The Fancy Dress info you know you needed

All of you biggest Fancy Dress questions answered


A photo of Fancy Dress past from Life Magazine in 1983 highlights the long lasting tradition of formal attire.

Mary Alice Russell

The closer we get to the weekend of Fancy Dress, the more the event dominates  Washington and Lee’s daily lingo. “What are you wearing to Fancy Dress,” and “Oh, that’s the weekend of Fancy Dress,” are lines you have all heard at least once in the past few days. 

However, since three quarters of our undergraduate student body have never experienced Fancy Dress before, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the event. 

To help clarify things, the Ring-tum Phi  decided to answer some of your biggest questions. The best way to get your Fancy Dress questions answered are to ask people on the Fancy Dress committee or go to the Fancy Dress Instagram: @fancydresswlu. For questions about the history of Fancy Dress, visit the website: 

As Felicity Taylor, ’22, explained to us in our last edition, Fancy Dress is “college prom, but with a $150,000 budget.” 

This year, Fancy Dress will be held in Doremus Gymnasium for the first time since the renovation has been completed. For guests over 21, the biergarten will be located on Cannan Green. The biergarten will be a cash bar and have cider, beer and wine, said Fancy Dress Chair Katherine Berman, ’22. 

Simply Irresistible, the sister band to Party on the Moon, is the band at this year’s Fancy Dress, which is themed “Night at the Museum.” 


What does Fancy Dress weekend look like? 

“The activities associated with FD weekend are the GAB (General Activities Board) concert on Wednesday night which will be B.o.B. in the third-year parking lot, followed by cocktail parties on Friday night to kickstart the fun that culminates with the actual event on Saturday night,” Berman said. 

Tabling for B.o.B. tickets start on March 14 and the tickets are $20, a shirt is $25 and the bundle altogether is $40, said Maddie Smith, ’22,  co-chair of the General Activities Board. 

The cocktail parties will be organized by fraternities, but there are usually other events on Friday held by students not in those organizations. 

What do you wear to Fancy Dress? 

Over the years, Fancy Dress fashion has shifted with the times. In the beginning, Fancy Dress goers would dress to theme. Now, Fancy Dress is black tie, which means long gowns, tuxedos or suits.

Fancy Dress is also partnering with SEAL for a  clothing drive where you can donate extra suits, dresses and shoes. The donations will go to the WLU Closet in OIE office in Elrod Commons, where Fancy Dress clothes will be available for free for any student who needs them. To coordinate a time to pick-up Fancy-Dress clothes, email [email protected]

To donate, drop off your items at the OIE office or put them in the collection box in Commons. Tabling for donations will also take place on March 16 and 31. 


How do I get a ticket? 

Tickets for the event sold out in February, but people interested in attending  can join the waitlist by contacting a member of Fancy Dress, sending a direct message to its Instagram or emailing Sam Sunar, ’22, at [email protected]. If you have an extra ticket or no longer plan to attend Fancy Dress, email Sunar.