Formal / Prom Tips

Formal / Prom season in Australia is fast approaching, and with it being almost a year since my own Year 12 formal, I thought I would put together some tips for the night of all nights. From outfits, to photos, to makeup, I’ve got you covered.Finding ‘The Dress”

Make sure to try on many different styles of dress. Even if you have a clear vision of what you think you want. Try different colours, lengths and styles, because you may find that what you originally wanted doesn’t look how you expected it to, and you’ll back to square one. A style of dress that you otherwise wouldn’t have given a second look may end up being perfect once you try it on, so give everything a chance.

Also, while advice is great, don’t choose a dress because someone else likes it, and they think it looks good on you. While those things aren’t bad, if you don’t feel great in the dress, it’s not worth getting. This is YOUR dress. Choose a dress that YOU feel beautiful and confident in, not one that others think looks great.


Also, ensure you leave enough time to get your dress altered if it’s required. That means no leaving the dress shopping to the last minute! My dress took about a week to get altered, but the times differ depending on what you need done. Some dresses may need to altered several times until its “perfect”, so it really is vital that you leave a good month to get it all done, just to be on the safe side.

Avoiding awkward dress dilemmas

Let’s face it – everyone’s worst nightmare is turning up to the formal (or any social event) in the same dress as someone else. A way to reduce the likelihood of this happening is to create a Facebook group with all the girls going to your formal where you all post photos or descriptions of your dress. This makes all aware of what dresses to avoid if you don’t want your dress to look too similar to someone else’s.

If you really want to look different from everyone else, it’s also a good idea to avoid the popular colours – red, white, black and even navy.


We all know the struggle of buying a new pair of shoes and having them ruin our feet with blisters when we first wear them, and we definitely don’t want that to happen at the formal. Make sure to wear your formal shoes around the house plenty of times prior to the formal in order to break them in and reduce the chance of getting blisters and sore feet. This also helps you get used to heels if you’re not confident walking in heels. Be careful not to ruin them, though!

Makeup / hair

If your doing your hair and makeup yourself, be sure to practice it multiple times weeks ahead of the formal. Try out different looks until you come up with something you’re happy with.

If your getting your hair and makeup done by a professional, get a trial done before the formal to be sure that you’re happy with their work. Look online and read reviews to help you select an artist.

Whether you’re doing it yourself or by a professional, look online (Pinterest is great) for inspiration of what kind of look you want. It’s a great help and gives you a clearer idea of what kind of look you want.

Look after your skin / hair

It’s also important to implement a good skincare and haircare routine months ahead of the formal to ensure your skin and hair are in the best possible condition for the big night. No one wants to wake up on the morning of their formal with a massive breakout if they can avoid it!

Take all of the photos

TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS. Think you have enough? Take more! Despite it “just being one night” it is one night you will never get back, so you really want to make sure you have plenty of photos to look back on in years to come. I took so many photos from the night and I still wish I took more. Even if you’re not have the best time and nothing is going to plan, no matter how shitty you think the night is at the time, in years to come, you’ll look back on photos and remember the good points, not the bad.

If you’re about to have your own formal / prom, good luck and have an amazing time! You’ve made it through to the end of high school, so celebrate, you deserve it!

– Karen xx

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