School Ball

Reporter: Jasmine Homer

The dress, the hair, the tan, the entrance.

Now, more than ever with school balls, the pressure's on to pull it all off perfectly... and for Mums and Dads that means a price tag of around a thousand dollars.

"A lot of ladies are looking for a beautiful formal gown and also something that is stunning to wear to the after party."

Klare Malkeiwycz runs Ruth Tarvydas in the city.

"Jasmine this stunning gown is part of our coutour range, it retails at $1658, we have recently sold this to a young lady for her school formal. She also did purchase another from our range, the Beyond Paradise dress, for her after party. And how much did that cost? $1120. So more than two thousand five hundred dollars on two dresses for the ball night.."

"If they've got the money and that's what they want to do then who's to say that they can't do it but the dress is just one component. They've got the ticket, the transport there so before they even start, they're spending between 160 and 230 dollars just to buy their ticket and get to the ball." Kylie Christie has three daughters so she's a Mum who knows how to do balls on a budget. She's even set up a website for parents and teenagers. "Your school ball doesn't have to cost a fortune."

So ... for some advice ... we went to her and Willeton High School students, Alison, Kashaca and Ashley; three girls who capped their spending on the big night to $500 each.

Here are their top tips.

Tip 1

Call around at some hair dressing salons and ask if they do school ball specials.

At salons we checked, school ball "up do's" cost as little as 60 dollars.

Tip 2

If you know someone who sews you can always get them to make your dress.

Tip 3

One option is to get a makeup artist to come to your house and often they can do three or more girls' make up and they'll offer you a discount.

Tip 4

Often if you go to make up counters the amount you pay is redemable on product so you get a good deal there.

Tip 5

If you're getting corsages with your date, a lot of florists do two for 35 deals

Tip 6

Sometimes you can go an look on the Internet and there's so many, there's such a big range of dresses there and a big range of prices too so you can look for the budget you want.

But that tip comes with a warning, Kylie Christie says "I've in the last few weeks have had some really bad stories of some girls who have gone and thinking they're getting a really cheap dress have purchased over the Internet, coming from China and overseas and the photos that have been on the Internet and online of what they're purchasing when the dress has arrived it's nowhere near the fabric's supposed to have been chiffon and it's satin. Other girls their dresses aren't arriving until weeks or months after their ball."

Kylie says - hire a dress ... or buy one that's only been worn once before and you could pay less than half the original price.

"It's a great way to buy and sell a gown." Helen Taylor stocks recycled ball gowns at her Mount Pleasant boutique "Devoted". "About four years ago I realised there was a market for second hand gowns."

"Are you getting a lot of girls in looking for ball dresses? Absolutely. Absolutely. Mothers are on a budget, girls like to think they can spend it all but mothers generally say this a budget and it's achievable in recycled gowns."

This Dana Mathers number is in perfect nick....This would have sold for around $600 you can buy this now for 270. This is another example this is this years Gerry Shaw, it's been worn once to a function. Retails for about 590 - once again 290. That's great. "

Kylie Christie says "If you're wanting to buy new the best times, December through to April, a lot of ball dress shops have sales, they will discount their previous year's stock quite considerably, but they do quite often offer a 10 per cent or 15 per cent discount on their current year stock."

It seems the sky's the limit with school balls these days but Kylie says - set a budget before the spending starts and you'll keep costs from spiralling out of control. "There's so many items that you're going to be purchasing for the ball, and you're doing them all at different times so you think oh it's only 100 dollars it's only 200 dollars but without having that budget there you're not seeing the whole picture of what the whole evening will cost."

Further Details

Devoted Designs

38 Moolyeen Road

Mt Pleasant WA 6153

(08) 9315 3077