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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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Photos of me: G. Kramm
Other photos: N. Mölders
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