Formal Balls are something that over the past 5 years in my life, have become more regular than is average for a person of my age. Gone are the days of jeans-and-a-blouse school discos in a sports hall: since leaving secondary school, black or even white tie is something that I have become accustomed to doing. Yes, many students can anticipate the odd formal occasion where men don Topman suits and girls frock up to celebrate the end of an academic year, but you will struggle to find a university, nay, a college in the North of England that embraces the ball with the same gusto as University College, Durham.
So, with a lot of practice under my hat, I have decided to talk you through my formal dress choices, starting with my secondary school leaver's prom.
I wanted to do prom properly - traditional floor-length gown, rather than floaty maxi dress. Aged 15, my gown was sparkly, youthful, fun and expensive. What was most remarkable is that this dress was the first I picked from the rail and the only one I ever tried on. Whilst I would never choose it now, it is the kind of dress that holds sentimental value, despite knowing I will never wear it again.
I wore a Mori Lee purple fit and flair prom gown with a ruched bodice, beaded underbust and spaghetti straps that linked the dress to a 'spiderweb' design across my back. I accessorized with silver drop earrings, a mass of chocolate brown curls and lilac make up. People stood on the train all night, but the alterations (I had to have a size six taken in!) meant that it fit like a glove and even to this day, I look at the above photograph and feel beautiful.