A Special Occasion Look on a Budget

Beauty & Fashion, Fashion & Lifestyle

Meet Giovanna, a recent college graduate, with an invitation to a Black Tie Wedding. Gi, like any girl, loves nice dresses. Nice, heels. Nice, bags, etc. But, sometimes, it can be difficult to dress the way we want, when we’re on a budget. Fortunately, there are a bunch of tricks up a girl’s sleeve. I’m grateful Giovanna allowed me to lend a helping hand and show her get ready for a special occasion look, on a budget! So, I’m sharing all of my tricks and tips…

Special Occasion Look

Start Your Search Online!

There’s nothing worse than searching in store after store for the perfect dress (or what have you), and coming out short. Most likely, you’ll end up settling or spending more than you want, because your options are somewhat limited. You’re better off starting your search online. You’ll have more leverage to find what you want. Especially with websites such as Shopstyle.com where you can search for the item, the size, the price-tag, etc…You name it! 

For example, let’s say you want to wear a black, sleeveless gown. You don’t want to spend more than $100. You can enter your price limit, your size, and even the brand (if you want to narrow down your options). On Shopstyle.com, you can even open your search for both new and pre-owned items. Because, let’s be honest. Dressy dresses are usually a “one and done” kind of a look!  

Obviously, the disadvantage of shopping online is that you can’t try anything on, until it arrives. Measure yourself before you order and only order from retailers that offer free returns! Also, order early enough, so that if the dress does not fit, you have time to change the size. 

For Giovanna’s dress, I had an idea of what she wanted, along with her budget. (No more than $100.) From the options we found, Gi chose the one she wanted. Thankfully, it fit perfectly, because she took her measurements and used the sizing guide. Do not forget to do this! Every item comes with its own sizing guide that is usually 99% accurate. 

Special Occasion Look

Wear Black 

The nice thing about black is that it elevates your look over any other color. (White comes in second.) Whenever you see the same dress in different colors, the black, undoubtedly looks a bit more classy and expensive. Not to mention, this color compliments any fabric. And, just about any figure! 

Special Occasion Look

Giovanna’s dress was a beautiful black velour. It had a sleeveless bodice with a plunging sweetheart neckline, and a side slit. Would you believe it was only $79!? Yes! We found it using Shopstyle.com. This was the one that Gi liked the most. (You can see why!) Here are some of the other dresses that fit the description she had in mind. They’re all under $100. 

Get Creative ~ Dress up your accessories!

Giovanna wanted to wear a pair of classy heels with a red sole. French designer, Louboutin, actually had this feature trademarked, but it’s still being challenged by other designers. It’s a mute point for most of us, who would never spend several hundred dollars on a pair of shoes! Selling the trademarked red sole-d shoe may be in dispute. But, making your own pair of a Louboutin look-a-like is hardly an issue. 

Gi actually found a DIY paint that is specifically made for shoes. You can buy it, here, for just $7.99! It’s actually a genius idea. And, the shoes came out great!

special occasion look

A few years ago, I recall seeing a pair of shoes that I fell in love with. This was the first time I noticed a dressy heel with a silk ribbon around the ankle. I absolutely loved it, but the shoes were way above my budget. This is going back many years ago, so I don’t have a photo. But, here is something close enough to give you an idea:

So, what did I do? I purchased some silk ribbon and glued it on the upper inside of a pair of black heels! They looked amazing. I recall getting so many compliments. I’m convinced they looked a lot more than I paid for them. (Ribbon included!)

Don’t be afraid to add a little DIY element to your dress. Your shoes. Your bag. Think rhinestones, ribbons, pearls, lace, etc. It’s just an easy and fun way to elevate your special occasion look, when you’re on a budget!

RENT a Designer Bag!

Did you know that you can literally LEASE a designer bag? Yup-a-roo! There are websites such as Bag-Borrow or Steal in which you can rent a handbag for the month! So you can wear the bag of your dreams to that special occasion, and whatever else you plan on attending that month. 

Special Occasion Look


Phone a friend for help!

You’d be surprised how many women, in your circle, are good with hair and/or makeup. I’ve done my friends’ makeup for a wedding, before. So, I was happy to help Giovanna! I have some really great makeup products that I swear by, and I’m always happy to share. 

Special Occasion Look

Elevate Your Look on a Budget

I’ve also asked a friend, in the past, to help style my hair! Obviously, you’re gonna save money, here. And, that will allow you more to spend on your dress, or shoes, etc. 

My mom has lent me jewelry, in the past. And, I was happy to share my favorite earrings and gold bracelet/watch with Gi.

Special Occasion Dress


Last, but definitely not least. I believe that if you feel good about yourself, you’re going to be radiant! Confidence is something I love to talk about, especially with young women. I know it can be tempting to compare ourselves with others. Especially, when we can’t afford some of the things that other women may have. But, as you can see, Giovanna looked absolutely stunning for this special occasion. And, we stayed within her budget! 

Elevate Your Look on a Budget

Confidence is free. Real confidence comes from knowing who you are and that you are loved, unconditionally. (Have you read my blog post about real confidence, yet?) Whatever you do, don’t use the media to tell you how to look your best for a special occasion. Or, on any occasion, for that matter. Some women may have the means to spend a lot of money on the best of everything. Down to cosmetic surgery. And yet, they may or may not have a real confidence.

Like my mother always used to say, “Rachel, when you walk into a room, be a shining light for others.” So, next time you are getting ready for that special occasion, don’t worry too much about spending money to make an impression. You can see, here, that it doesn’t cost a lot to look stunning. More importantly, make an effort to stand out in a way that truly matters. Spend time with others. Share compliments. Smile! Make others feel special. 

In return, I guarantee that you will feel like a million bucks!

Rachel Scheyer




**Just a friendly reminder that LE Woman uses Affiliate Links. What this means is that whenever you make a purchase after using a direct link provided on the contents of this website, LE Woman earns a small percentage. So, thank you for supporting LE Woman!


There are no comments, add yours