June 5th, 2016 at 2:00am

There are a ton of do’s and don’ts pertaining to formal attire. Here’s the thing about college formals: more times than not, they are not actually full on formals. Perhaps semi-formal would be a more fitting term. It is a chance for you to dress up with your friends, grab a date and take some seriously Insta-worthy pictures before embarking on an insanely fun night. This Fashionista keeps it classy and fabulous in a simple J.Crew dress perfect for a formal event.

Because formal dress codes are not always clearly stated, your best bet is to do a bit of research to avoid any embarrassing misunderstandings regarding your outfit. You could either stalk upperclassmen’s’ Facebook pages for pictures from past years in search of inspiration or more simply, just ask the event planner or whoever is in charge. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This should give you a basic idea of whether you should be wearing a floor-length gown, a tight fitting mini or something in between. As much work as this seems, it is much better than showing up to a party in a gown when everyone else is in jeans. (Cue Elle Wood’s costume party catastrophe).

So you’ve figured out that this formal calls for an elegant, short dress. This means that the skirt of your dress should be a bit looser than your typical night out mini. It also means that your dress should be an appropriate length, preferably falling below your fingertips and above your knees. As for footwear, it’s all about what you are most comfortable in. Remember you are going to be dancing around for most of the night, so you want your shoes to be just as comfortable and functional as they are cute. What good is a pair of shoes you can’t walk in, right? If you’re not really a high-heel loving girl, I would recommend trying out a pair of wedges. They give you a good amount of support without having to sacrifice the height.

Don’t forget that styling makes all the difference. When it comes to hair, an elaborate up do screams prom queen, but soft curls or a sleek pony is much more formal-ready. Minimal jewelry keeps your outfit looking chic and smart, while a bold statement necklace adds dimension to the look.

One Simple Change: Weary about spending your hard earned money on a dress you’ll only wear once? Fear not! A short formal dress can easily be re-styled and re-worn. Add a comfy button-up cardigan and switch out the heels for flats to take this look to a more casual setting like a date night.