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What to Wear

When it comes to occasion wear, it can be a real challenge finding an outfit that is not only right for you, but right for the event. Strict dress codes and formal traditions can be really confining, forcing you to buy something that doesn’t truly reflect your unique style, which will inevitably spend the remainder of its life hanging in the back of your wardrobe before being sold on eBay or donated to a charity shop. Here’s where I come in!

I want to help all of you guys and girls to find an outfit for the Christ Church Summer Ball that will not only make you feel like a million dollars on the night, but that you can wear time and time again. As an extra helping hand, I’ve sourced all of the outfits below from retailers who accept student discount, helping you to save some pennies before summer.


Us girls are so lucky when it comes to occasion dressing, as we are truly spoilt for choice. Our go-to look tends to be a dress, and why shouldn’t it be when there are so many fabulous styles available to suit everyone perfectly?! With regards to high street shopping, you cannot beat Quiz for absolutely stunning occasion wear, not to mention their 15% student discount!

Quiz offers hundreds of evening and party dresses in every style and colour imaginable, like this utterly stunning fishtail dress, which would surely make you the belle of the ball! Click here to shop this look.

If you don’t mind the risk of buying online, Chi Chi London is the ultimate website for beautiful occasion dresses. With a great selection in their plus size, tall and petite ranges, not to mention their vast array of styles, there really is something for everyone. The dresses available at Chi Chi London manage to combine elegance and sophistication with an element of fun, making them perfect for an event like the Summer Ball. Thanks to the 15% student discount available, you could also take the opportunity to grab yourself some matching Chi Chi London accessories while you’re at it!  Click here to shop this look.

Having said this, dresses aren’t for everyone, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with exploring alternative options if you don’t think dresses are for you, despite dress codes. You should never feel inclined to wear something: it is so important to wear what you feel comfortable in, and what you think really reflects your individual style. Jumpsuits are a great option, as they offer the same formality as dresses with an added element of practicality, especially if the weather isn’t as great as expected, which is typical of the British summertime! They, too, are available in a huge variety of styles, colours and fabrics, like this one from New Look, who incidentally offers 10% student discount throughout the year. Click here to shop this look.

Last but certainly not least, it is equally important to consider your shoes and accessories for events like the summer ball, as it is these elements of your outfit that can make the difference between feeling warm and comfortable, or cold and miserable. Whilst keeping your fingers crossed that the weather is warm and dry, it is important to prepare for all eventualities if this is not the case.

Firstly, footwear! The ball this year is being held on the grounds of the former Canterbury Prison, meaning it will be largely held on tarmac rather than grass. This may tempt you to make the most of not sinking into the grass by donning a pair of killer heels, however, as an attendee of the Summer Ball, you may be largely on your feet for up to seven hours, so it essential to consider what shoes are going to keep you comfy.

This brings me nicely onto the next matter of bags. I would highly recommend taking a bag to the ball; it simply makes life a lot easier. For events like the Summer Ball, clutch bags are the way forward, with many gorgeous options available at high street retailers like Primark. My top tip is to find a clutch bag that is roughly A4 size, meaning you can slip in some flat shoes or flip flops for later in the evening when you just want to be comfortable. Finally, despite being early June, the weather may take a turn for the worse, so it’s a great idea to bring a jacket with you. Most dresses will be complemented by a leather jacket, blazer or a simple wrap. Items like these will enable you to continue partying long into the night!


In comparison to the sizeable selection of options available to women when it comes to occasion dressing, guys can sometimes feel that they have been sold short, with suits and dinner jackets being the only real option. However, you can still be just as creative as the ladies, with many different colours, styles and fabrics on offer, making each and every suit appear completely different and unique.

Whilst black remains the classic, timeless option, an event like the summer ball can be a great opportunity for guys to be creative with fashion, and think outside the box of what they would usually wear. Don’t feel inclined to wear the suit you had to buy for that family wedding last year: this is your chance to express your unique style without having to conform to other people’s colour schemes. Consider these options of a pale blue or pink suit, both made by River Island but available on, which offers students 10% off! These will guarantee you stand out from the crowd of blacks and greys.

To shop these looks, go to here and here.

Shoes are also vitally important to take into consideration, as the wrong shoes with a great suit can really throw off the entire outfit. Brogues and loafers are your best bet for looking smart and stylish, but the colour is where it can get really confusing! The rule of thumb tends to be that with a black or grey suit, black shoes are really the only option. When it comes to navy suits, brown can be a great match, as can burgundy if you’re not afraid to think creatively. If you’re donning a cream or beige suit, brown shoes are the way forward, which would be a great combination for the summer ball, like these faux suede brogues available from Topman. High street retailers like New Look and Burton have a great selection available, both offering 10% off for students.

While you may be tempted to save your shoes for the big day, ensuring they are pristine for the occasion, my top tip would be to break them in before the ball, even if this means wearing them around the house for the few days prior to the event. You really don’t want to be worrying about your shoes rubbing when you’re trying to have a good time, so breaking them in beforehand will help you to stay comfortable throughout the night. I’d recommend popping some plasters in your suit pocket, just in case!   Click here to shop this look.

Finally, you can really enhance an outfit by adding some accessories, making your outfit appear completely unique. For suits, aside from the obvious tie, consider adding a pocket square for that something extra, or opt for a bow tie over the conventional tie. This can really make your look stand out as distinct and exclusive to you, particularly if someone else is wearing the same suit: these little extras will make the two ensembles seem completely different. Aside from additions to the suit, supplementing your outfit with extras like sunglasses can also really make a difference. Topman has a great selection of accessories available, and, as previously mentioned, offers 10% off for students, so you can stock up on more for less.

To shop these looks, go to here, here, or here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article: I really hope there are some useful pointers that you can take away from this to help you get ready for the summer ball. As a general side note for everyone, remember that there will be a cloakroom available to use at the Summer Ball, with all proceeds made from this going to charity. Remember to wear what you feel comfortable in, as this will ensure you have the best night possible.

I hope you all have a fantastic time! - Elise Harvey