With formal weeks come dressed-up Greeks

By Christen McGlynn

While April showers bring May flowers, the Greeks anticipate formal weeks. Here at the University, April marks the start of Greek life’s formal season, which can include everything from traditional events on campus to trips to other states for the weekend. Each fraternity and sorority will hold their own formal, and there are a variety of possible events to attend. Depending on the venue, the event will require different attire, causing Greeks and attendees to often ponder the classic question, “What should I wear?” After surveying a few Greek formal veterans, students at the University have come to certain conclusions:

For the ladies

Anna Umholtz, junior in Media, will be a third-time veteran of Greek formal. Fraternities often have more extravagant formals, she said, and for the past couple years she has gone to St. Louis for the Delta Tau Delta formal. From her experience, both males and females tend to dress a littler nicer in comparison to other Greek date events. Therefore, a dress and heels are a necessity.

“I plan on wearing a bright colored dress for formal this year because it’s spring, so I want to stay in season,” Umholtz said.

Dresses are usually more elegant in their style; however, they are always short in length. Most people do not wear long dresses unless it is a high-low dress, Umholtz said. Also, it is more appropriate to opt for fabrics such as chiffon rather than cotton to add to the classier atmosphere.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

River Boat, or a date night on a large boat along the Illinois River, can also act as a Greek formal. Emily Findling, junior in LAS, said this type of event calls for more leeway in terms of dress. Students often wear cotton dresses and wedges or synthetic fabrics and heels. Every type of dress can be seen, from bright colors to black or sun dresses to flowing dresses, Findling said.

For the gentlemen:

Alex Gregory, junior in LAS, also agreed with the idea that formal calls for dressier attire. River Boat allows guys to get more creative with their ensembles, he said. Therefore, it is more likely that a colorful suit with a fun, printed bow tie will be worn. However, there are still traditional suits seen at River Boat that adorn more neutral colors. The ultimate decision, however, is left up to the male. Formal normally requires the traditional suit and tie with a jacket, while many guys tend to leave the jacket as optional for River Boat.

“I normally will decide to wear a vest instead of a jacket for formal, but I still like to switch it up between bow ties and regular ties for events,” Gregory said.

A proper fitted suit, clean shoes, and good socks is the classic combination for Kevin Biederwolf, junior in Media. However, the temperature will be the deciding factor to whether or not a jacket will be worn for either event, he said. If the weather is nice, most guys will choose to simply wear a tie with their suit and leave the jacket behind.

From heels to bow ties and dresses to suits, there is a variety of options available when choosing what to wear to Greek formal. If the event is out on the lake, use creativity when deciphering between two outfits since almost anything goes. However, if the date event is a formal at a traditional venue, the safer option will mostly likely be a chiffon dress and heels for the females and a suit and tie for the males.

Christen can be reached at [email protected].