Why Are Homecoming Dresses So Short?

girls wearing short homecoming dresses
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Homecoming is the first big school event of the year. It’s a chance to celebrate the new school year and show everyone how much you’ve grown up over the summer. Some people also see it as a trial run for prom later in the year.

While homecoming isn’t as serious as prom for most people, it’s still an event you want to look good for, so choosing an outfit is important. While searching for a homecoming dress you (and probably your parents) have realized that homecoming dresses tend to be really short.

It can be frustrating to find options if you don’t want to wear a short dress. So why is homecoming considered the time to show off your legs? And what other options are there? We’ll help you figure it all out.

Reasons for Short Homecoming Dresses

Since homecoming will always be in second place to prom, it’s considered a less formal occasion. While prom often has a mix of skirt lengths, including long dresses, homecoming is usually stuck at about mid-thigh length.

This comes from the idea of long, full dresses simply being more special. They are less like something you’d wear every day. Homecoming borrows more from cocktail dress attire with flirty short hems.

The practical reason for this is that it allows you to dance and have fun all evening without worrying about tripping over your hem. While prom dresses can feature petticoat layers that can be hard to fit in a car, homecoming dresses usually have narrower skirts too. Homecoming dresses are easier to wear and tend to be a little less expensive as well.

Short dresses are also often associated with being young and carefree.

The Downsides of Short Dresses

Understandably, though not every young woman likes to show off her body and you should never feel pressured to. Whether you’re self-conscious about your body or simply dislike the style, your reasons are valid.

Your parents may also be uncomfortable with you wearing a short dress for homecoming and if they are footing the bill you will have to consider their feelings when choosing.

School dress codes are another issue to contend with. While some schools relax the dress code a bit for dances, others can still be pretty strict. Super short hemlines might not be allowed and you don’t want your night to stop at the door.

Alternative Homecoming Looks

Despite short dresses being traditional for homecoming, there is no reason why you have to stick with tradition. You could absolutely wear a longer dress. If you check out Sherri Hill’s hoco section, you’ll find dresses of all different lengths and styles proving that people’s idea of what a homecoming dress looks like is slowly evolving.

You could also choose something really non-traditional.


If you are not a fan of skirts and dresses, you don’t have to wear them for formal events either. More sleek and stylish pant options are becoming the norm. A jumpsuit has the ease of being one piece, just like a dress, but removes any worries about flashing the party when your dance moves.

A Two-Piece Set

No rule says you have to wear a one-piece outfit. You can explore your style by mixing and matching a two-piece set. The base of your outfit could be a long formal skirt or a pair of trousers that you pair with a matching jacket or vest. Add a unique thrifted blouse and show up with the most creative outfit at homecoming.

Add Under Layers

If you found a more traditional homecoming dress you love, but feel awkward about the length, you can add some elements to help you feel a bit more covered.

Opaque-colored tights look sleek and add visual interest to your outfit. You could also go for a vintage 80s look with leggings under a mini-length dress.

A ruffled petticoat that extends past the bottom of your dress not only covers you a bit more but adds a sweet romantic touch to your outfit. If the ruffled look doesn’t match your dress, wear a sleeker knee-length skirt in black or a complementary color to your dress.

If you choose an underlayer that enhances your style it won’t look frumpy. It will just look like you crafted a more unique outfit for the event.

You Can Skip the Homecoming Mini Dress

Fashion is a personal thing that you’re going to continue developing through your whole life. You’ll feel your best if you don’t compromise your own style just meet an arbitrary standard. Just because short hems are normal for homecoming doesn’t mean you have to wear a mini dress.

There are plenty of beautiful options for longer dresses that can be appropriate for homecoming, and you don’t even have to wear a dress if you don’t want to. Dance the night away your way!

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