Why I thought I would never be a debutante

Kaylan Ware

As a toddler, I loved to walk around my house in dress up high-heels, sunglasses and a pink boa. Feminine and fabulous.

Though dressing up in princess costumes and playing in makeup came naturally, there was one detail of the “girly-world” I couldn’t get over: bows.

I’ve hated bows with a passion since I was able to form sentences. “I don’t like bows” escaped my mouth each time my mom dressed me in an undershirt with a tiny pink bow at the center of the neckline.

Shopping for clothes became more difficult as I discovered more styles I disliked. Girls clothing is filled with bright colors, ruffles and, of course, bows. Not liking such styles led me to believe I was less feminine than other girls my age that loved rhinestones and bows, and I was completely fine with that.

This lack of femininity is what led to my original judgement of being a debutante.  

After sitting through a nearly five hour evening a year ago for my sister’s cotillion, I knew I’d never be able to imagine myself in her place. Dancing the waltz in a white ball gown for an extended period of time was not appealing. On top of that, attending events with girls I’d never met before and having to dress up for those events was not how I wanted to spend my weekends.

Turns out that’s exactly how I spent my weekends these last four months.

Soon enough, I adjusted to interacting with people I’d just met. All the while, I couldn’t help but think about the event and my bow hating self wearing an embellished white gown with long, white silk gloves, a pearl necklace and dangling pearl earrings.

This photo was taken seconds before I changed out of my dress. After taking photos with oner family members, my mom realized that the two of us had not taken one together.

As cotillion day approached, anxiety heightened. I was no longer worrying about how I’d feel in such stereotypically feminine clothing. I was actually excited to get fully dressed and own that ballroom floor.

My mother’s encouragement throughout the entire experience prepared me for the night.

Even during my brief and unexpected speech after being crowned Miss Debutante, I thanked my parents for “making me do this.” That line provoked laughter from the audience, which I was not expecting.

Following an unnecessary amounts of photos taken with and by family members, I was beyond ready to escape the massive dress and petticoat. I changed into a t-shirt, comfy jeans and converse, though I did keep my crown on.

I am still and have always been confident and satisfied with my appearance when I show up to school wearing no makeup, a sweatshirt, jeans and converse. This experience simply allowed me to expand my comfort zone and learn more about myself as a young woman in today’s society.


To contact the writer, Kaylan Ware at [email protected]