Freshers’: Formals?

By Caragh Aylett, SJCR President

A Formal Hall (or Formal as it’s more often known) is an opportunity to dress up, put on your gown and enjoy a (free!) three course dinner with your friends. At John’s we have these once every week and, if you’re quick with signing up, you can expect to attend every fortnight. Twice a term we also have ‘Mega-Formals’ which cost £5 and include a cava or soft drink reception and wine or soft drinks (usually shloer) on the tables.

Before I came to John’s, one of my biggest concerns was what to wear for formal so I put together this little guide just in case you’re also having the same worry!


Regular, weekly formals require a lounge suit with a tie, while ‘mega’ formals require a dinner suit with bow-tie.


Now, this is where it gets a little more subjective. For regular formals, knee length cocktail dresses, formal jumpsuits, or lounge suits can be worn beneath your gown. You’ll be forgiven if your dress is a little shorter than knee-length but will be asked to change if it isn’t considered appropriate. For Mega-Formals, full length dresses are encouraged but not essential, other dresses should be knee-length or you are welcome to wear a dinner suit if you would prefer.

Still unsure?

Hopefully the pictures below will offer some more guidance:

Christmas Feast.jpg
‘Mega-Formal’ without gowns
‘Mega-Formal’ with gowns
Regular formal
‘Mega-Formal’ with gowns
‘Mega-Formal’ with gowns

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