From CollegeFashion: 3 Picks for Semi-Formal Season Under $100

The following is a guest post from our gal pals at Have you checked them out yet?!

If you’re involved in Greek life (or just the lucky guest of a sorority gal or fraternity guy), you’ll know that semi-formal season is nearly upon us. Translation? A new excuse to shop for cocktail dresses and heels!

Semi-formal socials call for guests to step up their usual Saturday night attire, but the dress code is not as stuffy as formal parties. It’s a fun opportunity to get dolled up and play with fashion. But is it possible to be the belle of the ball on a budget? Of course! 

Look at discount stores. Think you need to spend lots on your dress? Think again. You go to cheap spots like Forever 21 and H&M for going-out duds on the regular, so why not look there for a snazzy cocktail dress, too? Don’t write off your favorite bargain spots – they have options for dressy occasions, too. Last year, I found my semi-formal dress at Target (yes, Target!). I received just as many compliments on it as my more expensive dresses.

Want to splurge? Choose wisely. If extra cash is burning a hole in your pocket (not a problem most of us have these days!), carefully consider possible wardrobe investments before splurging. If you’re like me, you have a rack of party dresses in your closet, most of which cost a lot and have only been worn once. Translation: Splurging on a dress is not a good closet investment. Spending more on a fabulous pair of shoes or dramatic earrings that you can wear over and over will get you more bang for your buck.

Be prepared to move it. The primary activity at semi-formals? Dancing! Make sure you can move-it-move-it in your dress and heels, or you’ll spend the night watching everyone else bump and grind. Not so fun.

Go short. Semi-formals are on the cusp of winter, so it’s one of the last times you can wear a short dress without frozen popsicle legs. Also, you don’t want to look too formal at this event. Full-length dresses are not appropriate. If you’re not a fan of your legs, wear opaque tights with a dress or pull a Victor-Victoria and wear dress or tuxedo-style pants with a dressy top.

Don’t forget accessories! You can make a $25 dress look like a million bucks with the right accessories. Enliven a LBD with pops of color (colorful jewelry! a bold belt!) or make a simple shift look glamorous with faux gems.

Coordinating’s cute, not cheesy. Maybe some readers will disagree with me on this one, but I think coordinating with your date to some degree is key to avoid clashing. Us sorority girls love our pictures, and if your black and pink dress is clashing with your date’s blue and red suit, those snapshots aren’t going to look their best. So ask your guy or gal what they’re wearing, and maybe suggest a tie or sash that coordinates with your dress. You don’t have to take it too far, but it looks nice and polished if you guys make some effort.

Got all that? Good. Now let’s see some outfit inspiration from the CollegeFashion stylists.

Christine O’Donnell: Let’s Leave Her Personal Life Alone, OK?
Christine O’Donnell: Let’s Leave Her Personal Life Alone, OK?
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