Style Tips

What to Wear to a Ball

Claire Danes Met Gala

When I think of a ball, Claire Danes at the Met Gala and Cinderella staircase entrance moments immediately flash through my mind. Being a classic romantic at heart, I adore the chance to dress up and there is no better opportunity than when heading to a ball. It’s all about glamour, showing off your style and having a fabulous time – what’s not to love! If you’re lucky enough to be heading to a special occasion (or if you just love playing dress ups) we’ve got all the do’s and don’ts on what to wear to a ball.

What to Wear to a Ball - Dress Code

I am a strong believer in strictly adhering to dress codes, especially for special occasions. Weddings, Christenings, Graduations, and Balls are certainly no exception. When it comes to picking out your outfit for a ball, think formal, elegant and glamorous. Throughout history, balls have always commanded a full “Ball Gown” style – thankfully these days dresses aren’t so wide you can’t fit through a doorway!

Charles James Couture Gowns
Image source: Met Museum

So what to wear to a ball without a dress code? Typically Black Tie is the preferred dress code but in a society of increasingly relaxed wardrobe choices, some balls these days are singing a more relaxed tune. To make sure you’re dressed appropriately, look at the venue and reason behind the ball – that will put you on the right track! When in doubt, formal attire will have you looking the part.

Dresses - Ball Gown vs Minimalism

When it comes to choosing what to wear to your ball, there are countless dress styles to consider. Length and silhouette are always a good place to start but when there are so many different options how do you choose the right one. For a formal ball, you can’t go past an A-Line floor length gown. Fitted through the bust and billowing out to a beautiful full skirt (and train if you’re feeling extra glam), an A-Line gown like the Elle Zeitoune Gwyneth Gown will always make a beautiful statement. If you’re wanting to show off your curves but you still like fullness in the skirt of your gown, an always popular mermaid dress will be your go-to style. A beautiful lace number like the Elle Zeitoune Lori Gown is a sleek and sophisticated style that hugs your figure in all the right places.

elle zeitoune gwyneth black gown
elle zeitoune lori black gown

Don’t despair however if you’re not one for flowing skirts, classic tailoring is equally as fitting for a ball and you can’t go past the Elizabeth and James Seiler Maxi Dress. If it’s fitted you’re going for, keep your look sharply tailored to add a striking edge to your overall look. No matter if you’re wearing a billowing ball gown or a fitted sheath dress, keeping your look classic and elegant will always be favoured.

elizabeth and james seiler gown

Elizabeth and James Seiler Gown

Can I Wear a Pant Suit?

Wearing a pant suit to a formal occasion is becoming increasingly popular, so if you’re not the dress type, a pant suit or jumpsuit is your answer! The key to acing this look is monochrome and elegance. Don’t be afraid to be a little daring though and head out in just a jacket and pants which will have you turning heads. Make like Jessica Hart and opt for a chic black pantsuit with a plunging jacket. Make sure you choose a perfectly tailored jacket however as you don’t want any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions.

jess hart pantsuit
Image source: Harpers Bazaar

What About My Accessories?

Accessories put the finishing touch on your look so they can be just as crucial as the dress or suit itself. If you’ve opted for something ultra formal, you can’t go past regal diamond or crystal jewellery. Keep it minimal and either opt for a necklace or earrings – too many accessories can have you looking a little dated. If your look is slightly less formal or you’re wanting to add a fashion forward touch to your style, you can’t go past the boho luxe pieces from Samantha Wills. A bold marble or turquoise ring can be the perfect statement to finish off your look.

Adorne Diamante Earring
Adorne Diamante Ball Stud Earring
Adorne Diamante Vine Earring
Samantha Wills Dreams Cuff
samantha wills dream ring

When it comes to carrying your essentials like a phone, credit card and lippy throughout your ball, you’ll need the perfect clutch to complete your outfit. If you’ve gone heavy on the bling, opt for a minimal clutch but if you’re overall look is understated, don’t be afraid to add a splash of colour with a clutch. If you don’t want to carry a clutch around or worry about your items at the table while you’re dancing, opt for a style with pockets. I absolutely love an A-line skirt with pockets because not only does it avoid the issue of what to do with your hands when you’re posing for photos, you can also pop all your essentials in there too. Just make sure you’ve chosen an A-line style so the outline of the goodies in your pocket don’t show through the fabric.

Olga Berg Katia Clutch
oroton freize clutch

Lastly, but never least, it’s time to choose your shoes! For most Ball looks, it will be floor length so often the shoes are missed. However, if you’re flaunting a split or a shorter outfit, be sure to choose a killer pair of stiletto heels to complete your look. Have fun!

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