Keely Lister from Acqinas Hair Design models a ball gown worth $899.95.
Keely Lister from Acqinas Hair Design models a ball gown worth $899.95. Dave Noonan

Formal fashion on show

GONE are the days of hand-me down or homemade formal dresses.

These days some teens are spending between $200 and $1000 to secure the perfect dress.

And now local businesses are cashing in on the burgeoning formal market.

A Touch of Romance Bridal and Formal manager Shara Helmstedt said formals are big business.

"It's not only the dress, but the make-up, hair, shoes, tanning, transport and co-ordinating your partner," she said.

Mrs Helmstedt said she recently sold a $1600 wedding dress to a teenager to wear to a formal.

"Lots of girls are buying big ball gowns and then after the formal they cut them to a cocktail-dress length to wear at their 18th birthday," she said.

"It's a good excuse girls can use to spend a bit extra."

To showcase their range of exclusive frocks, A Touch of Romance will host a Spring Formal Parade and VIP night on Friday, August 24.

"It is invite only and limited to 50 people," Mrs Helmstedt said.

"All of our dresses are exclusive and mostly one-offs."

Mrs Helmstedt said hot trends for this year's formals included bright colours, slinky dresses with lots of "bling" and ball gowns.

Bookings are essential for the fashion parade.

Contact 4659 7855 or email for more information.