FOR some young Orange women planning their graduation, finding just the right gown to walk down the carpet at the annual graduation ball can be almost as stressful as the Higher School Certificate examinations themselves.
For months hundreds of year 12 students have been trawling the internet and visiting formal-wear boutiques to find the right gown to help create memories of a special night.
For James Sheahan Catholic High School students, however, their choice is limited to white and off-white as the school continues with the white tradition in contrast to other high schools in the city that allow students to wear any colour for their graduation.
But for Rebel Tag, who hasn’t yet found the right gown and is hoping to do so on a trip to Sydney, the most important part of her outfit is taken care of.
“I have these fabulous bright yellow shoes - I paid $220 for them,” she said.
“I’m so excited - they’re my starting point.”
Fellow year 12 student Monique Haigh said she took on extra hours at her part-time job to meet the expenses of her graduation ball, which will include two trial visits to the hairdresser to find just the right hairstyle before the big day.
“I’m doing that because when I had my formal I had my hair done on the day and didn’t like it,” she said.
“Mum and dad are helping me with expenses too.”
Rebel says already some of the girls in her year have made inquiries to have their white gowns dyed at a specialty outlet in Sydney so they can wear them again.
Kimberley Kilkeary thinks she has found her perfect gown on the internet.
“Dad didn’t say how much I should spend, he just said the important thing was that I found a dress I really like but I am conscious of paying a lot of money for a dress that I may never wear again,” she said.
However, all the girls agree they will spend many hundreds of dollars on their gown, their hair, professional make-up artist and to have their nails done by a technician all ready for their walk own the red carpet.
For Danielle Buckley of Danielle Louise boutique in Orange dressing graduands continues to be something she enjoys.
“A graduation is such a special night for the girls,” she said.
Mrs Buckley said despite being in the business for 17 years the average price paid for a gown hadn’t changed.
“The average price of a gown is still between $450 and $650, and of course there is an occasional one that is $1000 or less than $450,” she said.
The style of the moment for girls graduating in 2013 she says is Grecian falling into soft folds from either a halter neck or off-the-shoulder design.