Shopping for an evening dress is fun. Shopping for an evening dress on tight budget is not.
This is something I learned the hard way this weekend when attempting to find an outfit suitable for my inauguration on the Singaporean social scene at a very posh dinner.
|On a ship somewhere, my perfect|
outfit won't make it in time
The event in question is the launch of the Miele Restaurant Guide at Sentosa Resorts World on Wednesday, very much a black tie event.
Learning only last Friday that my gigantic wardrobe is not going to arrive for another week, I had to find an alternative to my ankle-length Alberta Ferretti halter dress and bronze Louboutin platforms which I’d already decided on. That was one hell of a mission!
So needless to say, this took up my whole weekend, shopping for a total of 16 hours until I finally found something which isn’t made of highly inflammable material and didn’t cost a fortune at the same time.
My budget was tight, because let’s face it, this was a one-event dress which with a closet like mine, I probably will not wear again for a long time. Specifically speaking I put a limit of SG$200 and if I don’t find anything I was going to go for my Karen Millen lace dress which although not dressy enough was a better option than buying something I didn’t like as much. I also had another restriction: I had to buy something which would go with my black Louboutins as they are currently my only dressy heels and I really don’ do cheap evening shoes.
|Better under-dressed than badly-dressed,|
this outfit was an option if all fails
So with no help or tips (from friends or online) I started my journey.
First I went to a rental shop. Although I found two passable dresses, to be honest first they were not exactly my style, 2nd, they were not exactly cheap to rent (SG$120-190) and third, imagine the horror of finding someone else wearing the same dress especially when at the time I was there I saw two other women looking for dresses for the same event.
My second option was to try different kinds of boutiques. Again, all the ones I fell in love with were sadly way beyond my budget (starting at SG$800). They were gorgeous but I had to stop myself and I am sparing you sharing my agony by not posting any pictures of them.
But as an aside, let me say Keith Png is a genius. Anyone who doesn’t know of the Koops brand should head to his gorgeous Hide and Seek boutique in Tanjong Pagar and be educated.
|Black or red? nice but none was really my style|
|Loved this one but sadly it didn't fit or go with my shoes!|
It’s safe to say things hadn’t gone according to plan (my approach being slightly more discerning than my husbands – where’s the nearest rental tux place; yep, that’ll do approach), and come the end of Saturday night I was desperate.
And I mean desperate. I went into any shop that seemed to have anything below the knee. High end, low end, anything end.
From high-street shops like Mango and River Island to Korean evening wear shops which sold high-shine satin dresses which you have to slip on. I wondered, haven’t they heard of fits, zips or buttons?
Shocking I know! And guess what, they were on the higher end of my budget as well. I just couldn’t rationalise the fact these badly-made dresses would have cost me the same amount I paid for a Moschino dress from my favourite outlet shop in Dubai. I just couldn’t do it.
|Love the colours but not really dressy enough |
for a black-tie dinner
|If only the colour was brighter and|
the flower smaller!!
Vintage was also an option but sadly it didn’t seem the right kind of dress for such an occasion.
Finally I hit Orchard road! I always assumed that it might not be the best place to bag a bargain but I was wrong. Walking into department stores like Robinson I finally found a List dress which was simple and elegant and luckily on 70% discount.
|At this point, I didn't know what to think!|
I would be lying if I said it was the nicest and most stylish I’ve seen. It was probably my third best. But given that it cost just 10% of the 2nd, I’d say it was a great deal and definitely much better than the cheap looking polyester dress that was double the price and not half as nice.
I think this whole experience cemented my belief that first you don’t have to spend a fortune to look nice even for a big event like this, and second never settle for the cheap-looking dress even if you’re on a budget.
I’m leaving you with some of the dresses I tried on (no names, no brands mentioned), but come back on Thursday to see how my ensemble went down at The Miele Guide Gala Dinner; and for the lowdown on what was hot and what was not on the night.
P.S. Please excuse my bad photography as my reliable camera is sadly still on the same ship as all my outfits and well, I think I was way too exhausted (as apparent in the pictures) to actually care!