Aside from prom, the graduation ball is probably one of the most awaited moments of a student’s life. It marks the end of your academic struggles so you have to make it count by looking your best. But looking dashing or beautiful doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, there are several budget-friendly tricks you can do to make sure you look flawless on your grad ball.
1. Shop early.
As the popular saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. When you shop during off-peak seasons, you’ll discover that dresses are so much cheaper. Plus, you have more time to do window-shopping and compare different dresses. You don’t have to worry about other girls spotting the dress you like. If you wait until the last minute, you might be pressured into buying a dress you’re not really in love with or spend way more than you intend to.
2. Make your own.
If you can’t find a dress or tux that fits your personality, do it yourself. No one else knows your taste and style but you, so why not make your own? If you don’t know how to sew, simply look for a design you like in magazines or online ask your neighborhood seamstress to do it for you. A big chunk of the prices assigned by malls on goods goes to profit. So by DIY-ing your grad ball outfit, you’ll save so much money for you only have to buy the fabrics needed and pay your seamstress the labor fee.
3. Go bargain hunting.
Thrift shops, charity stores, and consignment boutiques are great places to find unique but affordable pieces which you can customize to fit the occasion. Sometimes, unwanted items just need a few snips or embellishments here and there to bring them to life.
4. If all else fails, rent.
Most seamstresses offer dresses and tuxedos for rent, so they might have something in the shop that you can borrow for a fraction of a price. However, they are often made for somebody else so make sure to have the dress or tux adjusted to your shape and size to get a flattering silhouette. An ill-fitting outfit is not a pretty sight.
5. Stick to neutral shades and elegant silhouettes.
White, nude, and black are fashion’s hottest colors for a reason. They’re so simple but they exude an incomparable level of class, especially if the fabric falls on all the right places. Aside from that, these colors also allow you to play with your outfit because they make great canvases for individuals who like experimenting with their style. They’re usually cheaper, too.
6. Go vintage.
If you really don’t want to shell out money for a one-time event, raid your parents’ closet. You might find a gem in there. They won’t bother keeping it for decades if it’s not a timeless outfit. Just be sure to have it dry cleaned and custom-fit.
7. Less is more.
Many trends have come and gone but minimalism stood the test of time1. It even gave birth to the statement “Less is more,” which is sort of an unwritten rule that many fashionistas subscribe to. So, do away with large prints, bold colors, and chunky accessories. You want your outfit to enhance your look, and that won’t happen if your outfit has a lot of things going on.
8. Wear makeup that highlights your best features.
An outfit is never complete if you are not made up. Decide which part of your face is your best asset and work from there. If you have beautiful eyes, emphasize it with a smokey eyeshadow or winged eyeliner. If you have gorgeous lips, wear a no-makeup look with red lipstick. As for your hair: the simpler, the better. You can tie your hair up, create a bun, or straighten it with a hair iron or blower for a frizz-free, smooth finish. If you don’t know how to do your makeup, learn by watching YouTube tutorials. But if you’re pressed for time, call a family relative who knows how to do it.
The secret to looking chic and elegant without spending a fortune is choosing an outfit that suits your personality. That way, you won’t feel self-conscious about how you look. Carolina Herrera, a fashion designer known for her aesthetics, once said, "Elegance isn't solely defined by what you wear. It's how you carry yourself, how you speak, what you read."