We all know that dress + shoes + purse + jewellery + hair can wind up costing $$$, but with some planning, you can have a super-stylish prom that doesn’t take all year to pay for. Here are some great tips for keeping things low-cost, but high-fashion…


It’s tempting to splash out on an expensive gown, but if you get creative, you can put together a whole prom look for under $100, or even $50! Thrift and consignment stores are a great place to pick up used dresses and crazy accessories for a fraction of the price. You might turn up your nose at the idea of getting your prom gown from Goodwill, but you can often find designer brands in more upscale neighbourhood stores. Gucci and Prada for $5? Yes please! Thrift stores are also a great way to get creative: pulling vintage looks with old-style fashions for a truly unique prom outfit. And the best part is, they might only have been worn once!

Outlet malls are also a great place to find a dress, selling last season’s looks for a fraction of the price. If you pick a classic cut and color, it’s just like buying from the main stores – except way, way cheaper. Or how about you DIY? Buy a simple dress, and then embellish it with trimmings, ribbon or lace. Even adding a brooch or interesting shrug/wrap can take a simple outfit to the next level.


It’s not just the dress that puts a dent in your budget – finding matching shoes and accessories can really add up. Luckily, there are tons of affordable stores that sell great jewellery, clutches, and belts for reasonable prices. Plan ahead, and scope out places like Target, Forever 21, and H&M in the months leading up to your event. By switching up accessories, you can even make an old dress look like a whole new outfit, so check your current wardrobe – maybe there’s a dress you can update with some fun new accessories.

It’s not just new that’s stylish – thrift and vintage accessories are often higher quality than jewellery made these days, and built to last. Rummage at yard sales, and even look online at sites like Ebay and Etsy to pick up truly individual pieces for low prices. You can be sure nobody is wearing the same thing as you!

Hair & Make-up

You don’t need to spend all day in the salon to look gorgeous. Why not host your own spa afternoon with some friends, and give each other home facials and manicures? (honey, oats and yoghurt make a great face-mask). Getting dressed up together is a party all on its own, so set aside time before the event to hang out, throw on some fun music, and get ready.

There are tons of YouTube tutorials teaching you how to perfect a certain look, be it smoky eye makeup, or a complicated up-do, so plan ahead of the big night to teach yourself. And remember, that fancy hair-style will fall down soon enough from all your dancing, so why waste money on getting it styled?