Being the overgrown village that it is, St Andrews is very lacking in clothes shops. As you cannot wear fancy chocolates or a book to a ball, we are forced to look further. Neither H&M nor New Look will do the trick, and a desperate purge of the charity shops is always unsuccessful, with the only fit-to-be-seen-in items being rapidly snatched up by even keener pursuers. Here are my tips to finding the best dress to wear to the next black tie event…
1) Get on ASOS quick!
This is the easy option; I have to admit this is what I resorted to for the last two balls. ASOS must make a fortune from St Andrews. The greatest advantage is the free returns, allowing you to order a number of dresses in various sizes (providing the bank account allows…) and return those undesirable or unsuitable. Get on their mailing list and you will be the first (of many) to know when to order, and benefit from their free delivery. Yet the disappointment comes when not a single one is right and you are back to square one.
2) Head to Dundee… or Edinburgh
Another problem faced is when every dress you like has already been worn by someone you know. Is the venture to Dundee, or even Edinburgh, worth it? Depends. Is this a big event? Are you dressing to impress anyone in particular? If the answer is yes, then go. Trawl the streets, spend a wonderful day when you don't recognise someone in every shop, try on everything in your size (and the next size down… maybe the no-Dervish resolution will succeed), cry, and end up going with the first one you found.
If you’re feeling strapped for cash, borrow! Dress look different on a different girls. Been eyeing up that sequinned beauty your friend splashed out on last year? Now it’s your turn to ask…
4) Wear the same one twice…
Yes, you’ve already been tagged on Facebook in that dress. But that’s ok. The compliments you received? You're only going to hear them all again.
Of course, being of the male species makes the whole process undeniably easier. About half an hour before, dig out the suit, iron your shirt (or get a female flatmate to do this for you), and you’re ready to go. After all, it’s a fact that no girl can resist a guy in a suit.
My final piece of advice. If you’re feeling self-conscious, drink. You won't remember what you (or anyone else) is wearing then anyway.
Title image sourced from Disney. Other images sourced from ASOS, Edinburgh Directory and Mr Porter. Compiled by Nicole Horgan.