All grown up: How much has your style changed between prom and summer ball?


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There was a time when prom was the height of fashion. You slathered on the Sunshimmer, painstakingly executed a head of GHD curls and pretended not to notice when your skin’s orange glitter hue bled onto your princess gown halfway through the night.

But you’ve been on a style journey since then. Look at your summer ball eleganza – you’ve changed.

Charlie Shepherd, English Lit second year at Sheffield

At high school and college proms

“For my year 11 prom it was all about being girly, so I went for floral patterns and summery colours. I loved my year 11 prom dress at the time but would never wear it now.

“For Year 13 I had started to want to look more sophisticated, so dressed in dark colours with sequins. I think I’ve taken this even further since, wearing my lace trimmed long black dress with a blazer over the top, that I bought from I don’t think style should break the bank either with two of my dresses only costing £10.”

Megan Lawrence, Maths first year at Leeds

At prom


“At school I was more into sparkles and frills whereas now I’m at university I prefer more simple and elegant dresses.”

Faith Tombs, History first year at Nottingham

“The problem with high school proms is that your dress is treated like such a big deal. At prom I didn’t really feel how I dressed really reflected ‘me’ at all, I felt I had to fit my style to what everyone else was wearing, whereas at university I’m a lot more free.

“I wear much bolder colours and went for a daring shorter hair cut and I feel my formal style now really reflects who I am and not merely what the girls around me are wearing.”

Lauren Tong, Biomed second year at Sheffield

“As an international student I finished my secondary education in Hong Kong where the style of graduation balls is largely different from the high school and college proms in the UK. Back at my college black was the prevalent colour so I decided to go for an all-black outfit. It didn’t feel as glamorous as my university dress but we tended to dress as casual as possible for our graduation ball (standing out from the unspoken dress-code wasn’t a good idea).

“Two years later at my bio med society ball I decided to dress in whatever I wanted, I chose a purple velvet dress I’d owned for a while. I felt more confident and happy with how I looked. I loved the freedom to wear different styles, but it was still formal enough for the event.”

Sophie Collins, Photography first year at Falmouth

(Left) Sophie at her prom, and at med formals

“I don’t actually think that my style has changed that much since prom compared to what I wear now in uni, but I guess the main difference would be the formality. I find uni a lot more casual and laid back, but that might be because the casual dress code reflects the easygoing life in Falmouth. It’s quite useful as I find heels the most painful things in the world. They make me walk like a man who needs the toilet.”

Ashleigh Ward, Dance second year at Chester

Ashleigh at prom

And now

“We haven’t had many formals this year but studying at Chester there is always a chance to glam up for ladies day at the race course. My style now is very different and I opt for for florals over block colours”

Georgia Hoban, Fashiom Communication at Liverpool John Moores

At school prom

Georgie at uni

“Being a fashion student means that I get to be more creative with my style because I know what’s on trend. At prom I was into longer maxi style dresses but now I’m into all sorts of fun lengths and designs.”

Emily Parker, Medicine third year at Glasgow

(left) Emily at her high school prom (right) a party mad Medic

“As a Med student you get to go to a lot of formals and it is a great chance to really develop your style as the years go on. I think you tend to go for dark colours and a more sultry style once at uni.”

Hannah Scotson, Performing Arts third year at Cumbria

(Left) Hannah at her prom and uni ball (right)

“I think my style formally is less flamboyant and more mature.”