You don’t need a dress to impress


Capes as Cover Ups

In heavier, more luxurious fabrics the cape trend can adapt to be the perfect cover up for ball season! The beautiful and unpredictable British weather means that Oxford can remain chilly in the evenings even during summer ball season. So, a warm cover up is a crucial yet often overlooked garment. This white ‘collarless cape blazer’ synthesis by Lavish Alice (£54) is a potent and fresh take on the formal cape. White may seem terrifying (oh the many hypothetical stains!) but it is infinitely rewarding in its potential pairing with any colour and its striking appearance would be well worth the required caution. This look exemplifies the beauty of the formal cape: it has the capacity to look endlessly chic without being ageing due to its unique combination of structure and playfulness.

This Jayley Silk Fringed Cape (£55) is a lighter and slightly less bold option. The loose fit in a less insulating fabric makes it very comfortable, (albeit less cosy) and excellent for layering. Its delicate lace and fringing detail are right on trend and can add a bohemian vibe to any ball outfit. The biggest pro about this cape is its versatility. It can be paired with any casual daytime spring or summer outfit so won’t need to be stowed at the back of your wardrobe like your ball dress probably will – heaven forbid outfit repeating!


Jumpsuits are an elegant substitute for the traditional ball look if you’re looking for a more structured silhouette that sometimes cannot be found in a maxi dress. Take this ‘wink cut out jumpsuit’ in cream (£150, aqaq). Worn with a chunky gold belt it brings extra attention to the waist combined with the bold structures around the chest. The straight-legged style elongates the body in a way that a maxi dress may not do, so if you are wanting to draw emphasis to your legs, then a jumpsuit might be the way to go! This particular jumpsuit could be worn with hair tied back and platform heels as the model does in the photo to create a really fierce, edgy ball look.

Equally, if long and flowing maxi dresses aren’t really your thing and you’re looking for a more down-stated, yet still formal, ball look, then a jumpsuit such as this one from Y.A.S. (ASOS, £80) might be for you. The slouched detailing at the back gives off a more chilled vibe whilst the silk material and fluent tailoring keeps it ball-suitable. Again, this jumpsuit illustrates the silhouette in a way that cannot often be found in a ball dress by drawing in at the waist and loosely following the form of the body and the legs, creating an effortlessly graceful look.




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