The 600th Finale Ball on 30 November is no ordinary event – in fact, this is the first and only 600th anniversary ball that St Andrews students will be able to attend. With the theme of vintage black tie, 600th is sure to be a glamorous night, but with no previous years to analyse, determining what to wear could be a difficult task. Upon investigation however, The Saint managed to uncover many creative fashion options that coincide with the event’s theme.
While a suit and bow tie will suffice for men, more creative guys can look towards the men of Downton Abbey and Mad Men to get into character. 600th is the time to don a waistcoat or a top hat, two items among the wide range of vintage staples for men. For women, the vintage looks can be far more adventurous, allowing girls to go back in fashion history, unearthing trends from the past. According to the Fellowship’s head of press, students are recommended to sport pearls, deep V’s and, contrary to most vintage dresses, lots of leg. For those that love vintage, investing in a beaded dress just might be worth it. Even though vintage clothes have a tendency to look dowdy, a trip to the tailor is surprisingly inexpensive, and will provide one with a dress that is figure flattering and on theme.
Within the wide scope that constitutes ‘vintage’, the decade that will most likely prevail at 600th is the roaring 20s. This trend has also transitioned to the runway, with designers like Herver Leger, Roberto Cavalli, and Pinko wholeheartedly embracing the 20s in their A/W 2013 shows. For a slightly more attainable price, designers such as Alice and Olivia and BCBG provide great vintage-inspired options. At the lower end, more affordable brands such as H&M and Topshop also provide fun, 20s-inspired clutches and accessories. Investing in a nice dress should be considered essential however, considering the multitude of formal events here in St Andrews.
While most people will tend to go for the 20s look, there’s no reason to exclude other glamorous eras such as the 40s and 50s, which included stylish actresses such as Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. While Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn advocate sexier body-con dresses, Grace Kelly embraced the princess dress style with puffier skirts. Dior, Alexander McQueen and Red Valentino are designers that display great examples of ladylike 40s and 50s fashion, but these looks can be easily replicated locally at H&M and Jack Wills.
In addition to looking back through the eras, The Saint has also provided pictures from a photo shoot with St Andrews students. In these photos, we have models posing in different vintage-inspired outfits. Stephanie Irwin boasts a gold, 20s-style gown and a velvet maroon low-back dress inspired by old Hollywood glamour. Sophia Mitchell, on the other hand, contrasts Stephanie’s demure looks with a deep V-neck number. Meanwhile, I am wearing a 50s-inspired Jack Wills dress and a little black dress. The black dress has a lace back, which draws on trends from the 50s – and which has remained popular ever since the lace craze caused by Grace Kelly’s wedding dress.
For the men, Matthew Tait is taking after Carey Grant with an effortless black suit and bowtie. Meanwhile, Luke Masters takes the British 1920s approach by wearing a cummerbund.
Ultimately, students should wear whatever makes them feel fabulous and glamorous – just as other students have done in years gone by. Looking to history, however, is a fantastic way to gain inspiration for one’s 600th Finale Ball look. And after all, since the 600th Ball is celebrating six centuries of St Andrews excellence, you should wear something that makes you feel excellent too.
View more photos from our 600th Finale Ball shoot in the gallery below. Models are Matthew Tait, Ariana Brighenti, Sophia Mitchell, Luke Masters and Stephanie Irwin. Photos by Haley Myers.