How to dress for party season on a budget

8th November, 2023

With events season just around the corner, it means that there’s often a range of different events you might need to pull together outfits for. Whether it’s Christmas lunch or an end-of-year soiree at work or just a catch up with friends, there’s a range of occasions that can pop up. The problem that can often arise with this however is that we start to worry about what we’re going to wear, and the fact that having a new outfit for each one would cost a fortune. If you’ve got an endless clothing budget then by all means have fun, but if you’re wanting to keep costs down yet still want to look your best then it pays to employ a few strategies to ensure you put your best foot forward. Here are a few ways to approach event dressing in a more budget-friendly way.

Invest in one simple LBD

If you don’t yet have a go-to LBD in your closet then you’re missing a crucial piece of the party dressing puzzle. Investing in a simple black dress (the plainer the better) that can act as a blank canvas for multiple events will enable you to create multiple looks with just one item. A simple silk slip dress for example, can be dressed up for a cocktail party or dressed down with slides for a backyard BBQ or lunch with the girls. All it requires is a swapping in different pieces already in your closet to reinvent it in myriad ways.

Change up your accessories

Whenever I’m going to re-wear a dress or outfit I’ve worn to an occasion previously, I like to take it in a different direction accesories-wise. I’ll often add a different pair of earrings, or layer necklaces or go with a different pair of shoes. Even if it’s the same outfit, you can give it a different vibe by making a few strategic tweaks. You can instantly open up a wardrobe full of event wear just by experimenting with how you accessorise.

You don’t have to wear a dress

When it comes to events, many of us will have an automatic reflex kick in that that will require wearing a dress when that’s so not the case. I do wear dresses often, but if I’ve got an occasion, I’ll also opt for options such as a suit, or a skirt and top or great slacks and a slinky cami. So, don’t neglect the rest of your wardrobe because you could easily achieve a new look by simply broadening your horizons away from a dress.

Peruse the second hand market

There’s much gold to be found in checking out the resale market when it comes to occasion wear. Local sellers such as Trading in Style, Swop or The Frock Exchange offer both local and overseas designer brands ranging from shoes to accessories and clothing at a reduced price. You could also try sites such as Vestiaire Collective or The Real Real for a wider selection of goods. Also, checking out your local thrift/vintage store is also worth a look as you can often find some hidden gems if you take the time to browse the racks.

Rent it

If you have multiple events on the horizon but don’t want to splurge on a new outfit for each occasion (which can add up very quickly) I’d suggest renting. There are so many great rental sites out there such as Glam Corner or The Volte with a huge array of labels to choose from including my fave event go-tos, Rachel Gilbert, Aje, Rebecca Vallance. You can rent up-to-the-minute designs and pay a fraction of the cost of buying an outfit outright.


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