What’s in a Ball Outfit?

By Brittany Asplin

Can you afford going all out for the Guild Ball? Lifestyle Editor, Brittany Asplin, does all the hard calculations for us.

Illustration by Sharmaine Adaza

Illustration by Sharmaine Adaza

On the 22nd of September the Guild hosted their annual ball, a 1920s Great Gatsby inspired ball. It is the Guild's flagship event this year and with no beginning or end of semester parties, all of the Guild's hopes and dreams hang on this ball being the bomb. I love a good party, especially a dress up party. I never go half-assed either, I go to the absolute extreme from my shoes, to my nails and false eyelashes to be the most fabulous I can be.

Going to a ball could be a pretty expensive night out for a lower class struggling Arts student. Spending $100 for an individual ticket, or $90 per person for a table of ten, isn’t overly cheap. Most uni students like myself will be saving as much money as they can for more important stuff like grog, food and rent (in that order); and a hundred bucks shouldn't be spent so light-heartedly.  So, I took it upon myself to add up how much it would cost me to go to the Guild Ball, for hair, make-up, costume and jewellery hire. Let's start with the make-up.



Not to brag or anything, but I am a make-up artist myself, and I am more likely to Google 1920s classic make-up looks instead of finding a make-up artist to do it for me. If needed, I will buy make-up products to complete the look. But if you don't know what you're doing or where to start, you may decide to go to a make-up artist. It's difficult to decide whether to have your make-up done by an artist employed by a make-up house or to go with the freelancers; and oddly enough the price comparison is not that different. Most make-up houses will have a 45-minute make-up application with redeemable products within the price. These 45-minute sessions tend to range from $60 to $150, depending if you go with extra time with your artist or if you decide to go with a high-end brand like Dior or Lancôme. Freelancers are just as good as any make-up house but prefer being their own boss. The money you spend goes into the cost of their make-up products, cleaning their products and (if they are mobile) petrol too.  But with all this, freelancers manage to keep their prices in close competition to make-up houses; $65 to $150 for 45 minutes or more. So, to give a rough estimate, let’s go with an average of $90 for make-up.

Price check: $90



Now when you get your costume you may also get a wig; but just in case you don't get a wig, you may need to get your hair done. Like the make-up artist, you can go to a freelancer or to an employed hairdresser. You'll often find, too, some freelance make-up artists can do your hair as well, and they may be able to do you a deal if you get both hair and make-up done for the night. But in case you don't, once again, the price comparison with the freelancers and hairdressers is pretty close. Ranging from $90 to $150, depending on what you want done to your hair: an up do, half-up or just styled. But for this article I went with a 1920s style up-do for $100.

Price check: $190



There are multiple costume hire places throughout Perth ranging from Hurly Burly, Doyle’s Fancy Costumes, and Walk the Plank. As a dress up fanatic, I can never go wrong with Walk the Plank. I've been going to them for many years for all my costumes. The owner and the girls that work there are extremely helpful, they give you multiple options with wigs and jewellery and are all reasonably priced. As part of the price you also pay a $20 fee for the return of the costume (you do get it back). Costume hire price ranges depend on what you get but the base hire cost is normally $65, including the $20 fee for the return. For a 1920s flapper dress with jewellery and a sharp bob wig, it cost me $80.

Price check: $270 (with hair done) or $170 (without hair).



Now for the Uber; because you are not going to be driving, you want to have a drink, flirt and have fun. The ball is at the Crown Promenade in Burswood, which itself is a beautiful venue and can be a lot of fun, but it is not overly cheap to get there and at $200 a night (the cheapest option), I doubt anyone will book a room to crash for the night. From my place in Willetton to the Crown, the cheapest option is $23; $46 there and back. And God forbid if you live north of the river and want to get an Uber, because why would you get on public transport in a 1920s frock?

Price check: $216 (no hairdo) or $316 (for hairdo).

After all that, you need to buy your actual ticket for the ball. Another $100.

That's a total of $316 to $416 for a night out.

That’s a lot of money to spend on one night out. And sure, going to a normal dress up party would still cost at least $200 if you go all out like myself, but I would rather save that $400 for my budget holiday, treat myself to a good wine and cheese platter or have it to go towards buying wool for my giant scarf (I learnt how to knit on the holidays: yes I'm addicted and no I'm not an old lady). But I’ve never been to the ball. For all I know it could be worth it- all the tickets for the Guild Ball sold out, so people got pretty hyped. Maybe I am just a tight-assed old woman who should go back to knitting beanies and drinking wine. But whatever you decided to do is fine.  You do you, chica.