With ball season upon us, Kieran Murphy provides some alternatives to the traditional attire.

Ball season is coming up again and we’ll be inundated with posters and flyers for every ball from Science to Swing. Women everywhere will be pulling out their debs dresses and guys will be borrowing suits off fathers and uncles, but I implore you to stop.

UCD balls are times to make a splash and your old debs dress or ill-fitting suit just won’t cut it anymore. With vintage stores offering high-quality clothing at a fair price and shops like Coast and New Look offering a ten per cent student discount, there has never been a better excuse to splash out.

There’s no need to stick to the expected when a ball comes around either. Trawling through vintage shops can bring some great rewards, such as the long Grecian goddess dress that moves beautifully when in action.

If you’re still wary of vintage, shops like Coast offer great vintage-inspired pieces, such as the white lace shift dress or the pleated dress reminiscent of 1920s flappers. For footwear, look no further than neutral browns and creams. The days of statement shoes are over and people should be gazing at your amazing dress, not your painstakingly high shoes. However, you can compensate by having some standout jewellery.

Guys may be expected to rent out full suits for a ball, but is there any need? We all know that the bow tie will be wrapped around a girl’s neck and the jacket will be sitting in a puddle somewhere by the end of the night. Take the pain out of getting your deposit back and opt for a pair of quality shoes, a tailored suit pants and a slick shirt. That’s all you need to make an impression. However, if you feel bare without the full get-up, feel free to throw in a waistcoat or silver bow tie to smarten yourself up.


Stylist: Kieran Murphy

Photographer: Aisling Twomey

Models: Jo Linehan, Anthony Hennesey and Audrey Dearing

Jo wears:

Necklace – €52 Coast

White Lace Dress – €175 Coast

Blue Pleat Dress – €195 Coast

White Shoes – €29.99 New Look

Brown Shoes – €32.99 New Look

Anthony wears:

Shirt – €14.99 New Look

Pants – €18.99 New Look

Shoes – €24.99 New Look

Belt – €6.99 Vintage

Audrey wears:

White Dress: €75.00 Vintage

Vintage provided by Mercury Goes Retrograde, Cork


Location courtesy of The Gresham Metropole Hotel, Cork