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A little like weddings – in fact probably more so than weddings – the school formal tends to be dominated by the girls in the fashion arena. Hundreds of dollars are spent on dresses, hair and make-up. Not to mention the once uber-cool stretch limo.
While in many ways the school formal Australian style is a seen as an adoption of the American “prom” it does have more in common with the English style formal events, no not the stuffy “coming out balls” of yesteryear, but the more contemporary celebrations held today.
And while the girls agonize over their dresses, the young men can be left in a daze of perfume and lace.
But boys, this is your time to shine. Get it right and, rather than damaging your street cred, your reputation will blossom. But get it wrong and it may come back to haunt you.
There are a couple of important tips to getting it right. First of all, don’t try and outshine the girls, it just can’t be done. Stay away from the lurid colours or the white tuxedo. Go with stylish and sleek. And secondly don’t dress beyond your years, you don’t want to end up looking like your dad.
The boys generally wear a dinner jacket (tuxedo) or a suit and mens tie. Stay away from white tie, it is really too formal for this type of event. In fact I would stay away from tailcoats altogether, they cry out "old school" rather than school formal. A black dinner suit with a white shirt and deep red bow tie looks great. Another look that is particularly good on a young man is a collarless jacket.
A dark shirt looks great under a dark vest and jacket, but lighten the look with your tie. Say a silver, dove grey or purple tie.
Or maybe go for a black suit and shirt, with a coloured vest and matching tie, again purple works well or even deep red if you are feeling bold. Otherwise silver is a safe but classy option.
I would suggest renting a suit rather than buying for a school formal, as there is generally a little more growing to do. But it can be a great taste of things to come, and getting it right now will give a young man confidence later in life.
And don’t neglect your shoes and socks, it would be a shame to get the rest of the outfit right and bomb out with daggy shoes and flouro socks.