Fashion on a Shoestring: Doing My Own ‘Do and a Discounted Dress

Gap cream-colored maxi dressI’ve been on a super tight budget these days; one where my only permitted shopping is at the grocery store for food.  However, THE fashion show of the year for TRIBEZA Style Week was coming up, and I didn’t have anything to pull from the dress archives to wear.  While short on cash, I did have some Banana Republic Rewards burning a hole in my pocket, so I visited the Gap (BR Rewards are redeemable there).

All sale items were an additional 30% off, so I carefully combed those racks in the far-reaching corner of the store.  I found this cream-colored maxi-dress, which was on sale for $29.99.  And with the additional 30% off, it was only $20.99.  SCORE!  It’s made of a silky fabric and has an interesting cutout in the back.  I knew properly styled with the right hair, make-up, and accessories, this could be a great look for the fashion show.

Jenn with curled hair, settingWhen I got home, I tried the dress on again with various shoe options and decided on the best hair.  After attending the Shear Style Hair Show the previous night, I was inspired to put a little more work than usual into my hair.  And I already exert more hair effort than the typical girl, so this says a lot.  I decided I would try setting my hair.  What this involves is curling all of your hair with heat and then allowing your hair to cool.  Cooling “sets” the curl. The result is hair full of body and texture for updos.

I don’t own hot rollers, so I would use the curling iron method.  Starting with unwashed hair, at the base of my head, I pulled thin strands of hair and sprayed lightly with Aquage Working Spray.  Then I curled the strand to the roots with the iron.  After removing the curling iron, I then curled the strand back into a roll and pinned with a duckbill clip.  I am blessed with thick, full hair, meaning it took quite a bit of time to curl my entire head.  Like 20-30 minutes, and then you have to wait (upright) for the hair to cool.  In retrospect, I would have also used some kind of setting lotion to give the curls lasting power.   The photos Wendy took of me at the end of the night below were post-event, and my hair had lost much of the fullness I started out with.

Jenn wearing Gap cream-colored maxi dress, finished look

Once it was time for me to get ready, about an hour before departure time, I did my make-up (smoky eyes in a shimmery dark teal with nude lips) and then my hair.  I removed all the clips and then back-combed at the crown to pull back the top half to clip into a barrette.  I then back-combed the ends of my hair and used lots of hair spray for a very full, deconstructed look.  As I’ve said before, I love big hair.

The shoes were Calvin Klein gladiator stiletto sandals (surprisingly comfortable due to all the support in the front of the foot), and I wore matching silver/gunmetal cuff bracelets from Target on each wrist, long black crystal strand earrings, a diamond-cluster cocktail ring, and a Dior clutch.  All of those items were already in my possession.  Good accessories make the outfit!  (See Amendment VI of Jenn’s Beauty Bill of Rights.)

I received lots of compliments on my dress, and I was only too happy to share that it was a $20 find at the Gap.  Thanks to a planned out hairdo and a strong collection of accessories to pull from, I was able to pull together a cohesive, stylish look on a shoestring!

Jenn wearing Gap cream-colored maxi-dress, view of back cutout

Images: Gap maxi-dress, other photos – author’s own

4 thoughts on “Fashion on a Shoestring: Doing My Own ‘Do and a Discounted Dress

  1. Pingback: 24 Hours to Fabulous | The Declaration of Beautypendence

  2. Brittany

    i can’t believe you don’t own a set of rollers…. it’s a Texas woman staple… i have 3 sets of various sizes depending on the look i am trying to go for!

  3. Pingback: 24 Hours to Fabulous | Beautypendence

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