Wednesday, January 15, 2014


"Prom was what seemed like a lifetime ago,
I went to a lot of formal events in high school, and that continued through college and beyond. Winter ball, junior ball, senior ball, college formals (two a year), not to mention the random dinners throughout the year that we deemed as "formal" and would bust out the fancy dresses.

2003 dinner / 2005 winter ball / 2006 birthday dinner / 2006 senior ball / 2006 graduation dinner
For each event, the selection process was simple. I was never really one of those girls who lived and breathed prom; I didn't really care what I wore. The only exception to this was my senior prom; I didn't have a date until the last minute (like, the day before) and splurged on a dress to make myself feel better about it ;). Every other dress was thrifted or picked up from the sale rack. And I loved every single one of them.
2006 winter formal / 2007 dorm gala / 2008 birthday dinner / 2008 random dinner / 2008 moving-back-to-college dinner
For me, it wasn't about the dress, it was about how I felt in it. It was a state of mind, and the dress usually acted as an accessory for how I wanted to feel. Plus, with the addition of the right accessories, almost any dress would work for almost any event, so sticking to the emotion for me was the right way to go. Did I want to feel like Cinderella? Grab the ball gown!Was I feeling sassy? Snag the short little beaded number! Elegant and sophisticated? Slip into the pencil dress! You get the idea.
I didn't let the event dictate what I wanted to wear or how much I should spend, either, which was the ticket.  Formal for me didn't have to mean pricey; with the exception of the aforementioned Senior Ball dress (and the dress I had custom-made in Thailand), none of my formal dresses cost me more than $20. Everything else was thrifted, from the sale rack, or picked up at a store like Forever 21.
2008 Winter formal / 2009 Thailand graduation / 2009 Winter formal / 2012 Vegas show / 2013 Mercy Housing gala
I just loved being able to respond to a compliment with "Thanks! I got it for six bucks!" or something like that. Believe it or not, when I picked my wedding dress, I followed really similar rules:
our wedding, 2011
Gaah I still love that dress. I had a few ideas about what I wanted, but in the end, my final selection was about the emotion and how I felt in the dress. Could I imagine walking down the aisle to my new husband wearing it? I wasn't thinking "Is this the dress in which I want to get married?" or "will this work in the venue we picked?", my thoughts were all about how I felt and how I thought Tim would react. I wanted to WOW him, and I certainly was able to accomplish that ;)

And I didn't break the bank doing it, either. I got the WOW for 300 bones. Score!

The 2013 prom season is upon us, which means a lot of stores are pulling out their formal wear, but you don't have to be in high school to reap the benefits! Us ladies are lucky in the sense that we can get away with almost anything nowadays; again, with the right accessories you can dress anything either up or down. Take a look at; they've got some gorgeous dresses to pick from! Just because they say "prom dress" on the title doesn't mean that's all they're good for, and every dress is custom made-to-order to your measurements, which is pretty cool.

I'm long past the "prom dress" phase and I've already worn my wedding dress, so the majority of my formal-gown-needing days are supposed to be over. But that doesn't mean I have to be done! Think about it, what about a pretty dress for a fancy dinner or black-tie wedding? Or just a versatile little black dress? If I had another formal event that called for an incredibly superfluous and over-the-top gown again, wouldn't it be fabulous to show up in something dramatic and swanky like this?
left// right
Gaah I love sparkly illusion necklines; deck me out in sparkles and I'm a happy camper! Or what about something like these celebrity red carpet-inspired dresses?
Olivia Wilde-inspired // Selena Gomez-inspired
 Pretty, right? I guess I'm into neutrals right now, haha. What goes into formal-wear choices for you?

This was a sponsored post, but as always all opinions are my own!


  1. I haven't had very many occasions to wear formal dresses outside of high school proms and banquets, but I kind of wish I did! I still love getting all dressed up!

  2. yay! loved them all! (oh and PS! can we get them out of your old closet when you come home? )

  3. yay! loved them all! (oh and PS! can we get them out of your old closet when you come home? )

  4. ohmygoodness, your collection of prom/formal/graduation gowns looks like something from InStyle Magazine - and your wedding dress was absolutely stunning :)

  5. I think I wore formal attire once in high school and maybe MAYBE once in university. You're killin' me...


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