a dress for junior proms, homecomings and for plus-one stints was easy enough, but when it came down to my senior year prom, things felt different. Namely, much more stressful. After all the movies that portray prom as the most epic day of the year, how could I not look my best?

So naturally I felt a lot of pressure choosing a dress. When I attended prom as a junior, I wore a gorgeous floor length Vera Wang gown. It was possibly the most beautiful dress I have ever owned, but it wasn't fun to dance in, and I knew that I wouldn't have many other occasions to wear it. In fact, I have only been able to wear it one more time to a black tie event.

With that experience under my belt, I wanted a more wearable, fun dress for my senior prom. Shopping for it, however, was not as easy. I spent a full day with my dad wandering around boutiques downtown and another on Madison Avenue. Nothing seemed to have the right balance of fashionable, flirty and formal.

Only a week before the big day, I was beginning to lose hope when I finally found this Alice & Olivia dress on a lone rack at Henri Bendel. I loved the almost Grecian draping, metallic color and flattering fit. I could see myself dancing in the dress, but also wearing it out to other future cocktail parties.

For the big day, I wore my hair up and accessorized with charcoal gray patent leather Mary Janes from Marc by Marc Jacobs and a tan, woven clutch. My updo was my favorite part of the outfit: it was braided around the crown, then teased and spun into a wild mess of braids in the back. I added pearl earrings, an art deco ring my grandmother gave me and simple makeup to complete the look.

Left: Senior Prom. Right: 2012.

Overall I was pleased with my senior prom style, but looking back I am particularly glad I chose a dress that I could get some miles out of. Although a low-cut, silver metallic mini dress doesn't seem like the most practical choice, this number has seen me through several fun, yet formal occasions over the years, including my senior formal in college, a Louis Vuitton Gala and even a cocktail party this week (pictured above).

When I wear the dress these days, however, I style it differently. This time, I paired the metallic dress with a black, drapey Alexander Wang blazer for more coverage (and warmth), light gray ankle strap Jil Sander heels to make my legs appear longer and a bright green Reed Krakoff clutch for a pop of color. Now that I am no longer seventeen-years-old, I think showing too much skin, especially for an early evening event, is inappropriate. The blazer makes me feel more comfortable walking around, and it's also easy to toss when it's party time.

Below, check out our nine picks for prom dresses that you'll want to wear after the big day.

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Nine Perfect Prom Dresses