Wedding-Guest-Maxi-Dresses-by-ASOS

8 Ways to Get a Fabulous Dress for Less

If you live in Lebanon or are just visiting for the summer, we can safely say that you're invited to at least one wedding this summer. We can also safely say that you're probably on a tight budget to buy formal wear.

We recently scoured the market in Beirut and visited all the boutiques that we know sell fancy cocktail and evening dresses, ranging from mid-market to higher-end boutiques such as: Plum, Piaff, Boutique 1, Rodeo Drive, Pronovias, Sophie's Choice, Stella McCartney, Aishti and more.

We also did some research online and browsed the latest collections of some young and extremely talented Lebanese designers that we love including Hussein Bazaza, Dina Jsr, Azzi & Osta, and Ashi.

After all our research, the bottom line is that we could not find really great formal dresses for less than $1,500 and up to $4,000.

That's way too expensive for us, we simply don't have the budget for that. We decided we must figure out a way around it.

Here are 8 Ways to Get a Fabulous Dress for Less:

1. Consider Tailor-Making Your Dress

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We personally resorted to tailor-making our dresses for the exact budget that we had in mind. A friend of ours introduced us to a tailor in Beirut, we found dress designs online that we loved, and we met the tailor at a fabric store and picked out suitable fabrics. It's definitely a risk if you haven't worked with that tailor before, however word of mouth gets around pretty fast around here, if his work is poor, you'd probably hear that his work is poor.

We personally resorted to tailor-making our dresses for the exact budget that we had in mind. A friend of ours introduced us to a tailor in Beirut, we found dress designs online that we loved, and we met the tailor at a fabric store and picked out suitable fabrics. It's definitely a risk if you haven't worked with that tailor before, however word of mouth gets around pretty fast around here, if his work is poor, you'd probably hear that his work is poor.

Tip: Set your maximum price when you first meet the tailor and let them know that it includes the cost for his work plus the cost of the fabric. He'll most likely say that the fabric cost is not his concern, but I'd make him feel responsible for helping you pick a good quality fabric for your dress rather than not being part of the process at all.

2. Research Prices Online Before You Shop

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Do a lot of online research before you get out to the stores to get an idea about prices abroad - at least you'd know how much more or less you'd be paying. Some brands are way cheaper abroad so perhaps you can try in on here and tell a relative who lives abroad to buy it from there. There's always someone coming into town who can bring it for you!

3. Buy Cheaper Dresses Online from the US/Europe

If you have someone living abroad, go through e-commerce websites and see if there's anything that you may come across from a brand that you've bought from before. I'd personally even consider buying two cheaper dress options just in case that one you were banking on really didn't work. Worst case, you can pass it on to a friend who may fit in it better.

We really like buying online from the US because we feel they have more variety, and way better deals.

Tip: These are our favourite go-to websites (clicking on them will take you straight to the cocktail/evening dresses sections on each website): Saks.com, Bloomingdales, and our ultimate favourite Revolve Clothing.

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4. Revamp a Dress You've Worn Before

Re-accessorize it, wear different shoes and choose a different hair and make-up look. Get a little creative and you'd be surprised how different you could look with the same dress. Think of the celebrity columns you see such as 'Who Wore it Better?'. It's the same dress but worn and accessorized completely differently.

Tip: Regarding the hair and make-up, research different celebrity hairstyles and make-up looks to inspire. It really makes a huge difference to the overall look.

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5. Buy a Little Black Dress from Zara, Pair it with Statement Accessories

Zara is without a doubt our favourite store ever, you can find everything there: casual wear, jeans, tops, trendy outfits, and even formal wear. If you find a little black dress from there and pair it with statement accessories, we guarantee you'll look like a million bucks. At the end of the day, it's not about what brand you're wearing; it's about how you're wearing it, and most importantly - how you carry yourself.

Tip: Decide which accessories you want to wear first because it will make a difference in the dress selection. For example, if you go for a chunky necklace, you may pick a dress that's more open from the front.

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6. Borrow Something from Mom, Sis, or BFF

How many of us have done this before? Probably most of us and it's always a fantastic option if you have it. If you have more than one wedding, you can spend some of your budget buying one or two dresses, and then borrow one from your family or BFF for the third wedding. What better example than the Kardashian-Jenner family!

Tip: Ask them all at the same time and make your choices abundant! Why would family and best friends say ever say no?

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7. Sell Some of Your Unwanted Items and Make Extra Cash to Buy an Outfit

There are a few pre-owned websites popping up in Lebanon where you can sell your unwanted fashion items online. We know of two: Washed and Found and Garage Luxe. It's a pretty cool option if you have designer bags, shoes or dresses that you wore a few times and never again. You can sell them online (hopefully you'll find a buyer quick enough), and use the extra cash to buy a more expensive outfit.

Tip: Make sure you read the policies for what type of items these websites accept, the approval process, and the terms of how they take commission.

Washed

8. Wear a Maxi Skirt You Already Have, Buy a Fancy Crop Top to Go With It

We love this look and the best part is you can wear the skirt and top with other outfits very easily. It's also a fun look and a slight change from always wearing a dress to a formal event.

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Good luck!

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A team of writers constantly on the hunt for everything and anything there is to know about local fashion.