Wedding season is a time when you're able to celebrate love, spend time with friends and family, and travel to different destinations around the country and world. But with a stack of wedding invites sitting on the counter, you might be wondering how you're going to navigate the coming months without breaking the bank. One cost that's likely top of mind for you right now? Your fashion budget. While the fear of being an “outfit repeater” can definitely contribute to overspending, buying a new dress, clutch, shoes, and other accessories for every wedding just isn't feasible for most people.
Meet the Expert
Here's the good news: According to Kelly Augustine, celebrity stylist and content creator, wearing the same dress twice is not a crime; the secret is to make small, impactful tweaks that will help revamp and refresh your look so that it works for multiple occasions. And if you are looking to invest in new pieces, Augustine has advice that'll help you shop with confidence—and without blowing your entire budget in one place.
Keep It Simple
Augustine says that buying a solid-colored dress or suit will give you the most opportunities to rewear it. “Go simple on the base suit or dress in a color like black, white, or navy and play up your accessories.” Purchasing one classic LBD for wedding season will last you a lot longer than buying multiple trend-focused dresses.
Focus on Accessories
The easiest way to make a look you've already worn feel brand-new is with fresh accessories—shoes, jewelry, bags, belts, and more can completely transform an outfit. “You can incorporate fun colors, prints, and textures for shoes,” Augustine tells Brides. “You can even opt to tie a scarf around your neck or hold a textured clutch—Art-Deco shapes and feathers are in!”
Shop the Right Sales
Sales happen all year round, but don’t settle for any old markdown. If you know you have a summer wedding coming up, start searching for your outfit during the fall and winter seasons when warm weather outfits are significantly marked down. There are also certain times of the year when sales are at their peak, and you can expect that holiday weekends will usually have the best deals, says Augustine. So, whether you're eyeing a new outfit that's on sale on President’s Day or Christmas, chances are you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck.
Whatever you do, don't shy away from that incredible deal on the sale rack if it's not a perfect fit. Augustine suggests that tailoring is an easy, often affordable solution, that you can consider. “A tailor can make a piece you got on a budget look expensive with one stitch!” she says. Of course, this option isn’t great if you’re on a time crunch, so make sure to plan ahead.
Invest in Forever Pieces
Investing in one quality item that will be a constant throughout wedding season can also help eliminate unnecessary purchases. Augustine points out that the amount you feel comfortable spending on an item is subjective, but what’s most important is the Cost Per Wear; you can reach this number by dividing the initial cost of the item by how many times you think you will wear it. “For shoes specifically, the more I spend on them the longer they tend to last because the materials are less likely to be synthetic. You can also almost always take an expensive shoe back to the brand you’ve purchased from to be resoled or have a heel fixed if it gets nicked.”
Think Outside the Box
The best budgeters know that getting creative is key, especially when it comes to fashion. For example, Augustine recommends investing in a great blazer dress, because you can wear it as a dress to one event and as a jacket to another. And when it comes to several weddings with different dress codes, utilizing a little hem tape can make all the difference. “One person’s black-tie gown can easily become another’s beachside mini," Augustine explains.
Own Your Look
At the end of the day, weddings are about love and new beginnings—not what you are wearing as a guest. “Above all else, remember that weddings are supposed to be fun! Do not let what you’re wearing overwhelm you,” says Augustine. “Besides looking good, you should always remember to be comfortable. You want to be able to get down on the dance floor!”