catalogs logo logo

Go formal without breaking the bank

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Go formal without breaking the bank by stretching every buck creatively

Go formal without breaking the bank by stretching every buck creatively

Whether you?re a student looking forward to the next big dance or a professional heading to a swanky industry event, it?s important to observe certain standards of what is and is not appropriate to wear. The tricky thing is that dressing in elegant clothing can get expensive if you?re not resourceful.

Have no fear. No matter how expensive the gowns and cocktail dresses on display may be, there are timeless ways to go formal and stretch every dollar. Sticking to a budget can be fun if you make a game out of it. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is too look more polished than ever before while pinching every penny in your purse. 

It can and will be done. Here?s how:

Before you continue reading about the Go formal without breaking the bank there is a special announcement we would like to share with you. has negotiated special medicare rates for our vibrant community of seniors. If you are over the age of 60, you can head over to our Seniors Health Section which is full of information about medicare. All you need is your zip code and a few minutes of your time to potentially save 100s of dollars on your medicare bills.

Get Free Catalogs When You Sign Up

Don't wait, sign up and get Free Shipping Offers, Discount Codes and lots of Savings Now!

Shop online

Online formal wear stores offer a wide variety of authentic designer creations to fit every price point. Many schools have their homecoming and proms around the same time so be sure to give yourself plenty of buffer time between ordering and arrival, if you’re buying during peak season.


Shop the sales

This is an obvious one, but it usually occurs in hindsight. The big event is around the corner and you think to yourself, I should?ve shopped the sales on Columbus Day or Black Friday. Don’t let that happen this time. Big events like this typically give you plenty of notice. Your job is to pay attention and think ahead.

Mark your calendar and pin point the next big sale day between now and then. By turning the radar on way in advance, you?ll likely find the store having the biggest sales on exactly what you?re looking for. Follow your favorite shops on Twitter and Facebook for an additional shot at special coupon codes.

Rent a pre-worn dress or tux

Most fancy dresses and tuxedos are worn once and retired to the back of the closet. Thankfully, crafty people make it affordable to go formal by putting up their gorgeous evening wear to rent for a short period. Rent the Runway and Le Tote can cover your head-to-toe needs for a fraction of the price. As an added bonus, the odds of someone wearing the same thing are slim because most of the selection is not from this season.

Ask a same-size friend

A close friend or sibling may be more than happy to lend you something – It never hurts to ask. Even if you don?t know anyone who?s your size, perhaps you could borrow accessories or shoes to cut your shopping list in half. Many women have a little black dress, which can be further fancified with a colorful or metallic skinny belt.

Alternatively, you can swap dresses or shoes that you?ve already worn with a friend going to the same event. This works great for school dances because it?s no fun to wear the same dress twice and your friends would agree. Odds are you?ll both wear them completely differently so nobody will even notice.


Like the rental sites, Pre-owned Party Dresses and similar businesses sell gowns for all occasions. Go formal for 10-20% of the original price! Prom dresses start at $20, leaving some money left for shoes and jewelry to dress up a classic design.

Get thrifty, literally

Many vintage stores have an often ignored formal section. If there?s not such a place in your town, take a drive to the nearest small city and you?re bound to find one. Bring a friend for a second opinion because it?s easy to fall in love with a unique dress, only to realize that it makes you look like a secretary from Mad Men once you get home.

If your date is looking to save money, bring him along,too. Stores that carry gowns often carry formal wear for men as well. Do brace yourself for powder blue ruffles.

See, there?s no reason to pass on the big event of the season just because money is tight. A lot of people are in the same situation. When in doubt think of Molly Ringwald from Pretty in Pink! If you haven’t seen it, watch it right now.


Popular Savings Offers



Top Deals

See All

Recent Posts

Get Free Catalogs When You Sign Up

Don't wait, sign up and get Free Shipping Offers, Discount Codes and lots of Savings Now!


Saving Tools

Follow Us


Since 1996, has been considered the web's catalog shopping authority. Our trends experts have carefully reviewed thousands of catalogs and online stores and have featured only the most respected, distinctive, and trusted ones. From popular favorites to new discoveries, you'll shop and save with exclusive coupon codes!

Invitations for applications for insurance on are made through QuoteLab, LLC and Submission of your information constitutes permission for an agent to contact you with additional information about the cost and coverage details of health and auto insurance plans. Descriptions are for informational purposes only and subject to change. Insurance plans may not be available in all states. For a complete description, please call to determine eligibility and to request a copy of the applicable policy. is not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States government or the federal Medicare program. By using this site, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.