When we were in high school, there wasn't anything that felt quite as important as the formal. Not exams, not what happened to Summer and Seth in The O.C. - NOTHING, I TELL YOU.
Honestly, the only thing that required the same passion-filled years of planning was schoolies.
This crazy anticipation was mainly due to the fact that formals are fun and a big part of ~high school lyf~. But also, for us, it was because our schooling years were the most iconic time for glam AF fashion.
The diamantés! The satin! The curls!
But is it possible for formal fashion that was so goddamn memorable to stand the test of time? We decided to see if we still loved our old formal dresses as much as we did years ago.
Yes, we whipped out our old photos and called our parents to check that they still had our dresses stuffed away somewhere. (Thanks, Mum!)
I actually designed my own dress. My mum then got it made in the Philippines, and unsurprisingly, it came back nothing like I had planned. When I first saw it, I locked myself in my bedroom and dramatically sobbed into my pillow, with "Breathe Me" by Sia on repeat. Once I snapped out of it and actually tried it on, and as much as I low-key looked like a tree, I did feel like a princess.
I was scared to try it on again because 17-year-old me had a washboard chest and, thankfully, I have grown. I really didn't expect it to fit tbh. I didn't even expect it to do up, so I was surprised when I managed to do up the top two buttons. So, I still looked like a tree and I could barely breathe this time around, but again, I felt like royalty. I mean, how could you not with all that tulle?
When I bought my formal dress, the sweet lady working in the boutique where I found it told me it was "very Sex and the City". I had absolutely no clue what this meant, but translated this semi-compliment to mean it was a) sexy and b) something that someone in the city (not Bathurst) would totally wear. I was sold!
I will admit that I still adore this dress. I'll also admit that it's the complete opposite of what I'd wear in the present day. If I could go back in time though, I'd still go for it because I absolutely adored it. I would however, request that my hair be at least two inches closer to my actual scalp.
Oh man, this dress. Being from good ol' Wagga Wagga, I went shopping in Canberra for my formal dress (lol, I know). I found one I loved, but it was a bit on the expensive side, so my nonna decided she could make the same design. Obvs in 2008, ruffles, big bows, and a tail for your dress were COOL. What you can't see is all the beading and tiny buttons that fasten the back, which means my nonna spent so much goddamn time of her life creating this.
Trying it on again made me second guess what the hell I was thinking at the time. (I mean, the tail, guys. THE TAIL.) But it also made me appreciate my nonna even more for making it for me.
I saw Taylor Swift in concert six months before my Year 12 formal, and she was wearing a sparkly gold dress. Obviously, I decided that I needed to wear the exact same thing. I had no idea how I was going to find one, but then found my dress at a market stall by chance, without even having to go look for it. I felt glam AF at the time, but looking back, it was definitely way too short for a formal dress. No wonder my mum made me wear stockings under it.
I'm glad it still fit but I realised that I have gone down about two cup sizes since I was 17. RIP my boobs. And it turns out that my style has not changed AT ALL in six years, because I loved it as soon as I put it on. While I acknowledge that a sequined gold mini-dress is potentially a little over the top, I would still 100% wear this out in public. Honestly, the only issue would be the trail of sequins I would leave behind me as I walked.