How to Make a Formal Dress Un-Basic
The other day we received an email from a reader who fortuitously received a hand-me-down dress. She had an event coming up that required formal attire, and since she was low on funds (I’m going to assume she blew her allowance where all of us have before: on a life-sized Thomas Jefferson statue made completely out of Reece’s) she couldn’t exactly buy a new one.
The problem was, she wasn’t in love with her dress. She thought it was basic, that it was nice, but not THE ONE. She had faith that it could be, however, if only through the force of the best accessory known to date: aka, good advice.
“How do I make this floor-length prom dress un-basic,” she asked. “I like the shape, and the color, but it’s plain.”
So assuming that each of us has one of these somewhere deep in the depths of our closets, stored away for occasions when we suddenly need to look glamorous, all you need are a few things, and I promise we can do this whole hoo-ha in under $300 total.
First, let’s talk hair. The great thing about hair is it’s ON YO HEAD. You already have it, you lucky Mallard. Pairing artfully messy hair with a fancy dress adds instant IDGAF-osity. Put it in a low bun and then scratch like you have lice. Or, keep it loose and rub the strands like you’re drying it after a shower. Muss that baby up, you J. Crew model you. And use a few products to help.
Now it’s lipstick time. Add color!
Now, I often think that spending money on a clutch for a formal event is a HUGE waste of time. You’re going to leave it on your table all evening anyway, especially while taking pictures or shaking your groove thang on the dance floor. That said, the weirder the clutch, the less basic the dress.
Finally, I think this is the only time I’m going to say it, but if your dress is super long (as was the reader who submitted this question) then shoes don’t matter. Choose a comfortable pair and get a good pedicure. Only your toes are going to show anyway and dancing, to me, is priority.
I’m dropping the mic here because I’m sure you’ll look great. And if you have any other tips, sprinkle them in the comments section like its a giant bowl of gelato. Mmm. Sprinkles.
— Amelia Diamond