Vienna is the waltzing capital of the world and ball season has arrived in full swing! I am amazed at the array of different balls there are to attend: provincial balls like Der Steirerball (Styria), university balls including one at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna!, professional balls like the Zuckerbaeckerball (Baker’s Ball – yum!), alternatives to the high society Opernball like the Rosenball (yes, please!), and of course the ill-famed Akademikerball (accompanied by demonstrations – and rightly so).
Vienna is dancing on air and yet, in this city of glamorous engagements, I cannot find an appropriate and affordable ball gown. The dress code is quite strict – men and women are expected to arrive in black tie although Austrian national costume (Tracht) is also acceptable on many occasions. I’ve been scouring the city for weeks for a dress but I’ve come up dry. In fact, I’m amazed at the abundance of cheap dress shops. At one store with astronomical prices I was shocked to see that the dresses were not hemmed and the fabric was already stripping! At the other end of the spectrum, I have found beautiful dresses in boutique shops like this one for the fair price of an arm and a leg:
Ideally I’d like to find something somewhere in the middle – a dress that is both hemmed and beautiful but that doesn’t break the bank. For ladies on the lookout, Peek & Cloppenburg seems to be the best bet. Others claim to have had success with online shopping but I remain skeptical as sizing is not an exact science. For now I will content myself with dreaming…and drooling outside of the boutiques.