Pulling out all stops for a grand night out
Glamour ... Montarna McDonald and Lauren Henry. Photo: Marco Del Grande
FIRST there are the nails, the hair and the outfit. Follow that with the bag, the shoes and, finally, the nightclubbing.
Then hold your breath for the bill.
For some young partygoers, the expense of a night out now soars above $1000.
From a $700 pair of shoes to $70 manicures, 20-something women are finding the big night on the town is not coming cheap.
These women share a background of low accommodation costs - sometimes by living with their parents - no dependants and a willingness to sacrifice the best part of a pay packet on looking good.
They are also willing to sacrifice going out every weekend in order to save for a big occasion.
Sydney publicist Montarna McDonald, 22, has spent more than $1000 on a night out, and prefers to save for events such as birthdays, Christmas parties, weddings and club launches.
She will visit a hairdresser, a manicurist, a dress shop and a shoe shop as she makes her preparations.
''I definitely put money aside for a good ensemble,'' she said. ''Given the industry I work in, it's always important to look the part.''
Lauren Henry, 20, who also works in public relations in Sydney says it's not just the outfit she saves for but also the event, with $30 tickets into a nightclub adding to her overall bill of almost $900 on a recent night out.
''Some clubs have an an entry fee so [your budget] will get you into the hundreds when you start including food, drinks, cab rides, '' she said.
Sydney bar tsar Justin Hemmes says people are saving for nightclub experiences and food, with lifestyle TV shows influencing his clientele's spending habits.
''There has been a cultural change, a shift in habits,'' he said.
For Melbourne marketing co-ordinator Paris Taranto, 22, the head-to-toe outfit and a night out can cost more than $1500.
She says that is a below-average spend for many women of her age.
''I think most girls spend a lot more and a lot more often. I tend to lay low for many weeks to save up.'' She makes the point the big night out clothes are hardly disposable.
''If I buy a nice dress for a night out, I will continue to wear it to work or match it with sandals and wear it as a summer day dress.''