Tuesday, September 6, 2011
formalwear on a budget
For many young wives who want to attend a formal event like this, it can be a daunting task to find something appropriate and affordable.
Let me digress and talk appropriate for just a quick sec. When I've been to protocol briefings, they always give us the "do's and don'ts" of formal dressing, including length for the occasion, etc. and ask us to please pass on the info to our young spouses. One of the biggest tips they stress is to avoid dresses that are cut down to THERE or up to HERE... and I know you know what I mean. It's probably what your mama told you, so listen to this mama. It's not the time nor place for that, when your husband's boss is sitting across the table from you. Please save the overly sexy dress for something else!
Affordable...so many bases have thrift stores, and a lot of wives are surprised to hear you can find everything from dresses to glittery, strappy sandals there. So go have a look before you spend a wad! Some base thrift shops even set up what they call a "Cinderella's Closet" this time of year, showcasing some of the formal wear along with matching purses, shoes, wraps. Also don't neglect your local consignment stores. There are lots of treasures there, and you won't feel so bad about buying something you may only wear once.
You'd be surprised at some of the deals you can get at large department stores. I found a lovely gown at Nordstrom's for 1/3 its original price. Along with that, they threw in free alterations, since it was the only one they had in my size, and it needed a bit of taking in. So, check the sales racks! You never know what you might find.
Online retailers such as JCPenney.com, Coldwater Creek, Zappos, and even Amazon can have some amazing deals, if you have time enough for mail-order. Check their 'evening wear' section under 'dresses' to filter out what you need.
Borrow! Have a 'dress exchange' with your friends. At one base we were stationed, some ladies sponsored a dress exchange...they made sure several of each size were represented and all met together one evening to have dinner, talk, and swap. Fun! The deal was you let someone borrow (or keep, if you were tired of it!) your gown, you borrowed theirs. Worked beautifully. Another time I was so desperate to find something, my sweet sister-in-law mailed me a gown of hers to borrow.
Get creative, and don't avoid military formal events because you don't have anything to wear. The pomp, ceremony, traditions, and fun are something you should experience a few times! I know it gives me a new appreciation for military traditions, each time I go.