How to Get Red Carpet Looks Without Going in the Red

Published: Jan, 24 2017

It’s awards season in Hollywood, which means our favorite celebrities will be walking the red carpet in the hottest styles. Seeing the dazzling couture, accessories, and jewelry is one of the highlights of watching the awards shows, but most of us assume there’s no way we could afford to duplicate those fancy looks. However, they may be easier to copy on a mere mortal’s budget than you might think. Here are tips to conjure up some glamour without spending a fortune:

Dresses: It’s possible to get a fancy gown without paying full price. If you want to buy, check out consignment or thrift stores in your area. There are also several online services that allow you to rent high-end dresses for a fraction of their retail price—after all, an expensive gown isn’t likely to see frequent enough wear for you to feel like you got your money back if you bought at full price. If a flashy dress isn’t your style, go for a basic black gown or cocktail dress, which is an elegant backdrop for beautiful jewelry. Designer names aren’t necessary if you go for a sleek, classic cut.

Accessories: This is one area where the experts agree that less is more. If you’re wearing a beautiful gown or fabulous statement jewelry, you don’t want your purse competing for attention. Look for a simple satin clutch in a coordinating color. Bargains are easy to find online or in department stores if you steer away from pricey designer names and focus on finding a petite, classic purse.

A fancy dress does call for shoes that rise to the occasion, so go for high heels. Again, a simple pump is the way to go—closed toe, peep toe, or strappy, whatever your preference. You may be able to find a genuine designer shoe on consignment or in a clearance sale, but why bother if you don’t have time to hunt? There are plenty of lower-price versions of these shoes available as well.

Jewelry: This is one area where you’ll want to go for the genuine article. All too often, fake jewelry fools no one, and a poorly made piece can ruin an otherwise stunning look. If you don’t already have a lovely necklace or chandelier earrings to pair with your dress, you can get dazzling looks for less than you might think.

There’s often more than one way to achieve a desired look. A gemstone pendant set in sterling silver with white sapphire accents will be cheaper than one accented with diamonds and set in white gold, but will look identical to the casual observer. If you’re looking for a particular color gem, consider a semiprecious alternative instead of a pricier precious stone.

Most importantly, before you look anywhere else, check out purchasing your jewelry at auction, rather than going to a store. Auctions offer the opportunity to get a piece at a fraction of what it might sell at retail. Auction King, an online live-auction site, stocks a wide variety of exquisite jewelry, regularly updating their inventory to offer new choices.

It’s not hard to get a million-dollar look on a shoestring budget, if you know how and where to shop. Get ready to strut your stuff, and smile knowing how much you saved!