Let’s Play Ball!

With the ball season fast approaching, I feel like it is a great time to discuss what is required on the fashion front for a successful season!

For those who are new to the ANU, I hear you ask what a ball is and how it works. For the most part, ANU balls are formal events organised by societies or committees at the university, which involve elegantly dressed ladies and suave men at a fancy venue with exotic food and a lot of free alcohol.

Balls are just about the only events that allow us to flaunt our most formal attire without feeling overdressed (ahem, all you well-dressed citizens who make me feel like a pauper in my trackies at a 9am lecture…)

Now I know we ladies generally don’t tend to buy evening gowns very often as we hardly ever use them, so when this time of year comes around, we are stumped for ideas and actually quite nervous whether we are doing it right.

This leads me to my first tip: don’t spend ridiculous amounts of money on something you will wear once or twice. Online stores have heaps of evening gowns and dresses that look quite elegant for very affordable prices. A word of warning: remember to order it in time so that it arrives a couple of days before the ball to give some time for last minute adjustments.

A trap that many of us ladies fall into is that we prefer buying a completely new outfit rather than a get-up we’ve worn once, of which there is photo evidence on Facebook. Remember though, we are uni students living on tight budgets! Believe me when I say so, no one cares if they have seen it once, so there is no harm in reusing the dress… My tip: try playing with other aspects of the outfit such as hairstyle or accessories – the entire vibe of the dress could change dramatically!

As far as themes go, organisers usually dictate the code as something formal or fancy – THAT DOES NOT MEAN FLASHY OR GAUDY! Don’t overdo it. Considering you are going for a ball, you are probably aiming for a sophisticated look and should accessorise accordingly.

If you’re wearing a dress with a high neck, a good rule to follow would be to stick to slightly bigger earrings, no necklace, a watch on one hand and if you want then a small bracelet on the other, or no watch at all and a big bracelet on one hand. If you’re wearing a dress with a deeper neck, then go with a simple set of a matching pendant and earrings.

Another aspect where people sometimes go OTT with is makeup. You don’t need to put on a thick layer of makeup. I am sure all you ladies know that a natural finish is the objective. The minute people can tell you have worn a lot of foundation, classy turns to tacky. But having said that, balls are a great opportunity to wear eye shadow, brighter shades of lipstick, and other products you wouldn’t use on a daily basis. However, either opt for heavy eye shadow or brighter lipstick. Doing both will result in “loud”, not “elegant”.

The final aspect which ties the whole look together is your hair. Try to step away from your go-to formal hairstyle and change it up a bit! Straighten your hair out if you have curly locks, or curl you naturally straight hair. Pin it up and put it in an intricate up-do. The world is your oyster! Remember you are spending a lot of money and time on the event so why not put a little bit more effort in and make yourself feel good.

Ultimately, be confident! Being over or underdressed is only observable if you let yourself feel that way. Carry yourself with your head held high and you will automatically look on fleek.

My final tip: have lots of fun! Studying can get tough, especially if you are approaching those later weeks. So just forget about your worries for one night and dance like nobody’s watching!

PS: Having said that, trust me when I say, you see a different side of people at these events; you are very likely to be caught staring!