The Ultimate Guide to Ball Dress Shopping PART 1: BALL PLANNING CHECKLIST

Thursday 8th January, 2015


OK, so it's kind of a big deal that your school ball event is approaching and you want to be fully prepared and look your very best for this special occasion. Ball dresses, shoes, hair and makeup....where to start? In this comprehensive ball planning guide, you will get step by step shopping and style advice and tips to help you prepare for the big night, stress free! In our complete guide series of The Ultimate Guide To Ball Dress Shopping we will cover the following topics to help you prepare for your ball dress shopping expedition and ball planning.

Part 1: Ball Planning and Checklist

Part 2: Ball Gowns Style Guide

Part 3: To Buy Online or In Store?

Part 4: Finding the Best Bra For Your Ball Dress

Part 5: Ball Shoes & Accessories

Part 6: Beauty, Makeup & Hair

Here is a detailed school ball checklist of the things to do to help you prepare and keep your planning run smoothly. Being prepared and having this checklist handy will ensure you are on track and have less to think, remember and worry about all at once.


Regular exercise and healthy eating

Now is a great time to get into shape for the school ball by starting an exercise and healthy eating plan (if you haven't already) so you can get accustomed and settled comfortably into your new regime.



Work out a budget

Without careful planning school ball costs can quickly get out of hand! Decide on how much money you plan to spend on everything involved with the ball. If your parents will be willing to contribute, factor this into your budget and it will give you a better idea of an overall spending pool. Once you have determined your budget, start saving immediately. These savings will come in handy for unexpected costs that may arise and if you do end up spending a bit more than planned.

Here are some examples of what you might want to budget for and it's average costs;

  • Ball dress $200 - $400
  • Shoes/heels $100 - $180
  • Ball ticket $130
  • Hairdressing service $100
  • Makeup; professional services $80 - $100 or buying your own products $30 - $100
  • Getting your nails done $50
  • Clutch $50 - $80
  • Jewellery $30 - $80
  • Limousine $50 - $80
  • Boutonniere for your date $30
  • Dress alterations $50 - $150



Start shopping for your ball dress

Start thinking about the type of dress you would like to wear for your school ball. One of the best ways to start shopping for a school ball dress is to first determine your body shape as this will give you a good starting point to look for certain dresses that will flatter your body over other dress styles.

For example, if you have a petite frame, consider a ball dress with ruffles and padding on the chest area to help give the illusion of a fuller bust line. If you're larger sized, opt for a strappy style ball dress that is slightly fitted on the bodice and flowy floor length style dress. We will cover in more detail the different styles of ball dresses and which body shapes it flatters in our next edition of The Ultimate Guide To Ball Dress Shopping Part 2: Ball Dress Style Guide.

You may decide to shop around at local boutiques and stores for your ball dress or you may go the online route with purchasing your ball dress. Whatever choice you make, allow plenty of time to make a well informed purchase decision. If you go for the online purchase of your dress, it is advisable to start looking a bit earlier than 3 months to ensure you are 100% with your dress. We will go through factors to consider when shopping online for ball dresses to avoid delay and disappointment of your special ball dress in The Ultimate Guide To Ball Dress Shopping Part 3: To Buy Online or In Store? of this guide. You should also consider shopping for the appropriate undergarments to wear with your dress. Check out The Ultimate Guide To Ball Dress Shopping Part 4: Finding The Best Bra For Your Ball Dress.



Start shopping for accessories; shoes, clutch & jewellery

Start shopping around for accessories such as your shoes, clutch bag and jewellery. By shopping early you can possibly bag a bargain here and there where items are offered at sale or special prices during certain days and seasons (depending on your ball date). In general, stores offer sales anywhere between 10-50% off so keep your eyes open to these deals. Same thing applies if you want to buy these items online.


For shoes, it is generally advisable to purchase in store as you can try on the shoes and walk around to see if you are comfortable in them. You can also usually determine a better fit in store than with purchasing online unless the store advises that their sizes run true to size or you have purchased from them before.


Shopping for clutches are relatively easy and there are plenty of shapes and styles of clutch bags to choose from. Determine what kind of shape you are comfortable and like to carry. Do you like the classic rectangular or square boxed shape or do you prefer the oval styles? If you want to go extra fancy, try the irregular shaped clutches. Most of the clutches are embellished with sequins, rhinestones, crystals or faux diamonds or of some similar sort. If your dress already has a lot of these embellishments or is intricate with beading and flashy trimming, it is best to go for a clutch that is more simplistic to let your dress make the statement. On the other hand, if your dress is more minimalist, you can go a bit fancier with your accessories and clutch bag.


The rule of thumb is depending on how detailed your ball dress is, you should accessorize with your jewellery pieces accordingly. If your dress is more on the detailed side with beading work, embellishments with crystals or faux diamonds, it is best to keep your jewellery accessorizing to a minimum. A singular dainty pair of earrings, necklace or bracelet will work nicely to compliment your ball dress. If you have chosen a more minimalistic style dress, you can go for more flashy and statement jewellery pieces. A jewellery set consisting of a matching pair of diamond encrusted drop earrings and necklace is a timeless and very sophisticated choice. Find out more in The Ultimate Guide To Ball Dress Shopping  Part 5: Ball Shoes & Accessories edition of this guide about jewellery and accessorizing.



Take the time to take care of yourself

Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things in preparation for your school ball to ensure you look your absolute best.

Some things to consider is the general health of your hair, nails and skin regime. For example, if you are planning to grow out your hair, have regular trims to ensure your ends are split end free and to promote regular growth. If you want to change your hair color drastically, see and consult a good hair stylist so for their advice. Alternatively, if you are planning on a home hair colour job, it would be best to shop and try the new hair colour out earlier on to avoid any unexpected surprises.

Also if you haven't started already, remember to take good care of your skin by starting with a good facial regime in combination to a sensible and healthy diet. We will discuss more on this in The Ultimate Guide To Ball Dress Shopping  Part 6: Beauty & Makeup.

Purchase your school ball tickets

Purchase your tickets for yourself and your partner (if you plan to bring a date) now.  You will be busy with many things and don't want to forget about buying your tickets!

Book the limo

If you are planning to arrive to your ball venue in a limo, it is a good idea to discuss with your fellow friends about limo hire. Depending on how big your group is, you can start looking around for a limo charter service. What's also popular and could possibly be less expensive is a party hire bus. This is a great option if you have a larger group or just want more space.

Hair & Makeup Looks

Browse online or through magazines for hair and makeup looks you like for your ball night. For hair, consider the style of your ball dress. For example, if your ball dress is a one shoulder dress style, show off the detailing and the asymmetrical style by having your hair up is better and more flattering. A sweetheart or strapless style ball dress looks great if you choose to have your hair up or down. You can even go in between and have a half up and half down style.

Compliment your makeup look with your chosen hairstyle. Will you go for a subtle and natural looking makeup look or go more daring with a bold and darker look? If you're looking to have a professional do your makeup then at this stage, you would just need to book your date with them to ensure their availability for your required date. If you are planning to do your makeup yourself, you can watch and learn from YouTube or online tutorials and practicing your preferred makeup looks. This will give you plenty of time to experiment. We will go into further details with The Ultimate Guide To Ball Dress Shopping Part 6: Beauty, Makeup &Hair.



Your ball date/partner's details

Discuss with your partner about matching tie or vest colours if you decide to go with corresponding colour attire. If your date is hiring a suit or tuxedo, you can accompany him to fittings around this time to avoid any last minute rush.

Also order your partner's boutonniere from your local florist and get the details whether it will be delivered or you to pick up.

Finalize your hair and makeup look

Decide on your final hair and makeup look and have a last practice run on the look and style to ensure you have perfected the techniques and look if you are doing your hair and makeup from home. If you wish, you can also have your ball dress on to see what your hair and makeup will look like with your ball dress. To avoid any accidents to your dress, drape a large waterproof cloth around you or wear a robe over the top of your dress.

Make any alterations to your ball dress if necessary

This marks a time where it would be ideal to make any required changes to your ball dress as there is still some time. For example, if you require alterations to your ball dress, go see a tailor now to allow them adequate time to make the necessary changes to your dress. Generally, ball dresses are made quote long so after you have purchased your shoes, you can determine if you need to have your ball dress's hem to be taken up a bit to avoid tripping over or your dress being dragged on the floor. If you have gained or lost a bit of weight and your ball dress now doesn't fit as well as before, a tailor can also fix this problem for you. By giving them at least a month to do alterations will ensure you have a best fitting dress and make the perfect adjustments. More detail will be discussed about the types of alterations that may be required for your dress in The Ultimate Guide To Ball Dress Shopping Part 3: To Buy Online or In Store?



Get your nails done

The same thing here. If you are planning to get your nails done professionally, keep your eyes peeled a couple of months before your school ball and bag a bargain by purchasing vouchers online to get good prices for nail service and packages.

If you are going to be doing your nails at home, you can leave this task to a day or so before the school ball night to preserve the state of the nail polish.

De-stress and pamper yourself

Pamper yourself and have a home facial or if you’ve got the extra cash, go to the salon. If you keep an eye out on online social sites such as and, you can bag some pretty great deals on facial, massage and pampering packs for under $50! If you purchase these in advance it will ensure you will be able to book the date closer to your school ball night as these offers are highly popular.



Check your date’s boutonniere

You should have already picked up or have had your partner’s boutonniere ready to go and have it sitting in the fridge to preserve the freshness and avoid the flowers from wilting from humidity and warm air.

Lay out your ball dress and accessories

Have your ball dress, shoes, jewellery, clutch and makeup laid out in an easy accessible area for you the following night to avoid the run around.

Relax and unwind

Lastly, remember to take some time for yourself to relax. Read a book, do some light stretches and go to bed early and try to get more sleep to get that radiant glow!

We hope this comprehensive list gives you an overall idea of the ball planning process and will help you prepare for your special ball occasion. Print this guide out and have it somewhere easily accessible to tick off the different stages and have a stress free ball planning few months.

Here at Envious Fashions, we specialize in Perth school ball dresses, jewellery and accessories. Contact us for information on choosing the right ball dress and if you want a dress that has been custom designed and made. We also have beautiful jewellery to compliment your ball dress. We strive to be your one shop stop by providing helpful information on shopping for ball dresses and providing you the convenience of shopping directly with us.

Stay tuned for our upcoming guides of The Ultimate Guide To Ball Dress Shopping which will cover each stage in more detail and give you the best recommendations of shopping tips and styles.


Stay tuned lovelies!



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