Grad Night 2012: Fashion Tips

Reading Time: 9 minutes

This style guide to Prom for guys and girls is brought to you by Council, Runway, and Press.
By Dyon Ang (12A01E) and Sum Xin Yi (13A01B)

Grad Night 2012: Noir is the Batch of 2012’s final soirée! It is the time where everyone wants to be dressed to kill. After all, Grad Night is the biggest night of your entire JC life.

(Prom is going to be used interchangeably with Grad Night, despite the fact it is going to be more Chinese Wedding than an actual American-style Prom with cocktails and canapés.)

Well, on the bright side, you don’t have to ask someone to be your date…you get to ask nine! And you know what they say, two’s company, but ten is a heckload of fun.

—————————————— MALES ——————————————

So let’s face it, there’s not much a guy can do to look different from the guy next to you, is there? Wrong. Guys should be equally up to task as the girls, it all comes down to the little details…

1. The Classic Suit

Gucci S/S 2012

The formal suit is always an option. The suit jacket will always come with a pair of matching trousers (if it’s a two-piece) and a vest (three-piece). Go for the three-piece suit if you want a more traditional formal feel and leave the bottom button unbuttoned if its a two-button suit jacket. A fashionable friend of mine swears by Gucci, and only Gucci, for suits, while I’m more of a D&G person.

Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2012
Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2012

In both cases, wear a slim necktie (fat ones can be chunky and business-like) especially if you go for the three-piece option.

Note: There is are subtle differences between a business suit and an evening suit (use your… good judgment — it’s more to do with the color and material than anything).

2. Blazer Combination


A slightly easier attire option than the suit where the matching possibilities are endless dependent on whether you want to upgrade or downgrade your level of formality – just make sure you have a decent blazer!

3. Suspenders + Dress Shirt and Pants (no kidding)


An option you can consider if you have a preppy/hipster look, or if you think you have it going on. Avoid this if you do not, but if you do, you might actually look adorkable: it all depends on the person really.

Wearing a bow tie is preferred (NOT those humongous ones that exend beyond the tips of your shirt collar, they make you look like a joke). Unless that’s what you are going for (see adorkable).

4. A tuxedo

Tom Ford in Tom Ford
Tom Ford

The most dressy formal attire (read: difficult to pull off) option you can consider but if done well, it can be worn with aplomb and style. We recommend sticking to the above options, but if you do go with this, rent it. A well made and tailored tuxedo can be obscenely expensive.

Most rented generic tuxedos are rather boxily cut. Since you can’t alter them to suit your body, they are best left for the genuinely boxier people. Always wear a tuxedo shirt (this is different than a dress shirt) to add sophistication — you already are wearing a tuxedo, so why not go all out? Oh and come in a bow tie (no ties)!

5. Anything White


In general, this option is strongly discouraged — people might start asking you for drinks.  Very few can pull off this look (especially a white tuxedo).


  • Don’t be afraid to wear colours to make yourself stand out. No garish colors please, stick to pastels (light blue, pale pink, etc) if unsure. Wear a darker necktie/bow tie than your shirt or if your shirt is in a dark hue, a lighter one.
  • When in doubt, you can play it safe. Stick to evening colours (black, midnight blue, etc). Wear a classic black suit and you’re golden.
  • Keep it classy.
  • Always leave a button unbuttoned if you’re wearing a suit jacket/blazer. Unbutton it when you sit and rebutton it when you stand to not look sloppy (since the jacket will bunch up).
  • Make sure your clothes are fitting (note to some people: this does not mean skin-tight)
  • Little details like a tie bar will help accentuate your dressing!
  • Break the rules
  • Have fun!

—————————————— FEMALES ——————————————

Confession right here: prom is nothing without you looking good and a hell lot of photos. If you haven’t got your pictures, you didn’t attend the actual prom. You see, you’re all dolled up in those expensive clothes and so are your friends so get your money’s worth! Or your parents’ money’s worth. Either way, unleash that inner camera-loving self of yours and we promise that you will thank us post-prom when you will have so much to look back on.

“Fashion knows not of comfort. All that matters is the face you show the world.” — Gossip Girl, everyone’s favourite drama.

Taking into account how this graduating batch of Rafflesians is already so particularly well-dressed even when going to school (cardigans, socks and all), there is expected to be fierce competition amongst the ladies to stand out for prom this year. Yes we’ve done our research, so look forward to a gala of splendid tailor-made dresses and designer brands – and, gasp, maybe a couple of ladies wearing the same dress as well. They say imitation is the best form of flattery but it’s not necessarily so in this case. Don’t worry; you can still make your outfit uniquely you with makeup, accessories and just plain spunk. :)


1. Cocktail Dress


Possibly one of the most adaptable dresses that a lady can invest in. Dressed up or dressed down, this can take you from dinner dates to formal events, and prom night is no exception.


In fact, most tend to prefer this over the traditional evening gowns as this allows you to…show off your legs! However, for decency’s sake, do make sure the furthest the hem rides up your legs is high-thigh. Check before purchasing: sit down, bend over, stretch, run, and see how high the hem will hike up. If already purchased and the dress is doomed to flash, you can attempt the trick K-Pop stars use with their impossibly short skirts during live performances — tape it down! A less popular, but a more modest, alternative is to wear tights.

2. Evening Gown


The traditional attire for prom nights. The evening gown is always floor-length and is also more formal, luxurious and expensive than its leg-baring counterpart.


It is typically prized as a more mature choice and picked by those who deem themselves already out of the teenage-party phase. That is because if you intend to party afterwards, you will need to ensure you have a second outfit as clubs these days aren’t too fond of their dance floors interacting with your floor-sweeping chiffon.


Most, if not all, ladies will be in heels, so do not be afraid to slip on some zany designs!

Alexander McQueen S/S 2010

For those with shorter legs, avoid vertical lines as they visually cut off the line of the leg. That means ankle boots and ankle straps, for no matter how trendy they may be, make even long legs look shorter. Also, match your hosiery with your heels, as it creates a continuous line down your leg to give the illusion of longer legs.

Emilio Pucci S/S 2013
Emilio Pucci S/S 2013

Please remember to wear heels that you can actually walk in. Longer legs will not be able to make up for that embarrassing fall that overturned the buffet table.


Things to take note of:

  • Watch your cleavage (plunging necklines) and do wear the correct bra or expect slips and spills all over the place unless, you know, that’s your intention. A smaller bust will be beneficial if going strapless as the dress will fit better and stay up. However, still do checks constantly and Fashion Tape is everyone’s secret best friend.
  • Visible Panty Line, which is when your underwear is visible through your clothing.
  • “No human being should ever wear tight satin.” – Michael Kors
  • Remember… it’s great to experiment with bold colours and patterns (they make you stand out!) but black is and will always be slimming.


Jewellery and hair accessories are optional.

However, you do need an all-important purse. Not only does it complete your look, it is also vital for carrying your necessary items. Choose something small so that every time you move your hands you’re not shoving a boulder into someone’s face.

Things that should be in your chic clutch:

  • Cell Phone + Money
  • Makeup essentials: You shouldn’t be hauling your entire makeup stash with you to prom but do pack in your lipstick, eyeliner, concealer and maybe a compact mirror for touch-ups
  • Oil-blotting sheets: That finishing powder or foundation that promises “superb oil control” probably isn’t going to last you the whole night, especially if you have oily skin, so do have some blotting sheets on hand to soak up all that sebum.
  • Mints: We don’t know what dinner is going to consist of but, trust us, it’s always better to be on the safe side. (In case you are intending to abstain from eating in hopes of a flatter stomach: one meal isn’t going to make much difference and, please, you paid for the hotel food.)
  • Camera (optional). Remember there’s still your camera phone and the official photographers for the event. This will add to the bulk of your purse, though there is nothing quite like personalised camwhoring with your favourite people.


This is a particularly tricky area, especially for many damsels out there who have been living the past 18 years of their life sans makeup. Just remember that, unlike what popular media is attempting to sell you, less is more — you would want to avoid resembling a baby hooker.

  • Pick your best features to focus on. In most cases, it will either be the lips or eyes. If you’re going all-out for the windows to your soul, keep your lips simple. If you’re going to focus all the focus on your lips, use bronzer instead of rouge for cheeks and keep the eyes clean.fnudey
  • Take note that it’s called smoky eyes, not raccoon.
  • Don’t be afraid to try bold colours like the classic red lip. There are online tutorials to help you perfect the look.fredlip
  • Make sure that your foundation is in the right shade – apply it all the way to the neck and remember to blend well.
  • Do not cake your makeup on. Even if you think you need that much make-up to begin with, you probably will still look better without a layer of junk.
  • Use loose/finishing powder to prevent oiliness, or your face may transform into a shining beacon of light in photos. Take a photo with flash to test it out. This is crucial because — according to reviews of a recent prom held at Orchard Hotel — the lighting in the ballroom is so terrible you can’t take any decent photos with flash.
  • Please use waterproof makeup if you’re prone to crying or bursting into hysterics. Actually, just use waterproof/water-resistant makeup regardless because you may perspire.
  • Regularly touch up your makeup throughout the night to keep that perfect face looking perfect.

If you’re still unsure, you may approach the sweet makeup people at Sephora or any other makeup counters and ask for advice! Most times they will even give you a free personalised makeover (in hopes that you’ll buy the products of course).  Or you can book appointments at make up counters like the following:

Bobbi Brown – $80
Dior – $120
The Makeup Store – $50
Shu Uemura – $50

Otherwise, the internet is also filled with thousands of free makeup tutorials. Check out Xaviera’s prom Makeup video if you want something simple yet beautiful.
Other popular Youtube picks include @MichellePhan, @cl2425, and @jungsaemmool.
To end off, ladies and gentlemen, just remember to have fun and congratulations for surviving a very trying 2 years!

17370cookie-checkGrad Night 2012: Fashion Tips


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