Entertainment Style The trials and tribulations of school formal shopping

The trials and tribulations of school formal shopping

School formal
Dancing outside and social distancing will be features of this year's high school formals in NSW. Photo: AAP
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School formal season is upon us.

I would like to take this moment to salute mothers everywhere who are currently standing in the change rooms of Topshop pleading “how does it look?” to teenagers who are reluctant to open the change room door.

Boys especially can be so weird to shop with. Often, they grab something off the rack and go, “Gee, this is nice,” and put it on in the middle of the store over their clothes.

Conversely they go into the fitting room and make non-committal grunting noises as you desperately ask, “Does it fit, do they look good?”.

Then they come out and say, “No, let’s go,” without even showing you.

Every time I suggest one of my twin sons try something on, he goes into the change room, takes a photo on his phone and sends it to his brother for approval, who is literally waiting on the other side of the door.

They look around the sales floor once, and then go from half interested to completely impatient without the fun part in between where you excitedly peruse stuff like girls do.

Then you’re left buried under a pile of discarded suggestions while they walk out and make plans for the weekend.

Thank goodness for the high street stores like Topman, H&M, Cos and Zara Man for finally providing brilliant on-trend suits at affordable price points.

For so many years, the formal option for young guys was either a borrowed suit, or a “hire”. This service still exists much to my surprise. And horror.

I don’t even want to imagine (actually I have some idea) what the previous wearers got up to in their rent-a-tux.

The fits were always a disaster, baggy jackets and boxy pants that pooled over the soon-to-be-retired school shoes.

Sandy and Danny from Grease lived in simpler times.

The new super slim line silhouette for $250 is such a vast improvement, the only potential hurdle being the exposed ankle/no socks conundrum which takes a little time to work out.

I don’t have girls, so I never had the pleasure of taking a daughter formal shopping. I certainly would have loved to have that experience but then I think about my reaction when the girls showed up at the twins’ formal.

“Aren’t you going to be cold?” I asked every girl who walked past trying to pull her stretch dress down over her backside, three years ago when huge platforms and spray on dresses were still a thing.

“You won’t be able to walk in those on the cruise,” I would add helpfully.

“Gee, you’d look so much better without all that makeup, your skin is beautiful under there. Yuck what’s that acrid smell? Eeew spray tan, I hate spray tan.”

Corsages are the least of your concern. Photo: AAP

I kept on and on, your basic nightmare, ruining my sons’ chances of any future dates.

Now that prettier and more elegant formal wear for girls has actually come back in style, such as long floral high neck dresses, lower heeled sandals, sleek jumpsuits and off-the-shoulder dresses and tops, my work is done.

Although I might do have to do some quick spot checks on the corsages. Baby’s Breath is actually back.

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