Tips for Choosing Elegant Formal Dresses

It is the time to shop for your school formal dress, have you prepared for it? There are thousands of formal dresses online you would find, but if you want to pick out the right dress at affordable price, it would be very hard. Then how to find the right dress? Don’t worry, follow the below suggestions, these would help you.

sweetheart splited evening dress

Set a clear budget: Setting a clear budget, that takes alterations into consideration, is the best way to start looking for a dress. There are stores for every kind of budget from the most expensive to the least, but be prepared for not all dresses are tailored to every girl (being 5’0’’ this is a well-known fact) and some alterations may cost more depending on the fabric and embellishment of the dress.

Do your research in advance: This lets you find what dresses work with your body type, simpler dresses that you may fall more in love with than the extravagant gowns, and for some satisfies their mother’s need to put them in those atrocious, who-designed-that gowns. Visit places you may not expect to find formal gowns as well, even a bridesmaid dress is beautiful and works great for prom, plus many bridal stores carry a “Prom” or “Special Occasions” department.

Research a place for alterations: There are some stores that won’t trim your dress because it is too elaborate, or they charge outrageous prices. Take your time, especially if you know you are going to need it, and look for someone who will fix the dress for a fair price.

Shopping online: A tiny screen shot of a dress doesn’t do it justice and when it arrives on your doorstep you may find yourself reconsidering. Sometimes you find hidden gems when shopping online but unless you know for certain that the gown will fit you most definitely, try to find a place where you can try it on, or if you can’t measure yourself anywhere and everywhere.

Bring someone with you: I learned from experience that bringing along women who are very opinionated aren’t exactly the best to bring along. They tend to make the experience more about them and less about you. For some, it’s a magical experience where they really want to bring their mother or their dad along and make it like a fairy tale. Others would rather mom just hand them the enchanted piece of plastic and hit the mall on their own, or with friends.

Finding the Perfect Formal Dress

High school formals are a special and exciting occasion. They’re not only a celebration marking the end of 12 long years of schooling, but are also one of the biggest nights of your life and a “right of passage” into adulthood. With the help of our tips for finding the perfect formal dress, come formal night, you’ll be looking gorgeous in the truly stunning formal dress of your dreams.

Choose the perfect colours

Decide on the colors that best compliment your skin and hair. The perfect colors vary from one person to another. To help you decide, look at photographs of yourself and ask the advice of a friend. If your budget permits you might even choose to make an appointment with a professional stylist.

Create a look book

Get ideas about the type of formal dress you like by looking through fashion magazines and websites., and go pre-shopping. Keep printouts and photographs of the dresses you love. This will help you decide what you like and don’t like. When deciding on dresses, remember that simplicity can sometimes be best.

Set a budget

Set a strict budget and stick to it. Your formal is a big night in your life but it’s not worth spending all your savings on, or going into debt for a dress that you might only wear once. Formal dresses don’t need to be expensive to look great.


Decide on the shoes you’ll be wearing on the night. If you’ll be wearing heels, take a pair with you when you go shopping so that you get an accurate idea of the length. So you can really see what various dresses look like on your body,take a few different bras with you (strapless, halter, and racer back). Also bring a selection of jewellery you might choose to wear with you to get an overall idea.

Start shopping early

It’s a good idea to start shopping early in the day. There’ll be less people shopping in the morning and shop assistants will be able to spend more time with you. Shopping for formal dresses can also be stressful, so starting early means you can get more shopping done before you start to feel tired.

Don’t shop with all your friends

It’s fun going shopping with all your friends, but on this occasion, it can be a good idea to go shopping by yourself or with a family member. That way you won’t be competing for the same formal dresses that your friends might also like, and you won’t be overwhelmed with everyone’s opinion.

Choosing the dress

Keep searching until you find the perfect dress. Only settle for one that is perfect and makes you feel fabulous. Once you see a dress you absolutely like, be sure to ask the shop assistant to hold it for you. Nothing is worse than finally finding the perfect dress only to have someone else buy it before you do.

Have fun!

Looking for the perfect high school formal dress doesn’t need to be stressful if you get started early. It can be just as exciting as the formal itself – so have fun and have a great time on the day!

Shopping for Mum’s Formal Wear

Mothers’ dress :

1. She has immaculate taste and always look timeless and elegant.

2. Her dress sense is ok, with a couple of ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ once in a while,

but is generally (at least a little) open to some alterations.

3. There’s no getting around it.

Her dress sense is plain God-awful and she insists that she knows she looks great.

So how do we ensure that no matter what category your mother fits into in her day-to-day wear,

she looks great on one of the most important days of your life?

We’ve provided a series of steps to deal with even the most difficult of personalities,

enable happy shopping, and guarantee that your mother looks great for all her photocalls.


Irrespective of how your mother normally dresses,

your best plan of action is to begin with an open talk with your mother about what she’d like to wear.

Remember that on this day, her outfit isn’t a simple form of isolated self- expression,

but she also needs to conform- to an extent- to what the rest of the wedding party is wearing;

including the bride, groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen, fellow parents, flower girls and pageboys.

Some level of visual cohesion is necessary if you want your group photos to look unified and tidy

Get a- Browsing

Have your mother show you some pictures of the style/ colours she’d like to wear.

This will save time spent physically shopping. If she finds a dress she’s like to buy,

make she orders it with plenty of time in advance.

If you’re not sure about how it will look/ does look on her,

consult a family member or friend who you can trust to be honest (preferably one who ‘gets’ fashion,

or at the very least, has a keen eye for body proportions).

Retail Therapy (or More Like ‘Mission’)

Once you’ve found plenty of inspiration, hit the shops!

If you know your mother is an impatient shopper,

consider spending some time browsing before she meets up with you.

Photograph the dresses/ suits you find,

along with their labels so you know exactly which stores they come from.

If neither of you know where to begin and what’ll look good,

visit a store with potentially suitable dresses and have yourself fitted.

Explain to the saleperson that you don’t know what’ll look good, and allow yourself to be guided.

If you’re more comfortable being fitted by a woman, politely tell the salesperson so.

They’ll be more than happy to oblige.

The salesperson should be able to give objective advice on what fits will flatter,

where to highlight, and what to avoid. If they don’t have anything suitable for your particular needs,

they should be able to  you in the right direction.

Tip: the more expensive and exclusive the shops you visit,

the more personal attention and, often, the more useful advice you’ll receive.

Many  high-end shops don’t pay their salespeople according to their commission,

so you’re more likely to receive good, honest advice.

When assessing how she looks in the outfits,

the two watchwords here are honesty and kindness. 

It won’t do anyone any favours to try and ‘massage’ the truth.

If a dress looks great, tell her! If it looks terrible,

don’t simply say that (this is enough to put just about anyone into an awful shopping funk),

but try to pinpoint where and why the dress isn’t working. Remember to critique the outfit,

not the person- or their body- in it! If you’re at a complete loss for how to tell your mother

that the outfit is horrendous, after covering why exactly you don’t like it,

conclude with a simple ‘I think you could do better’, or ‘it doesn’t do you justice’.

These phrases aren’t simply nice- sounding platitudes,

but are a kind way of getting your essential point across.

Remember that trying on clothing can be absolutely brutal,

and that is it therefore imperative to try and build and maintain

your mother’s confidence when trying on clothing. And who knows,

maybe helping to put your mother into a good mood will encourage her to buy you lunch!

If you and your mother disagree on an outfit,

get a salesperson to weigh in on the matter.

Take photos of your mother in the outfit,

show her, and reassess. If you still haven’t agreed, put the clothing on hold,

and take a break. Shop around some more, take a stroll outside,

or get some food and come back to it. Chances are,

you’ll both have cleared your mind and be able to look at the outfit with fresh perspective.

Remember that shopping for the ‘one’ can often take weeks- so repeat this fact to your mother

and don’t get discouraged! Shopping requires balls and tenacity,

and often feels like more of a battle than

a method of relaxation (especially when trying to find a specific

outfit with a tight timeframe in mind), so keep this in mind and hang in there!

Get Personal

If all else fails, or you simply want to cut to the chase, make an appointment with a personal shopper. These professionals either work freelance or within a particular store. Call in advance to inquire about and organise this service. Like a regular salesperson, they should be able to assess your body’s needs, and find an outfit that is flattering, age appropriate and event appropriate. Unlike a salesperson, they make be able to match up some jewellery to the outfit, as well as shop for the correct underwear.

Get Intimate

Speaking of which, the foundation to taking an outfit to the next level is to wear the right underwear with it. Do not try buying underwear first, because your underwear in always dependent on your outfit, rather than the other way around! If she doesnt have the right underwear, take her to go grab some. The two rules of thumb here are quite obvious: Stick to underwear that will be concealed (no clear plastic bra straps for strappy tops or dresses, please),  and it should be used to help fix what needs fixing! If she’s concerned about her stomach, introduce her to spanx, and if she wants her bust to look bigger, help her pick out a push- up bra. You know the deal.

Get Accessorised 

What is ultimately chosen depends, again, on her personal style,

the formality of the wedding, and her sense of comfort.

Generally speaking, the busier her actual outfit is, the less accessories she needs.

Jewellery: The key here is to strike the right balance in choosing how much to wear.

You should be wearing between 1- 3 pieces at once (including a tiara, if she’s wearing one).

Jewellery should be there to compliment the outfit,

not compete for attention. You should have one attention grabbing piece

(e.g. the tiara or ornate earrings) and keep the rest fairly simple.

Bags/ shoes/ hats: It’s been quite popular for decades to wear whatever shoe colour

you like with your dress, as long as it matches you handbag and hat (if you’re wearing one).

Whilst some see this approach as a little outdated, if done right (i.e. with beautiful items),

it can look classic and elegant. Alternatively,

you could wear different colours of each item as long as they compliment eachother

(e.g. sticking to jewel colours by wearing an emerald green dress

with burnt- orange shoes and a deep- yellow clutch). Or, you can choose to dress tonally,

where you wear different toned items of the same colour

(e.g. a periwinkle blue dress with navy shoes and a pale blue cardigan).

All this really comes down to is personal preference.

Helping to choose your mother’s wedding outfit can be a daunting task. But chances are,

you mother will feel the pressure more than you- meaning that

she’ll be relying on you for calm, clarity, and great style advice.

So try to keep calm and approach this project with a sense of openness,

fun and flexibility! At the end of the day, the outfit is just an outfit,

but the process of choosing it is an opportunity to create some priceless memories.

True style takes infinite forms- and applies not only to clothing, but attitude!