There is something about the way a dress fits a woman’s body that simply makes you feel good. From warm summer days to cocktail parties or business meetings, it seems there is always a reason to shop for a dress. When you start to consider buying one for every occasion, every holiday, and every job interview – you quickly realize that your need to look good might surpass what your budget allows. To keep your wardrobe stylish and your wallet full, we have seven secrets to buying the perfect dress on a budget.
Dress for Your Body
The best dressed women in the world know that when it comes to fashion, a costly purchase is worth it when you consider the cost per use. Whether you are spending $5 or $5000 on a dress, the question you have to ask yourself is how much will I wear it? The biggest determining factor is going to be how well the dress fits your body. When this piece makes a woman feel smart, sexy, or confident – she wants to wear it endlessly.
- For Petite/ Short Women – Choose a dress that can be accessorized a dark statement belt or has a peep hole at the waist to draw attention upwards.
- For Full-Figured/ Plus-Sized Women – Look for dresses with an empire waist that flatter the bust-line, create an hourglass figure, and are flowing through the lower waist, buns, and thighs.
- For Thin/ Athletic Women – Allow strapless and sleeveless dresses to show off your arms with a classic look that never goes out of style.
Shop Vintage at Thrift Stores
Finding unique dresses from top designers for cheap is easier than you might think. Vintage shops and thrift stores alike are exactly where you should look for items if you prefer to be fashion forward. Your best bet will be in larger cities where people change up their wardrobes regularly.
When checking out this fashion hotspot, be sure to take your time. Vintage finds are missed when shoppers rush through. Stop in regularly to see new items and keep a list of those where you find the best high-end brands.
Don’t Dis the Discount Section
Miami-based DJ and fashion blogger, Lareina Pershyn, of Kamelon’s Kloset (http://kameleonskloset.blogspot.com) recommends skipping over the newly-placed items at your favorite store and heading right for the discount section. Department stores tend to move items from newly-priced to clearance-priced rather quickly. On average, if you wait four weeks, the item you want could be marked down up to 50%. With any luck, you might even get it for 80% off if you wait a few weeks longer. Keep in mind that if you wear a popular size then you are less likely to score in the discount section.
Shop Online through Wholesalers
If you don’t mind the wait, you can find dresses ultra-cheap when you shop online through wholesalers with drop-shipping. How cheap? These label-less items might sell for $50 – $300 with their name brands but are available for $4 – $100 when you are buying them “pre-branding”. The pitfall, however, is that many of these dresses come from the countries where they are manufactured which means you could wait a few weeks before you getting your item.
If you choose to go this route, keep a few things in mind:
- Read the product reviews to find out how the dress fits. You may need to purchase a different size than normal depending on how the style/manufacturer made the item.
- Check the associated size chart. Not all companies make sizes equal. Be sure to check the inch measurements against your own to ensure you order the right size the first time.
- The material may be lower quality. The reason why these items sell for so cheap is because they are flawed. Whether it is thin material, inconsistency in the seam, or a stitching error – be on the lookout.
Choose Versatile Pieces
The second key to the perfect dress that you will get a lot of use out of is its versatility. In an article on Forbes.com (http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/22/fashion-designer-french-flew-cx_lb_0122style.html), The Secrets of Well-Dressed Women, writer Lean Boune highlights advice from top fashionistas. For the budget-savvy woman, you cannot go wrong with a few simple dresses that can be dressed up or down by simply adding accessories. Whether it is glitzy jewelry for a night on the town or a sensible blazer and pumps for the office, a versatile dress is a woman’s best friend.
Follow Yard Sales – Online & Offline
Sometimes the best dress deals are right in your backyard! Most townships have launched virtual yard sale pages where members can buy, sell, and trade items from the comfort of their own home. Follow along and be the first to nab any stylish dress that fits your fancy. As for offline sales, take advantage of the summer-season and big neighborhood wide sales that happen on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends to get the most “hunting” out of your time. Either way, items sold at yard sales are significantly reduced which means you can snag a pricy barely-worn dress for pennies on the dollar!
Buy Formal Wear at Charity Stores
Used clothing shops like the Salvation Army and Goodwill are straight profit businesses. This means that everything in their stores is donated and the profits go towards their charitable works. Goodwill, in particular, is a global organization that is known for offering formal dresses affordably priced at $5.49 each. When you need a fancy dress for one or two uses, why spend $200 or more at the local boutique? Check out these shops first for a steal you won’t want to miss.
Buying cheap dresses is truly about your strategy. Be willing to take the time to search out the best sales and get the best rates. When you do find the perfect affordable dress, take care of it. Follow the wash instructions to the letter and be smart about the places that you wear it. For example, your favorite little black dress might not be the best choice for a no-holds-bachelorette night of drinking on the town. Lastly, always have a budget for your dress in your mind. With the right approach, you can find the right dress to make you feel pretty whether you want to spend $10 or $100.