But what she chose, a bright, traditional Chinese qipao (or cheongsam) dress, sparked an online debate when she tweeted the photos on April 22, the day after her big night, with the caption "PROM". She had received a lot of positive feedback from China and the South Morning China Post, talking about how her ensemble isn't cultural appropriation, but cultural appreciation. "For it to simply be subject to American consumerism and cater to a white audience is parallel to colonial ideology".
The post has since been retweeted over 41,000 times.
Daum insists her choice of the dress, which she bought in a vintage store, was perfectly innocent.
At the time, she said, she was only focused on the modesty and subtle elegance of the dress.
The teen said she was unaware its history dated back to the 17th century, but had learned the qipao eventually became a symbol for female empowerment. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
But those commenting in mainland China were less opposed to Daum's dress.
Daum received plenty of support from friends, administrators and teachers, as well as on Twitter.
"There were people who took it the wrong way and it kind of turned", Daum told KSL.
'My intention was never to cause any commotion or misunderstanding, ' she said.
Some people online are calling her actions thoughtless and even reprehensible, while others are jumping to her defense. For others, the real offense Daum committed was when she posed in a group photo crouching down with their hands folded in front of them.
As for criticism of the pose in the photo, Daum explained that it was a reference to a meme from the popular YouTube channel H3H3 Productions. I wanted to be a little different and extra special,"she said". Daum initially responded by clarifying that she "mean [s] no disrespect to the Chinese culture" and refusing to apologize.
Daum's story has quickly gained traction, even making its way overseas to some Chinese publications.
"At first, I felt bullied, but my mom helped toughen me up, and I began to realize how many people there were who were supporting me in my decision and encouraging me", Daum says.
Many others backed Daum's decision to wear the dress, saying it was just a attractive prom dress and that Daum wasn't being malicious.
She was not aware of the dress' history before buying it at a vintage shop in Salt Lake City, she said in an email, but "simply found a attractive, modest gown and chose to wear it". "Perhaps it is an important discussion we need to have".