Ball season may not be kicking off in earnest until Trinity but every savvy fashionista worth her Louboutins knows that you need to hunt down that all-important dress before the covetable ones become extinct and you’re stranded in a fashion desert with the vultures of bridesmaid frumpery and drag queen bling circling ever closer. The metaphor may be extreme but if I see one more shapeless lilac silk sack-clad maid of honour or wannabe Strictly contestant across a moonlit quad then I am going to commit fashion suicide.

With a little help from your fairy godmother here at Cherwell you are going to look and feel fabulous on your special night (without having to secretly remortgage your parents’ house for some Dior couture). I am going to show you how to rock the single hardest item of clothing to get right, the floor length gown. Compulsary wear for those of you lucky enough to have begged, borrowed or stolen tickets to the white tie Commemoration Ball, and a real style statement for any black tie event, the perfect dress can have a truly transformative effect and elevate your style to the A list.

You shall go to the ball!

Elita One Shoulder Maxi Dress, £150, Coast
The draping cleverly cinches in your waist in this figure-flattering asymmetric design.


Diamante Hoop Split Front Maxi Dress £45,
Try this Asos gown for an astonishingly inexpensive alternative that also comes in coral and an incredible shade of teal.


Reagan Swarovski Maxi Dress, £209 (was £310),

Still on the asymmetric theme but with a Grecian twist, this dress is a real summer show-stealer. Gorgeous Couture is an undiscovered goldmine (or rather Swarovski crystal mine) of red carpet-worthy dresses. Handy videos mean that you can see how a dress fits and moves when you walk, purchases arrive in luxe packaging to make your shopping experience just that bit more special, and they have a free couture customising service so if you love a dress but fancy it in a different shade or with extra bling, they’ll make your gown truly unique.



I will be wearing the Bosworth Maxi dress, £189 down from £299, Gorgeous Couture

French Connection plait front maxi dress, £110,
Feeling this season’s obsession with all things utility? Unleash your inner urban goddess.


T Bags Halter-neck jersey maxi dress, £195,
Think is beyond your budget? They have some highly affordable pieces like this simple yet stunning dress by T Bags- glam it up with some fabulous statement accessories. Their outlet site,, is definitely worth a look for you avid designer bargain-hunters. 



Allepo maxi dress, £180, Monsoon.
Give a nod to the trend for burnished metallics, stunning with a tan if the sun smiles on us this Trinity!


Now you have the dress – just the shoes, bag and earrings to go. NB: we do not recommend glass slippers.