The Matric Ball

Too long ago

What is a Matric Ball? For those of you living outside of South Africa, it’s the Senior Prom. The final fancy party as we say farewell to out class mates of high school before we go our separate ways.

Girls go giddy, as they watch all the glam events and get the magazines to browse the best dressed lists of all the stars to see what they want their dress to look like. The Matric Ball is essentially the first major fashion event of our lives, even for those not into fashion! ^^ It also served as an escape from the reality of the pending final exams at the end of the year.

When I was at school in the early 2000s, there were 3 simple steps:
Me in gr. 12

1. Choose a colour
2. Go to Fabric World (well most of us in Cape Town did) and get a fabric.
3. Find an aunty in the area who can sew.

Otherwise, you could buy one. There are more formal dress shops these days than back then and with a better variety of prices. Buying a dress was very expensive and the Aunty dressmakers’ prices were something you could bargain with.

I was in my anti- everything phase in school and refused to go overboard with my outfit. I saw a simple style in a fashion magazine and refused to use the overwhelmingly popular satin fabric that most use. It was a simple dress design, with a knot on the side to help create a pulled effect for the material I had. The colour was a sandy gold knit fabric, very slinky and defined. I designed it too, and I got a really good dressmaker who had her own small clothing business in Plumstead. I added a little peek-a-boo hole on the side of the dress, for some reason I thought it was cool to have that in the design.

Those Nine West Shoes I wore to the Ball I got on a super sale.

Some spent over R1000 ($100), which was a lot back then on their dresses alone. The newest thing was to also organise a fancy ride to take you to the venue and back,if you could.

I skipped out on all those things and just focused on the look I wanted. A simple tube dress, hair up and make-up done on short notice by a woman who worked in a  perfume shop. My whole Matric expenditure cost less than R500 ($50)!! This included a pair of Nine West shoes which was on a super sale, make-up and hair. I did my own nails and didn’t bother with a fancy car, I just wanted to get there and enjoy the night with my friends. Our matric after party was at Vibe in Landsdowne btw.
Most of my pics I took were quite awful as they were taken with a disposable camera, however I have taken the liberty of donning the dress and shoes again to show it in a better light. I had a freak growth spurt later that year at 17 years old, so these shoes are too small and the dress is too short, as it originally hung gracefully to the ground even with these heels on (see pic right).
I still keep my dress as I still like it, but it will def need a few edits should I wear it in the future. My frame ain’t the same! I haven’t touched it until I decided to this post.

Me in the dress now in 2014.
Proud to say I can still fit my Matirc Ball dress I wore at 17!

Matric Balls are way bigger than they used to be when I was in school, it’s more than just a  farewell party. Getting ready for the Ball has become just as big as the event itself. Students hire out photographers, invite friends and family, have food platters and a car is now a staple item to take you there.

In the end, it all depends on your own taste of how you want it to go out, but most importantly, just have fun! 🙂