Kamilla Rekvényi reviews the fashion of May Ball and shares her own thoughts on the sartorial struggles faced by all St Andrews students. 


Writing a fashion review in a foreign language as a Science student? It is hard. But compared to deciding what to wear for May Ball? Piece of cake.

When it turned out two days before the event that I was going to write the fashion review on May Ball, I have to admit that I panicked. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to wear! And this, especially for May Ball, the last chance to present your style and make a memorable appearance outside the cold and depressing vibes of the library this academic year, is truly a disaster.

Weeks before the impending Kate Kennedy Charity May Ball, a new topic of conversation appeared: the outfit. Long dress or short dress? Tie or bow tie? The typical St Andrews conversation is heightened by everybody’s opinion on how formal the event is going to be and how all attendants should dress.

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On the 1st of May, Kinkell Byre was glowing – the red and gold colours in the decoration, appeared as stripes in the ties of the members of the Kate Kennedy Club. It perfectly represented the organisers and their matching colours emphasised the superiority of the event. 

The question arose: how to find the perfect clothes to wear for May Ball? The following factors needed to be taken into account.
Firstly, the dress code, which is black tie. May Ball counts as one of the most formal occasions in the academic calendar. This can be illustrated by numbers: 88% of the females were wearing long dresses and 83% of the males were wearing a bow tie.
Secondly, it is a night with dancing for hours, so comfortable shoes would be the ideal solution. Eventually, however, the choice tends to be an elegant, formal shoe – therefore by 1am many girls were dancing barefoot and quiet complaints were whispered everywhere, even by some of the male attendees. 13116163_1318703688156085_5552816901704062647_oAnother very unique feature of the May Ball are the rides, which brings me to the third factor: all the excitement and movement it requires could ruin the carefully chosen wardrobe.
Furthermore, the temperature is important, as we try to find the balance of not being either cold or warm in any part of the venue. The outside temperature was a reasonably warm 13°C, and inside it was over 20°C. This factor influenced choice of clothes yet was the perfect excuse to don a fashionable throw or coat for the windswept photo opportunity.   

The rapid approach of the summer was portrayed by the colourful crowd. Only 32% were wearing a classic black dress, whereas 50% were wearing light colours, a perfect combination of spring and summer. 18%, meanwhile, dared to wear a warming red.

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The money spent on the outfits ranged from 30 pounds to 300 pounds, and most of them were not worn before to any other event in St Andrews. 

Lastly, the impact of different traditions in this time of the year were also highlighted by the attire. Those who ran into the North Sea at dawn tended to wear less formal clothes and most of them only decided on their outfits a day or two before. On the other hand, many others have had their outfits ready for the past few months.

All in all, the wide variety of outfits revealed a diverse, colourful company and seeing the outcome of the surveys confirmed that the outfit finding challenge does exist. I wish the best of luck for everybody in the years to come to accomplish it just as brilliantly as the guests of The Kate Kennedy Charity May Ball this year.

Kamilla Rekvényi