As Christmas or the wedding season approaches, many women start to panic about what on earth they are going to wear. Party outfits don’t come cheap yet the pressure to look amazing is high! So what’s a cash-strapped partygoer to do? Follow these tips and you’ll never be stuck for something to wear – and you don’t need to spend a fortune either!
1) Little black dress
With clever purchases you’ll find you can pull together a fresh party outfit with minimum effort every time. My number one recommendation is that you get yourself a little back dress that fits you perfectly. The key is to find one that isn’t too ‘of the moment’ in style. Go for something timeless and classic that won’t date then you can wear it time and time again. It’s worth investing in quality. Although it may seem a high cost at the time, your LBD will be a truly priceless addition to your wardrobe over the years. Then use different accessories and tights to give your dress completely different looks for different occasions. Even doing your hair differently can give a dress a whole new look.
2) Matching party handbag and shoes
Even if you’re not a very girly girl, you need to have one good pair of party shoes and a matching handbag in your wardrobe. Go for heels as low or as high as you prefer – even a low kitten heel can look very elegant. It’s important your party shoes are comfortable though as hopefully you’ll be getting a lot of wear out of them over time. If you wear a lot of black then that is a failsafe colour for your bag and shoes but a metallic is a better bet if you want to use them summer as well as winter.
Most women have a preference for either gold or silver (think what you have most of in your jewellery box) and these will go with everything! A peep-toe, sling-back or strappy sandal is ideal. Bag-wise a clutch bag is very sophisticated; or go for an evening bag with a long shoulder strap. You might also like to get a shrug or shoulder scarf in the same metallic colour.
3) Black evening trousers
A new dress for every party is a big investment, but if you have some glam evening trousers in your wardrobe then all you’ll need is a new top, which can be bought very inexpensively and is a great way to keep up with the trends. Wide leg trousers are the most elegant; make sure you buy them the right length to reach almost to the floor when you’re standing in your go-to party shoes.
If you’ve got clothes that don’t fit you well or that you’ve changed your mind about, think about having them altered to get more wear out of them. It’s much more cost-effective than buying new. Make something shorter, add sleeves or just have it taken in so that it fits like a dream. Remember, the better something fits you the more expensive it looks! Even better, do it yourself or get someone who knows their way around a sewing machine to do it for you.
Get together with a few of your girlfriends and pool your resources. This way your wardrobe choices can triple in size! If you’re not the same dress size, or don’t like the idea of sharing clothes, loaning accessories from each other can save you lots – and is great way to get more wears from that LBD. Sometimes a fascinator or handbag can cost more than a dress – so sharing really does make sense.
Don’t be afraid to have a mooch in charity shops or vintage shops to find a party dress or top; there are some real steals to be had. Even if you need to have something altered it can still cost less than a new item and you’ll have a really unique piece. Another great idea is to shop out of season. If you know your wardrobe is low on party clothes, pick yourself up a cut-price party dress in the January sales.
The worst thing you can do is go out and buy something last minute because you’re desperate to find something for that wedding. You’ll pay over the odds for panic buying and will probably end up with something less than perfect. It pays to be organised, so if you know your wardrobe needs it and it’s a bargain, buy it, even if you don’t need it immediately.