Fashioning for Formals

Allison Duchin, Staff Reporter

Did you think the days of worrying about getting the right dress, doing your hair just right, spending hours on makeup or trying to find shoes that are comfortable but also look great ended with senior prom? Sorority girls continue to face many, if not all, of these problems now that formal season has begun. However, doing formal on a budget is easier than many think.

Some girls, like those who have never attended a Greek formal before, have had difficulties discovering what exactly formals are and how you are supposed to prepare for them. Although some girls have felt pressured to buy a new dress, there is no need to worry: There are many ways to get around formal without forking up the cash. Don’t be afraid to look into your closet one more time, and find a dress that you like to wear. It’s the first time these other girls are seeing it.

Simplicity is a major trend this season, so find a dress that fits a minimalistic style and pair it with some statement jewelry. Simple dresses eventually get the most wear, making them the most valuable. Don’t be afraid to ask around friends’ dorms for new accessories that will make your outfit unique.

If your closet does not have a dress that can be updated for formals, borrowing dresses from friends is also always an alternative.

“I love wearing dresses, but sometimes I get bored of my own. Borrowing is a cheaper way of mixing it up,” says Karen Zoeller. She is correct, borrowing is definitely cheaper than buying, and the friend you borrow from will hopefully have all the necessary accessories for the outfit.

If, however, you still are in desperate need of a dress and simply cannot find one within your own closet or a friend’s, you are in luck, because formal season is also right within seasonal crossover, meaning stores are having sales to get rid of their older inventory. Urban Outfitters changes inventory on a regular basis and has recently moved a number of their items to the sales category; the dresses on sale rarely reach over thirty dollars. Other places that typically have fast turnover rates for their inventory and affordable pricing include and H&M. This, however, presents a major issue: online sizing.

When ordering online, there is always the chance that the item will arrive and not fit properly. Here are some tips to avoid this problem. Always read the sizing guide; each manufacturer has a slightly different sizing strategy, so know an idea of your measurements. Make sure to read consumer reviews of the product; many people talk about the quality of the product and sizing discrepancies.

Ask the advice of your friends when online shopping. If you are truly stuck between two size options, ask two of your friends for sizing advice. Dress shopping doesn’t have to be scary or stressful, because as Case Western Reserve University students, there is already plenty of other stuff to stress about.

Don’t be afraid to ask around about formal dresses and the event, and not just for borrowing purposes. Taking advice from girls on campus who have already gone through the formal process is also an important aspect to take into account, as many of the unspoken requirements for formal attire change with each year.

Some girls say their first formal reminded them of their high school dances and they imitated what they wore then. However, junior Tina Rozman said that she had seen the formal process evolve over her years at CWRU. Through her own experiences and watching other friends throughout the Greek community, Rozman has noticed that formal is now much more relaxed.

She describes a dress code that is loosely related to cocktail party attire, but “over the past three years, the dresses have gotten progressively shorter and tighter, the heels higher and the level of work put into getting ready has declined.”

This isn’t saying that as girls attend more formals, they care less about how they look. Instead, as the CWRU student’s life gets busier and busier, people have less time to get ready for formal. Rozman provides her own thoughts about preparing for formal now: “How fast as possible can I make myself look as cute as possible?”

The dress is only important because of the girl wearing it. Make sure you are comfortable with yourself, because it is the people you spend formal with that will make a larger impact than whatever you end up wearing.