Look awesome at a ball in freezing temperatures
Velvet gown with stole and opera-length leather gloves (all own)

Ballroom fashion and the cold

In January, the Ballroom Dance Club of Fairbanks has their annual ball. Since January is the coldest month on average, they named their ball The 40 Below Ball.

It does not need 40 below, but just temperatures in the negative digits (colder than -18oC) to make attending a ball already a challenge. Oh, no it is not the drive to the ball. Then your car just came out of the garage and is warm inside. It is the drive home. Your body is heated and may be sweaty from dancing, and the car stood 4 hours or so outside and adapted to whatever the temperature is outside.

#fashionover50 Nicole of High Latitude Style wearing a black velvet evening dress
Side view of long velvet dress with leather gloves and stole (all own)


Even with a fake fur coat just sitting in the car with sandals and a chiffon gown is a recipe to catch a cold and having to pay a medical bill.

#FocusAlaska dance team in ballroom gowns
Members of the Lathrop High School Ballroom Dance Team preforming a mambo in beautiful rose quartz and serenity with yellow salsa dresses

How to wear a gown at 40 below

Thus, Fairbanks’ women bring a tote with leggings or jeans and the dance shoes or sandals, may be even a blanket, and wear knee-high boots on the commute to the venue. The boots permit walking the 10 yards (9.14 m) to the door without freezing the toes. The guys let them out of the car at the door, then park and plug-in the car somewhere in the parking lot. Plugging-in means the guys use an extension cord to connect the motor-blog heater to an outlet in the parking lot.

#maturefashion style blogger Nicole in a black velvet ball gown with long leather opera gloves
Neck-holder velvet gown with coin belt and leather opera gloves

Boots get checked in at the coat clerk’s

The women put their sandals or dance shoes on and check the tote and boots with the coat at the coat clerk’s. After the ball, women pull on the leggings or jeans under the gown in the restroom, while the guys go starting and idling the car for about 5-10 minutes. The women wait inside until their guy drives their car in front of the door. They hop in and feel cold until the car warms up. Those who also bring a blanket, wrap themselves in the blanket and their guy helps them to get into the car. Have you ever tried to climb a SUV or truck when being wrapped in a blanket? <3

#FocusAlaska young dancers in ballroom dance gowns and suits
Members of the Lathrop High School Ballroom Dance Team performing in blue low-high hem gowns

Great gowns at the 40 Below Ball

Here are my favorite gowns from Saturday’s ball. I wore my velvet gown that I had worn at the Governor’s Inaugural Ball in 2015 and 2003. In 2003, I had styled the gown with a burgundy necklace and bracelet and wore a satin belt with a Swarovski crystal buckle. In 2015, I opted for an edgy look with the studded belt. This time I styled the gown with an eastern vibe regarding the accessories for a different look. I also swapped the bolero jacket for a caplet for an on-trend look.

#over50fashion gown changing its colors with every movement
I liked this gown as it changed colors with every movement

How to stay warm in a ballgown on the way home in winter

On the way home, I wore my jeggings and wool socks in my boots and a sweater over the gown under my coat. What do you do when you attend a ball at freezing temperatures? Let me know by email, I am curious.

#styleover40 gray satin ball gown
I liked the sleek vibe of this gray satin gown. Who had thought that a gray gown could be so stunning?


When you liked the post share it with your friends. Since Valentine’s day and its dress challenge is just around the corner you may be interested in what to wear to a military ball.

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#FocusAlaska Young dancer perfroming a Viennese Waltz in ballroom gons and smokings
Viennese waltz performance of the Lathrop High School Ballroom Dance Team at the 40 Below Ball in Fairbanks, Alaska


Photos of me: G. Kramm

Other photos: N. Mölders

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