December 1, 2008

You CAN Get A Cocktail Dress On A Budget!

Last week I revealed on The Chatterbox that I was looking for a nice cocktail dress for a last-minute soiree. Less than $50 (but nice...y'all know me) was the name of the game. Over the past week, I've searched hi and lo for an appropriate dress but just couldn't find anything I liked. You know the Usual Suspects: Macy's, Nordstrom, Saks, Neimans, Belk, on and so forth.
On a whim, Alicia and I popped into Filene's Basement (if you join their fan club, you'll receive a 20% off coupon via email) today at lunch. I promise you (tell 'em, Alicia) it took me less than 5 minutes to find this simply delicious dress for Saturday. Designed by Donna Ricco, it's original price was $168. It had been marked down to $50, then $30 and (FINALLY) $25. heard me right $25.
This picture doesn't do the dress justice (it was crammed on a Clearance rack and it needs to be taken to my dry cleaner), so here goes: it's a silky satin pomegrante (deep red with a twinge of orange) and mid-knee length. For the sake of contrast, I think I'll wear black opaque OR textured tights with a round-toe black patent pump. I know, I sounds weird but trust me: it'll be lovely.
I was able to implement all of my tricks that I shared with The Chatterbox listeners last week. I thought I'd share them here:
  1. Whether you have $50 or $500 to spend, establish a budget.
  2. Do your homework: know your body type and isolate what looks great on YOU, including color.
  3. Be realistic: buy your size. Do not purchase a dress two sizes too small and convince yourself that you'll squeeze into it within two weeks.
  4. If possible, bring your shapewear when you shop as formal clothing can run small. Let's say it togther: "Spanxx are our friends!"
  5. Since we're talking about friends: don't forget to tailor where necessary, as well.
  6. Whether shopping virtually or old-school in-store, have your most critical friend or family member by your side. Brutal honesty is paramount.
  7. Where should you shop? Whether you're plus, missy or petite, retailers such as Macy's, Nordstrom,, Belk, Loehmann's and the like are most always reliable. Look for coupons. Do also try <insert gasp> home shopping channels such as HSN or'll be surprised.
  8. Don't forget your closet. If you shop what you already have, that leaves an allowance for a nice wrap, shoes or accessories.
  9. Speaking of accessories, grab a signature piece of jewelry. Layered bracelets are a nice look as are cocktail rings. You can find them inexpensively if you shop around. Do, though, remember the five item rule when it comes to jewelry...try not to overdo it.
  10. Shop now for next year's dress. As we approach the New Year, you'll see prices plummet lower and lower.

Will you need a dress this holiday season? Have you found one yet? Any tips to share?


  1. I have the same dress in apple green and found mine on sale for $30 at TJ Maxx. The fit is phenomenal and I am sure you will look FAB!

  2. WOW 1969 I am loving the apple green color!

    Yes, fellow bloggers I can testify that TBS did pick up the first dress on the sales rack and the fit is phenom!

    TBS- dont forget to take a picture of the whole ensamble!

  3. That is an awesome dress. I can't wait to see the pictures of the whole ensemble.

  4. I try to never NEED to buy a dress. LOL! I know that reads terribly so let me explain. I go out on shopping forays often and when I see something that looks good on me...I buy it so that I'm never caught up looking for something at the last minute. The last time I had to REALLY shop for formal attire was this past Spring when I was doing something that was going to require me to dress for several nights in a row. I thought I was gonna lose my mind, I have dresses for events for YEARS. LOL! Provided I don't gain a lot of weight.

    My biggest tip is Loehmann's but always try to go to the Loehmann's that isn't around lots of other stores if that makes any sense. Also...don't sleep on Neiman's just because their price point is high. When they are ready to get rid of stuff...they SLASH the prices. Get friendly with the women in the department and if you are an American Express member you get private notifications as well to the huge pre-sales. I've purchased $1,500 dresses for a couple hundred there on several occasions.

  5. What a gorgeous and a fabulous price! That color will look divine on you! I can't wait to see pics!

  6. TBS....I think I likeyour color better! We can trade :)

  7. That's a very nice dress and even better price.


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