With real life looming, the upcoming graduate ball is the last nail in the coffin of our lives as carefree, morality-free students. Whilst most will be worrying about internships, new jobs, or how to explain the broken mattress to the landlord, there will be some that will embrace a more pressing issue with that university spirit in mind: the grad ball outfit.
As the event marks the peak of your academic career and probably one of the last big nights with all your friends, you have to look the business. There are so many fabulous dresses on the high street right now and numerous trends to sink your teeth into, so you should be spoilt for choice. However, my advice is to get a little creative, and stray off the beaten track to achieve your perfect look.
Firstly, the high street has really come up trumps for s/s formal wear, with tons of vivid colours and incredible detailing. Timed to perfection, Topshop has just released its Dress Up range, with several stunners such as a lace panel bodycon dress in three colours, a white circle sequin mini dress, and a one shouldered sequin cape dress in silvery grey. Starting at just £45, there are some real gems in this collection.
Even so, I would be wary. You want to look unique, and you can bet you won’t be the only one there in a Topshop dress. Instead I would suggest getting a little creative. Go Gok Wan and make your own high street creation seem high end with a little creativity.
You don’t need to be a haberdashery expert to exercise a little imagination. For those whose overdrafts can’t take any more pain, don’t buy anything new- rejuvenate something you already own. For example, if you own a plain bandeau dress you have a great base to build numerous different looks. With the money you save on clothes, invest in a statement bib necklace or some amazing new shoes. (Remember we are only half an hour away from Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth which houses a Kurt Geiger outlet).
Or how about visiting Fabric Land and spending £5 on 2 metres of silk or satin- something that moves nicely- and create a gorgeous swing dress? Just tuck the top over your bandeau dress and attach all the way around (make the ends overlap) with small stitches on the inside that you can remove later. I did this recently with mint green silk and wore it with killer bright orange heels and felt fabulous. And I had more money to spend on drinks.
Instead, how about harnessing the power of accessories to turn day wear into night wear? Try turning your summer maxi into an evening dress with some flowers in your hair, great shoes and plenty of bangles. Ted Baker and Zara are my favourites for a stunning maxi, and you can always search for these brands on ebay to find one you love for a fraction of the cost.
If you want to be bang on trend, try channelling the hot new geisha-inspired look. ASOS are doing an incredible range of East meets West pieces, and their vibrant knee length flower dress will leave you feeling like a million yen.
Whatever your budget or taste, there are a hundred different ways to look fantastic for the graduate ball. With a bit of thought and imagination, you can come up with an outfit that will make people think that you saved the best ’til last.