Glamour on a Dime

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Happy official Spring everybody! Warmer weather is here and for most people, with the new season comes a full schedule of proms, graduations, and LOTS of weddings! So, I thought for this blog I would give you some of the tips I’ve come across for dressing for formal occasions, AND how to shop for dressy styles at your local Goodwill store.

So first off, think about color. Find out what colors look best with your skin tone. If you’re not sure, here’s a few easy rules to follow; 1. Lighter skin tones will generally look good in cooler colors – blues, greens, purples – and it’s harder to pull off intense warm colors like yellows and oranges. Also, be careful of pale warm colors – peaches, pinks, corals and even white – if the color is not just right, it can blend with your skin color and completely wash you out. 2. The more tan/ darker your skin is, the better warm colors will look on you. Feel free to experiment with bright intense colors too. The ones to avoid are usually the deep, darker hues which can tend to wash out darker skin tones in a weird way. 3. When in doubt, stick to jewel tones! Ruby, sapphire, and emerald – these strong deep colors look good on almost anyone!

Next, think about your event. Are you going to be outside for any length of time? Or could you get away with something strapless because you’ll be inside all evening? Do you need to be more reserved and not draw too much attention to yourself – like a wedding? Or are you headed to a prom or party where you can turn heads all you want? Choose a color and style that is appropriate for the occasion and will help you stay comfortable throughout the event.

Jewelry: less is more. Now, part of this just depends on your personality, but I’ve always thought that fewer, well-thought out pieces will make YOU shine through the look instead of getting lost in a sea of bling. With a strapless gown, scoop neck or V-neck, I would suggest EITHER a killer statement necklace, OR a big pair of earrings. Trying to do both is overwhelming to your face. If you go with the necklace, a pair of studs is a nice compliment to the look. For a halter type dress, I rarely suggest a necklace. The form of the dress already takes up that space, so generally a nice pair of drop earrings completes the look nicely.

So, how do you shop for formalwear at Goodwill? First of all, always go check the formalwear rack. You can find some really great pieces in great condition there that will always save you money! If you can’t find the right thing there, start looking through the dress rack. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to find a “formal” dress for a formal event. Sometimes just a simple black dress, or sophisticated, plain, unicolor dress can be accessorized to look dressed up. With the right glitzy jewelry selection, and a pairing of knock-out shoes, you can make lots of “un-formal” dresses look formal.

If you still can’t find the right piece for your event, take some time to look through the blouse section. Often, I can find just the right formal blouse look for an event – with the added bonus of a little more comfort for the evening when paired with black dress slacks, tights or a well-fitted A-line or pencil skirt. And don’t discount the tank-top section! Many people pass it by thinking its only casual and workout wear, but there are usually some pretty great dress tank tops mixed in there too! Same rules apply when dressing up a blouse – great jewelry and great shoes to make it feel formal.

So before you spend your paycheck on an outfit for that upcoming event – try Goodwill! Get glamorous and keep your wallet happy at the same time!

– Michelle Loss, Goodwill Guest Blogger

Check out more of Michelle’s great tips on her video blog, Chic on the Cheap.