Gone are the days where the Aussie Prom is an awkward sea of shiny taffeta, floor-length column dresses and ballgown skirts. (Although we’re sure, if you give it another decade, those formal dresses will come back around in ironic retro-throwback style. Raid your cool aunt’s wardrobe accordingly.)

Nowadays, the most fashion-forward school formal outfits are more akin to the best A-list looks you’d see on, say, a movie premiere red carpet. Think elegant but still edgy, with a twist that proves you’re tapped into the biggest runway trends.

That all said, the dress you pick for your formal (or any other event that has a classy dress code, like an awards night or wedding), may just be the biggest fashion investment you’ve made in your life so far. So doesn’t it make sense to pick something killer that gives you plenty of mileage for months later too?

Fashion blogger Ally Hayward proves this formal Fame and Partners dress can be elegantly laid-back daywear too
Credit: Supplied

As the best fashion stylists and bloggers know, the right dress can be worn a dozen ways if you have an open mind to styling it. So we looked to three of GRAZIA’s go-to experts, who each chose their favourite dress from Los Angeles-based online custom dress go-to label, Fame and Partners.

All three formal dresses are on-trend and ideal for a high-end soiree, but these ladies then put their own day-look twist on the same piece, before sending us a snap to demonstrate. Your formal-to-daytime-fave styling lesson awaits.

LOOK 1: HOLLY TITHERIDGE – The ’80s-vibe Mini

WHO: cofounder of fashion and lifestyle site Base Colour.

WHAT: a Breakfast Club-style white mini-dress with layered frills and oversized sleeves. This particular style by Fame and Partners, called the Amelia, is made of a luxe cotton sateen and has a sexy open back that raises the look.

Holly wears the Amelia Dress with heeled sandals and this season’s hottest hat: the worker’s cap
Credit: Instagram @_hollyt

WEAR WITH: super-high metallic mules and a clutch for your formal or a special night out. Then swap those for tan Ancient Greek Sandals and a round wicker bag from cool boho brand Posse and you’re all set for weekend brunch. Add a denim jacket and strappy sandals and it’s the perfect date night partner.

WHAT HOLLY THINKS: “[It’s] pretty amazing feature to be able to customise any piece to match your personal style,” she says of the Fame and Partners offering, which lets you personalise your fabrics, colours and even cuts.


Fame and Partners, The Amelia Dress in White, $329. SHOP NOW

LOOK 2: ALLY HAYWARD – The Voluminous Sleeve

WHO: founder of fashion, travel and wellness site Substance.

WHAT: perfect puff-ball sleeves with fitted cuffs, balanced by a microskirt so there’s not too much material, which in this case is a luxe cotton sateen fabric. While this dress style, called The Dita, is currently out of stock, there are other similar styles with oversized sleeves and micro skirts.

Ally wears the Dita dress from Fame and Partners with dark simple gold jewellery and undone hair
Credit: Instagram @allymayhayward

WEAR WITH: super-high jewelled stilettos, hair in a high pony and shoulder-dusting earrings for evenings. Or make like Ally and go lo-fi on the bling and hair, then add just a coloured nail and ankle boots for a laid-back vibe.

IN ALLY’S WORDS: “Today’s heat was the perfect excuse to wear my new Fame and Partners dress. Customised to perfection, including the length, which I always need with shorter dresses: the downfall of being 100 feet tall.”



LOOK 3: ARIANNE WITT– The Statement Column

WHO: founder of fashion and lifestyle site Lola Jagger

WHAT: a dress that certainly ticks all the high-glamour boxes, but with a sexy, cool-girl kick. The vampish cut-out sides and frilled off-shoulder neckline balance the heavy black hue of this style called the Firestone, which has a sizzling bandeau-look back and is available here for $359.

WEAR WITH: absolutely nothing accessory-wise, a la Kim Kardashian at Serena Williams’ wedding last weekend. Tailoring this stunning, teamed with those hints of bare skin, is more than enough on its own. You’d be surprised how versatile this seemingly formal shape is though. Wrap a distressed denim jacket around your waist, and add OG-style trainers like Adidas Superstars or Nike’s Cortez and you’re set for a bar catch-up or shopping sesh with friends.

IN ARIANNE’S WORDS: “Love that I can customise online with Fame and Partners, including choosing the length of my dress,” says the petite writer and stylist. We’d suggest an above-ankle length which is universally flattering and extra versatile.


Fame and Partners, The Meridian Dress, $399. SHOP NOW