Birthday Ball fashion: an obstacle for some students

By Mikayla Silcox

Elm Staff Writer

Birthday Ball is just around the corner, and the queen’s ball theme offers an opportunity for students to try different and elabortate outfits that fit the theme.

While a dainty periwinkle dress with a pair of white gloves to match Daphne Bridgerton’s or a charming suit like the Duke of Hastings may serve as the inspiration for students’ look-book, other students have to be a little more innovative in their choices of wardrobe this weekend.

A few factors may affect students who are trying to match the Regency theme. The set-up of fashion and sales that cater towards outdated beauty standards may deter students from finding the perfect outfit.

Gender non-conforming and plus sized students must work extra hard to find an outfit they fit and feel comfortable in. Despite this, the payoff of these students’ extra effort for an outfit that provides confidence is worth it, and they end up looking amazing in looks that are both unique and highlight the individual.

Freshman Jaya Basu looks at the apparent obstacles of the overly gendered outfits that come alongside a royal ball and sees the potential for creativity.

“Formal wear tends to be way more gendered than casual wear. That said, having a very gendered aspect of a theme can make it fun for students to mix and match extreme masculine styles with extreme feminine,” Basu said.

A promising aspect about gender non-conforming outfits is the capacity for never-before-seen looks that come with the personal triumph of making two seemingly unlike garments work together and the existence of a look that no one else around you will have.

“I saw someone online sewed an outfit with a tuxedo top and jacket with tails on top and a skirt on the bottom,” Basu said.

No one should feel intimidated in a gender-blended outfit. These outfits might be some of the most impressive of the night, and Washington College is full of students who will recognize that.

“Find friends who are going to hype up your suit, jacket, and heels. You deserve to feel pretty or handsome just like everyone else at a formal event, and you’ve just got to make that space for yourself,” sophomore Evan Merk said.

In terms of plus-sized fashion, a DIY route may not always be the solution.

The fashion industry has left plus-sized consumers with limited options: either overpaying for a one-time wear dress or being left with “an outfit that makes us look like we are 45 year-old moms of 2…at a relative’s wedding,” sophomore Miranda Forney said.

“I do think that the theme made it difficult for people to find outfits that they fit in and that fit the theme,” Forney said.

While cute plus-size inclusive brands like Eloquii or ASOS sell a variety of attire fit for a queen’s ball, they come at a steep price.

Luckily, Forney found a cute dress at Lulu’s, a brand that has extended their range and inclusivity of fashion, while not breaking the bank.

While the lack of inclusivity in stores for inexpensive formal wear is its own issue, there is thankfully a slow rise in stores that can dress students in attire that make them feel comfortable and looking their best.

Unfortunately, students are in school and many do not have access to shopping centers, where they are able to try on outfits and make sure the clothes fit them right, especially because cheap plus size fashion rarely indicates good quality.

Some students unfairly have to put more effort in when it comes to an outfit that best suits them, but the problem lies in the greater fashion industry and its slower than desired evolution.

Despite these problems, it is evident that students, regardless of what challenges they face, will be showing up to the royal ball in style.

While gender non-conforming and plus-sized students may face issues in terms of dance-wear that other students do not have to even think about, these students manage to go above and beyond and have worked hard to come up with outfits worthy of a royal ball.

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