6. Wear something comfortable and hot.
Yes, comfort is key when you’re planning on dancing the night away, but at the same time, formals are referred to as such because they are, umm… formal? Instead of the usual “going-out” attire that incorporates some sort of dellecotage-baring shirt and platform wedges (or flats, if your party setting lends itself to particularly sticky floors), we’re invited to go all out for formals. Swap your usual digs for a clubby party dress, more dramatic makeup and borderline-ridiculous heels. But before the night begins, make sure you’ll be able to walk, stand and dance in them without feeling like your feet are about to fall off. Dresses that ride up (or fall down) and blister-inducing footwear aren’t conducive to formal night. Choose an outfit that looks great, but feels good too.
7. Appreciate the DJ’s crappy mixes (read: iTunes Top 20 Hits) for what they are, and just dance.
It might feel like you’re attending your youngest cousin’s Bat Mitzvah, but because grandma and grandpa aren’t on the guest list, you can allow yourself to demonstrate some of your sweetest dance moves. There’s no denying that teeny-bopper tunes are the best to sing along to (and don’t forget about the 80s/90s staples), and there’s no question you won’t be the only one with outrageous dance moves.
8. Control your PDA.
DFMO’s (Dance Floor Make-Outs) are ubiquitous at formals, and it’s okay to indulge in a few kisses from time to time, but those sloppy grinding/make-out sessions are just not okay. They call (negative) attention and tons of camera flashes, whether you’re lucid enough to realize it or not.
9. Bring a camera, or have a designated photographer, so that you can actually remember the night.
Nothing’s worse than waking up the next day to find you have three pictures of you and a few girls lined up and two more of just you and your date, and your eyes are closed in one of them and you look awkward in the other. Make sure you document the entire night in all its craziness – from the pre-game to the post-party. Just make sure you keep the sloppy pics off of Facebook.
10. Figure out a flattering picture-pose beforehand, so that you can manage to actually look good in these pictures.
Come on, we obviously all want a new profile picture to come out of these events. The second you see someone reach for a camera, you should know which side you want to be on, which way your hair should fall, and precisely how bent one knee should be. A few minutes in the mirror should be all you need to figure it out. No one will know you worked on it until you change your profile picture approximately 3 minutes after the photo has been added to Facebook.
11. ONLY hook up with your own date.
This one should be obvious, but for some reason, this rule is not always obeyed. If halfway through the formal you and a guy realize that your dates might be “better off” without you and decide to go get lost yourselves, prepare for a dramatic showdown. At least wait it out for one night and avoid unnecessary drama over an unwarranted hookup.
While preparing for a formal can be exciting/stressful depending on how you approach it, the whole idea is, of course, to just have fun with your friends. Formals are the best way to end the semester by getting our minds off of papers and tests – after all, partying tends to be thing that college students, above all, do best. The Facebook albums don’t hurt much either when we’re cooped up in the stacks with nothing better to do than reflect on who wore what, who went with him, and who had the worst date ever.