Serving as a coming-of-age ceremony, debutante balls are events that mark the formal introduction of young women into society. This timeless tradition dates back to the 16th century. Even today, debutante balls unfold in grand ballrooms embellished with elegant décor and attended by folks of the high society.
So, if you’ve received your very first invitation to the ball, you’ll naturally have to look iconic. Here, we discuss how to prepare for the ball, how to choose the perfect attire for the dance, and what you can expect at the event.
Pre-Ball Prep Work
Your appearance will naturally be the main area of focus at your first deb ball. Here’s how to put it together before your big event:
Get a Clear Idea of Your Appearance
Your outfit is the main element that would gather all the spotlight at your first debutante ball. Remember, there’s going to be plenty of dancing, so choose something that would help you dance without hassle.
Modern-day debutante parties don’t particularly place color restrictions on outfits. So, don’t worry about color unless it is specifically mentioned in your invitation. The goal here is to go for something that is a combination of classy and comfortable.
You’ll also have to pay special attention to your hairdo to ensure it goes perfectly with your dress. Make sure you make a salon reservation weeks ahead of the ball to avoid any last-minute hair fiascos.
Craft a Speech
There is often somebody who makes a speech about each individual debutante when she’s presented to society. Sometimes, however, the deb has to give her own speech.
These speeches are generally crisp, short, and to the point. Include things like what you like doing, how you want to plan your life, and where you’re going to school. Include a quick word of thanks for your parents or anyone to whom you’re grateful.
Arrange the Right Shoes
Your evening dress is going to demand heels. Choose a pair of shoes that won’t make dancing difficult. If you’re not used to stilettos, simply ditch the idea and go for comfy pumps instead. Or find a pair of heels that will ensure both your comfort and elegance. Finally, practice as much as you can with your shoes to ensure your feet get used to them when it’s time to dance.
Flex Your Dance Muscles
You and your date will be dancing some classical dances at the ball. If you’re not familiar with basic waltz moves or other classical dance steps, it’s best to take lessons beforehand. Reach out to the program coordinator to determine dance types that will unfold at the ball. Ask your date if he has the dancing skills the ball demands. If he doesn’t, it’s best to head to the dance class together.
Picking the Perfect Outfit
Before you make your final outfit decision, remember to first read the invitation. Somewhere on the invitation, you’ll find the exact dress code your event requires. In case you need more clarity on the dress code, it’s best to reach out to the program coordinator. White tie, black tie, and black tie optional are some of the most common types of debutante ball dress codes.
Although rarely used, “white tie” is often the most traditional and formal dress code for a debutante ball. It is often used in events that strictly stick to the long-standing ball tradition. Here, debutantes are expected to dress in a white, full-length ball gown and white gloves. In some events, even the female guests are expected to wear gloves.
“Black tie” is the most common dress code for most formal events and a debutante ball is no exception.
No, the black tie dress code doesn’t mean a black outfit. Although debutantes must have traditional and classy attire, it’s best to not be afraid of color. Many deb events require girls to wear white gowns and some dress codes even mandate a full skirt.
A majority of the black tie fashion conundrum lies in the length of the dresses. Traditionally, every black tie event featured women (only) in long gowns. The modern black tie dress code, however, is all about wearing dressy cocktail pieces. This is one of the situations where you might need to clarify the details with the ball organizer or someone who has attended the same event before.
Whether you wear a short, tea-length, or long dress, the trick here is to keep it modest and appropriate. Avoid high-slit, low-cut, or form-fitting pieces. If you choose a short dress, make sure you keep it an inch above the knee or tea-length. Go for something that is dressier. You don’t want to end up in a sundress when your date would be flaunting a tux. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go for the dressy cocktail trousers option. However, for pants, jumpsuits, or trousers, it’s best to verify the dress code with the program coordinator.
Finally, consider the city or town where the event would unfold. If the place is highly historic, stick to the strictest definition of black tie and go for a long dress. If the event seems more laid-back, feel free to dress in a short or tea-length attire.
Black Tie Optional
If your debutante ball invitation mentions “black tie optional” in the dress code section, it’s best to dress up in traditional black tie attire. As with any formal event, it’s always better to overdress than underdress for your debutante ball. Make sure your date stays in line with your attire goal. In case he doesn’t own a tux, he can go for a formal dark suit.
The debutant society’s events are all about having fun and socializing. There are several activities to take into consideration including dance rehearsals, mother-daughter brunch, and of course the main ball night.
You’ll be expected to sketch thank you notes – not by email but by using stationery – and mail them promptly to each of the hosts. More importantly, you’ll be expected to brush up on your table manners and attend pre-parties (if any).
If you’re ready to start the dress search for your first debutante ball, the NewYorkDress would be your perfect deb ball fashion getaway. Explore it now to unlock countless styles from a variety of international fashion houses.