Held annually as the first major black-tie event of the academic year, the Kate Kennedy Club’s Opening Ball is the prime opportunity for freshers to get glammed up in true traditional St Andrews style. The event will be held on Lower College Lawn in a lit up marquee, preceded by a champagne reception, and is a favourite for both new and returning students alike (as proven with the recent sell out of tickets). Such an illustrious and quintessentially St Andrean occasion brings with it the obvious question: what to wear?
Perhaps the most pondered over topic for the ladies is the classic long versus short dresses debate. Whilst many guests choose to go for a maxi dress for such an event, short dresses are neither few and far between, leaving it very much up to the individual’s preference. Although balls are not in short supply in St Andrews, with Welly Ball and Christmas Ball to name a few awaiting in the coming months, many use Opening Ball to debut long gowns and save shorter dresses for events such as Welly (where you can show off your boots) or for the numerous fashion shows next semester.
Often guests choose to re-wear prom dresses or borrow dresses from friends in order to save money. To compliment your dress of choice, heels and a clutch bag are traditionally essential. However, be sure that your stilettos are not so high or uncomfortable to impede the inevitable hours of dancing ahead of you – and remember the cobblestone streets that make up St Andrews.
The gentlemen seem to have an easier option, with the large majority opting for a classic tux, or perhaps a kilt for all the Scots out there. However, there are options other than just the simple black tux, such as adding a pop of colour with a bright handkerchief or opting for an alternative shade of suit.
Whilst Opening Ball will be many’s first impression of a stereotypical St Andrews event, it is also an opportunity to give your peers a first impression of your style away from the jeans and a nice top dress code of nights at 601. Although formal attire is essential and elegance is encouraged, don’t be afraid to venture out from the standard choice of a maxi gown and opt for something a little different if you want to stand out -such as a fancy jumpsuit or a two piece- and most importantly, wear something that you feel good in.