Post # 1
I am attending a charity ball and I have not been to a ball since I did my Debutante Ball thirteen years ago. I wore a white proper puffy ball gown. Did you were something similar? I am not wearing white, to this ball.
Post # 2
How expensive is the ticket? I would aim at twice the ticket cost, personally – if you are comfortable with that. You will probably find cocktail party wear to evening wear. In my hometown you would probably find jeans too, but that place is stubbornly cowboy.
Post # 3
You can wear any floor length formal dress that you like. Rent the Runway can be a great option.
Post # 4
Post # 5
I am a regular ball attendee (up to a dozen per year), and tt very much depends on the stated dress code. A traditional ball should be white tie, i.e., tailcoats for the men and full-skirted, floor-length formal frocks aka ball gowns, for ladies. These can be low-cut, strapless, with or without sleeves, etc. They are combined with court shoes, long gloves and your very best jewellery. Tiaras may be worn, but should be avoided if the ball takes place at a hotel. That is what traditional etiquette says, and in many circles this is taken very seriously.
However, these days many events get called balls. If you received an invitation, please check it as it should list the dress code in the lower right corner. If it says black tie, you can wear a simpler evening gown and forego the gloves. You can even wear strappy sandals, although they really tend to hurt your feet and expose your toes to clumsy dancers.
In many cases, you can also find information and even photos of previous events on-line, which may be helpful. Last but not least, consider if and how much you will be dancing. Tight long skirts, dragging hemlines, and very high heels are not ideal for vigorous movement.
Here are some dresses that I have worn in the past:
Theia silk organza ball gown (I love this dress so much that I bought it in three colours: sapphire, purple and a watercolour pastel)
I have also worn long evening skirts and matching or contrasting silk bustier tops to black tie functions. I see nothing wrong with that and like the versatility.