It’s been quite a while since I was at a formal but I still remember the buzz around school, which began more or less the first week of the new school term.
Who would we ask (for those of us who didn’t have boyfriends), the location, nominating the formal committee, make up, hair and of course most importantly the dress. The dress was the be all and end all of the whole event. Some of us spent months planning the perfect look. Even at my very first formal in fifth year I had to be different to everyone else and wore a vintage silk Chinese dress from Hong Kong and I bought my accessories when I was visiting my aunt in Glasgow.
These days not much has changed except things have become much bigger and more expensive. I’m not sure how much a formal ticket costs these days but I know that formals now have everything from photo booths and chocolate fountains to limos and all the little things in between.
For me it was always important to be different to everyone else and to turn up in the same formal dress as someone else would have been a fashion disaster. For this reason I either wore vintage or had my formal dresses made. If you have a formal coming up in the next few weeks you will no doubt have already got your dress sorted or have been thinking about what you would like to go for.
Some of the trends to look out for include embellishment, lace, print and bold colours. Traditionally a formal gown would be full length and usually in a dark colour in most cases black, navy or red but nowadays anything goes. Full length dresses are most popular however shorter cocktail dresses, two piece top and full length skirts and even dressy jumpsuits have become alternatives for those who want to stand out from the norm.
When you think about it a formal is a bit like a wedding in that a lot of time and effort goes in to finding the perfect dress, your hair and makeup have to be just so and you want your day to be extra special. It can be a difficult decision choosing a dress, as well as finding the right style and colour you also want to make sure you find something that no one else will turn up in but at the same time you don’t want to be too different and risk looking silly. My advice is to stick to colours and styles that suit you. There is no point in trying to make yourself look different and stand out from the crowd by wearing something that doesn’t suit you as you will only attract attention for the wrong reasons.
Whatever your choice of dress and indeed choice of date the most important thing is to make great memories. I will never forget my school formals not just because of my choice of dress each time but because of the great memories I made with my friends and the photos I love to look back on.
Fashions change from year to year and although you may not feel the same way about your dress in years to come you will always have the great memories.