It’s that time of year again – winter formal season! As a mom, you want your high schooler to look stylish for this special night, but you don’t want to break the bank. With some savvy shopping and creative thinking, you can pull together a head-turning formal look on a budget. Here are 10 tips to dress your teen to impress for less this winter formal season:
Look for Sales and Promotions
The holiday season is a great time to score deals on formalwear. Check retail sites and stores for specials on dresses, suits, shoes, and accessories. Sign up for email alerts from your favorite retailers to get notifications about promotions and coupons. Follow fashion brands on social media for announcements about upcoming sales. With some strategic shopping, you can save big.
Rent Rather Than Buy
Renting formal attire is much more affordable than purchasing it outright. Rental fees are typically just a fraction of the retail cost. Sites like Rent the Runway allow you to rent designer dresses for a special occasion. You can also check consignment shops or specialty formalwear rental stores in your area. Renting prevents having to store a pricey gown or suit after the event. It’s a budget-friendly way to get a high-end look.
Take a Trip to the Thrift Store
Never underestimate the power of a good thrift or consignment store! Shop off-price stores like Nordstrom Rack for deep discounts on new and gently used formalwear. Check your local consignment shops for previously owned dresses, jewelry, shoes, and more. Or organize a clothing swap with other formal-going teens so you can trade items. Pre-owned formalwear is kind to both the environment and your wallet.
Choose an Accessible Hairstyle & Makeup
An expensive updo or professional makeover can blow your budget. Choose a hairstyle your teen can do themselves or have a talented friend help. Watch tutorial videos to learn how to create elegant updos, braids, curls or other styles at home. Do makeup yourself using drugstore products or invest in just a few splurge items like lipstick or eyeshadow. Focus spending on statement details like hair accessories or false lashes rather than a pro stylist.
DIY Decorations & Accessories
With a little creativity, you can handcraft decorations that make any outfit stand out. Make earrings, hair clips, corsages or boutonnieres with supplies from a craft store. Use ribbon, artificial flowers, feathers and more to make unique embellishments. Craft stores also have inexpensive prom-themed accessories to bling out any look. Use coupons and watch for sales on craft materials. Your teen will love accessories with a handmade touch!
Find Multi-Use Items
Opt for formalwear and accessories your teen can use again. A little black dress or navy suit is perfect for many occasions. Classic jewelry pieces work for prom and beyond. Quality shoes can be reworn many times. Avoid over-trendy styles and choose versatile pieces that will get repeat use. Bonus – you maximize your investment when items are worn again and again.
Compare Prices & Sites
Online shopping makes price comparing a breeze. Search a variety of retailers to find the best deal on specific formalwear pieces and accessories. Sort by price from low to high. Check large marketplaces like Amazon or eBay in addition to clothing brand sites. Don’t forget to factor in shipping costs. If you have time, order a few options then return what doesn’t work. Being an informed shopper will help you score savings.
Wait for Post-Holiday Sales
Timing is everything when shopping formalwear on a budget. Wait until after the winter holidays when retailers deeply discount party wear. Prom season kicks off in early spring, so you can find markdowns on gowns, dresses, and suits in January and February. Create alerts for price drops on items your teen has their eye on. Post-holiday sales are the perfect time to get a coveted formal look at a steal.
See If You Already Own Something That Works
Take a look in your own or your teen’s closet for pieces that could work for formal. Whether a cocktail dress, suit, or accessories, you may already own suitable options. Get creative by remixing closet staples in new ways. Add embellishments to an LBD or pair a little jacket with a knee-length skirt. Shoes, jewelry and other accessories can also likely be borrowed from your teen’s everyday wardrobe. Give existing pieces new life for formal on a budget.
Buy Base Pieces, Rent/DIY Accents
To save big, splurge strategically on versatile core pieces like a dress or suit jacket then complete the look with affordable accents. Rent or DIY statement accessories like jewelry, bags, and shoes. Add a belt, hairpiece or other embellishments to make rented or owned items feel fresh and formal. Mix splurges with budget-friendly accents for a designer look without the outrageous price tag.
Making winter formal affordable and stylish for your high schooler is totally doable. With savvy budget tips like shopping sales, renting dresses, doing your own hair and makeup, and more – you can pull together a head-turning formal look without headaches or breaking the bank. Use these 10 tricks to dress your teen to impress for less. Their confidence and style will shine, and you’ll avoid pre-formal stress and expenses.