June 23, 2011 Slideshows

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The Hoop Skirts of Metro East 

If you grew up in one of the refinery towns on the Illinois side of the river near St. Louis, your prom dress probably had a hoop skirt. Your mother's prom dress probably did, too: As this week's feature, "Hoops Dreams," explores, in the close-knit communities of Bethalto, East Alton, Wood River and Roxana, antebellum gowns have been the prom attire of choice since the mid-50s. Photographer Jennifer Silverberg attended this year's Roxana prom -- and brought back plenty of pictures to share.
The hoop skirts of Southern Illinois prom fame.
Chelsea Evans and Aaron Warning
Jane Pratt
The hoop skirts of Southern Illinois prom fame.
There's quite a bit of waiting around before the students are able to enter the room where the prom is held.
There's quite a bit of waiting around before the students are able to enter the room where the prom is held.
The setting certainly lends itself to the fairy tale atmosphere.
The hoop skirts of Southern Illinois prom fame.
From left to right are Morgan Kutter, Gage Liley and Molly Stinson.
Molly Stinson was not the only girl we saw using the top of her strapless gown as a place to hold her cell phone and more...
Bridget Meszaros shows off her choice of footwear beneath her gown.
Jordan Sheraka opted for color coordinated track shoes beneath her prom gown.
Maneuvering in the hoop skirts doesn't look easy. Many of the girls seem to take hold of it, foregoing the grace from the days of Gone With the Wind.
Many friends and parents arrive early to take pictures of all the prom goers.
Destiny Howard and Derek Rose having a downright bridal moment before the prom.
Holly Zieke and Tony Bartlett before the prom is set to begin.
Holly Zieke and Tony Bartlett before the prom is set to begin.
Taylor Habbe entering her prom.
The bathroom can be a little difficult when you're wearing a hoop skirt. Going in pairs seems to be the way to go if you want to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions.
Taylor Habbe didn't last too long in her prom dress.
The bathroom can be a little difficult when you're wearing a hoop skirt. Going in pairs seems to be the way to go if you want to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions.
Taylor Habbe didn't last too long in her prom dress.
The chairs at prom seem a bit small if you're wearing a hoop skirt.
Hoop skirt or not...it's still prom.
Hoop skirts swishing across the crowded dance floor.
Grinding in a hoop skirt...
1/27
The hoop skirts of Southern Illinois prom fame.
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