The start of a new year begins the preparation for two of the most important seasons in a woman’s life: Prom Season and Gala Season. These can also be some of the most stressful seasons, especially in the age of social media where the pressure to be the best dressed “for the gram” is at an all-time high. I am not a stranger to dressing up and while I have had assistance building a beautiful Cinderella wardrobe-thanks my pageant years-from some of the best dress boutiques in Houston-shout out to Jill’s Fashions and Bridals, Albert and Luiz Salon and Muzzies Couture-my fairy tale eventually ended.
The key to the perfect evening-wear look is finding a flattering style and fashionable accessories. Be the belle of the ball and do it for a low price tag with these 5 simple steps:
- Take advantage of the elegance in simplicity: Evening gowns can range from $75-$75,000 depending on the designer, fabric and the amount of bling that is on your dress. Diamonds-or in this case rhinestones-will always be a girl’s best friend, but having a fully beaded gown often comes at a high cost. A perfect alternative is to select a solid gown with minimal bling and use your accessories to dazzle it up. A simple black dress with a nice pair of chandelier earrings and a studded clutch can be just as eye-catching as a gown covered in stones.
- Save money and don’t splurge on the shoes: One of the advantages of wearing a floor-length gown is that you can hide your shoes! Instead of spending $1000 on a Jimmy Choo or even $100 on a Steve Madden, shop at stores such as Payless, Shoe Dazzle or the Clearance Rack at DSW and Nordstrom Rack which surprisingly have a great selection of heels.
- Hair and Makeup are both essential to creating the perfect look. Did you know that many Beauty School’s offer style and make-up services for under $30. If you are on a tight budget and you don’t require a complicated look, save money and time by making an appointment at a Beauty School. Many of the beauticians are just as talented as those in an actual salon; they are just fulfilling the educational requirements to be considered “professional.” Another option is to use your makeover as an opportunity to build your makeup collection. Instead of booking a private makeover at MAC, select an early appointment and the option to receive a free makeover with a $50 purchase. This may require additional wait time, but you’ll walk away with a beat face and 3-4 new items for your collection.
- Bling Bling not Ching Ching (that was corny): At every dress shop you will see a beautiful glass drawer full of sparkling jewels. These pieces usually start around $50 and are the perfect accessories, but not the perfect price. Even stores like Aldo and Express can be pricey when selecting jewelry. Thankfully there are stores such as Sam Moon that offer numerous aisles full of costume jewelry for $20 and under. Most major cities also have discount shopping areas-such as Harwin in Houston or Canal Street in New York City-where you can find every type of accessory that you can imagine. Also, don’t sleep on stores that cater to high-schoolers such as the Icing and Accessorize. If you are in need of a simple stud or a knock-off tennis bracelet, these stores will offer a variety of options for a very low cost.
- Don’t settle for the department store: Macy’s, Dillard’s and Nordstrom are all one-stop-shops for Prom and Evening Wear; however, there is an entire world of dress shops that provide evening dresses year round. One of the many advantages of shopping at a Dress Shop versus a department store is that many shops offer lay-a-way plans and one-on-one consultations with expert shoppers to help you select the perfect gown. Additionally, having an overly-abundant supply of gowns means that at the end of every season the store has to have a huge sale to make room for new inventory. Thus, you are almost guaranteed to find gowns on sale year-round at dress shops throughout the country. Lastly, shopping at a dress shop significantly lessens the chance of seeing someone else in your gown.
Have fun playing dress-up!