Every one will have to go to a formal event at some point. Whether it is the Prom, Wedding, or a Black-Tie event. Don't let choosing the perfect dress intimidate you or force you to break the bank.
Our church loves creating different events for couples to have fun, and this time we were headed to the Prom! It was so much fun shopping for this event, I wanted to share a few tips to hopefully help with finding the perfect dress for you.
Establish your event budget: Shopping for a formal event can get pricey, if you don't come in there with a plan to keep the cost within your budget. Figure out your budget for the entire event, once that is done you can start shopping at appropriate shops. For me personally, I didn't want to spend a ton of money on this event. It is always hard for me to spend a lot of money on clothing that I probably would not wear again. I love investing in every day clothes and shoes. With that being said, most of the department store dresses that I was actually interested were $200 plus. I couldn't bring myself to spend that for a one-time affair. I started looking at lesser priced dresses, and I just was not impressed.
I finally got the idea to check out Rent the Runway (no they have not paid me to review lol). I was on the fence about renting a dress, as I didn't know if it was legit or not. After speaking with few people, they confirmed it was great. I browsed the site and found many dresses that were great, and that I were in my price range. I loved that they were dresses that had the quality of $200 plus but half the cost due to renting. If you often go to events, you may want to purchase a dress rather that renting. Maybe consider finding one you could wear again, but change up the accessories.
Finding the perfect fit dress: This is major for formal dresses, as the fit no matter the cost can make or break the evening. Before purchasing a dress I always first establish what shape do I want. I figure out what features I want to highlight and hide. This time around I wanted a dress that was more slimming, and if possible partial sleeves. Make sure to shop for dresses that will play up your best features. It's important to know the recommended dress attire for the event prior to purchasing a dress. Is it a formal or semi-formal? This will play in as a factor when choosing the best length of the dress. My event was a Prom, so I wanted to go all out and pick a floor length dress. When choosing a floor length dress pay attention to the size chart and what height of shoes you will be wearing. The last thing you want is to want a floor length dress, but then end up flooding.
Rent the Runway was helpful because it allows you to pick a second size at no additional cost, just in case the 1st size doesn't fit. I chose to get the same size but different length, one regular and one long. I am only 5'3" but I always wear 4 to 5 inch heels. Another thing that was helpful is the site had tons of picture reviews from previous customers. The customers listed their height, weight, body shape along with a photo. This helped me choose the dress I wore and size. Another thing, I always believe for a fitted dress Spanx are a must! They help smooth everything out, help shape out your silhouette.
Accessorize: I choose my accessories after picking my dress. However, I do look at my existing accessories prior to choosing a dress. To keep cost low I look at the accessory colors that I already own, and try to pick a dress color that will allow me to use items in my closet. In this case, I knew wearing black match with a lot of what I had in my closet. I did not have to purchase shoes or jewelry (this made my husband very happy lol). I also really didn't have to get to a new clutch as I had a black one, but I found one I loved! Choosing a black dress allowed me to save quite a bit, so definitely scope out your closet first before purchasing a dress.
For formal events I tend to think less is more on accessories. Unless you are desiring to have your jewelry be the focal point. I chose a dress and clutch that was sequined, so I knew I wanted to tone down my jewelry. My dress was an off the shoulder look, I decided on no necklace but long earrings. If you wanted a large statement necklace consider scaling back on the earrings and going with a stud. If you are walking out with large earring, rings, bracelet, and necklace. Consider taking off one, sometimes less it more for these occasions.
Shoes...if you are wearing a long dress and your shoes will not be seen. Do yourself a favor and pick your most comfortable pair of heels! Why make your feet pay the price when they won't even be seen! I didn't pick the most glamorous black heels in my closet, but I was able to dance and not be limping by the end of the night. Ha!
I loved my dress choice, I felt comfortable the entire night, which for me that is what I strive for at events. I don't want to be worrying about pulling, sucking in, or tugging at my dress. I want a dress that I don't have to worry about, and of course that will look great in pictures. Remember you don't have to break the bank to look great, be smart with accessorizing, and choose the perfect fit that will highlight your best features.