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Teenage girls are getting their ball-season inspiration from reality television programmes - and paying celebrity sums as a result.
Ball season kicked off last month and runs until the end of the year. Some schools have semi-formals and leaving dinners as well. This means pupils could be attending three or more events during the year and are said to be spending more than $1000 on just one night.
Makeup artist Miranda Millen said teenage girls drew inspiration for their outfits and accessories from shows such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Jersey Shore.
Millen spent last weekend doing makeup for a group of Wainuiomata girls and said $700 was the price tag on some of their dresses.
"On top of the dresses, there's the fake tan, nails, eyebrow shaping, eyelash extensions and hair and makeup, so it can quickly add up to over $1000, easy."
Shopping for dresses online and getting something from overseas that nobody else has is also a trend.
"Girls are a lot more extravagant now and they bring in images from Google of exactly what they want with their hair and makeup."
Wellington's Newlands College held its ball last weekend, and year 12 pupil Ruby Pleasants, 16, spent about $500 on her big night, but understands why some girls spend even more.
"When you watch reality-TV programmes, you see how you would love your life to be, and if you can do that for one night of the year, then you would."
Ruby's dress cost $250 and she paid for professional hair and makeup.
"I did my own nails, and a lot of my friends did their own hair and makeup, or got a friend that is good at it to do it for them.
"Next year I might go a bit more glam and spend more, because it will be my final year, so it will be a bigger deal," she said.
Dressmaker Erin Taylor said the past two months had been hectic. Her dresses range from $200 to $500, excluding fabric, and this season is all about chiffon, beaded lace and embellishments.
"My customers come for the flowy chiffon longer gowns, because they're in my shop and it's what I already do," she said.
Wellington Girls' College principal Julia Davidson said her pupils did a great job of glamming up for a reasonable price.
"You hear of some students that go all out and spend a lot of money, but most of the girls seem to be really good at being thrifty."
HEAD TO TOE
Some Kiwi teenagers are using American reality TV queens the Kardashians as a foundation for their fashion taste, spending $1000-plus to glam up for a school ball.
Hair and makeup: $180
Eyebrow shape: $20
Eyelash extensions: $80
Spray tan: $35
Gel nails: $45
- The Dominion Post
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