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A guide to getting ready on the cheap

By Sophia Carlini - 24 May 2015 3

I recently wrote an article on what it costs me to get ready for a special event such as a wedding. The comments I received back from readers were overwhelming (some positive, others not so much!)

Although I still stand by my choices, I will agree that I could have spent my money in other ways and definitely could have spent a lot less on the day. As we recently bought our first home, every penny saved helps!

Contrary to what readers may have assumed from my last article, I actually love a bargain. If I wasn’t so time-poor and could do my hair in an amazing up-style, I would totally do it all myself! So in an effort to save some money, I’ve put together a little piece on getting ready on the cheap using inexpensive items I already own.

A number of readers suggested borrowing dresses and shoes, but I am really against borrowing. I hate lending my stuff out to people because so often they come back damaged or stained, so I simply don’t borrow for the same reason – I’ve seen ruined dresses destroy friendships, not even kidding!

When DIY-ing for an event, it can be really useful to watch a bunch of YouTube clips. You can learn so much from watching how someone else does their hair and make-up. I’m not saying you’re going to end up being a pro, but you might just learn something new, or something that will help give you a new look. I’m going to assume that most women already own the basics of make-up and a hair straightener.

I always start with my make-up first, so that I can tie my hair up out of my face and so not to get anything on my clothes. I have created my make-up look using basics I already had at home and some of the products that I purchased from Napolean previously. I also purchased a set of reusable false lashes ($12), to make my look dramatic.

Let me just say, I am not amazing at hair! I actually find it quite difficult, however, there are four at-home looks that I have managed to master using my hair dryer and straightener.

Hair look 1. Dead straight hair: achieved by blow drying and straightening.

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Hair look 2. Curls: achieved by using my hair straightener as a curling wand (most hair straighteners can do this).

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Hair look 3. Side swept curls: I always keep this look for special occasions. I find that it holds the best; the curls stay in longer and it stays tidy and in place all night long. It’s also quite an elegant look. I achieved this look by curling my hair with a straightener, I then swept my hair to one side and used a few bobby pins and hair spray to fix in place

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Hair look 4. The classic bun: Achieved by using a donut. This is a seriously easy look – so much so that I wear my hair like this at least three times a week. It is super easy (see demonstration), absolutely beautiful, not to mention classy.

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This time I decided to ditch the fake tan. Honestly, I can’t do it as well as the professionals and I just don’t have the time. Plus you can get away with it when it’s this cold!

Now for the outfit! The item that will usually cost the most. I could, as many readers suggested, wear a dress I already own, but for me, an occasion such as a wedding is a great excuse for me to buy something new. A new dress is something I’ve never been photographed in before and something to be excited about and feel pretty in.

A really good place to find stuff on the cheap is Facebook. There are tonnes of pages dedicated to selling second hand clothing, especially for women. You can buy high quality everything, including items with tags still attached! Also keep an eye out for sales at your favourite shops – finding the right bargain takes time. For most big occasions you will know well in advance, so you have a couple of months to hunt for the perfect outfit.

I was lucky enough to find some amazing items on the cheap recently, which I have used to pull together my three looks for a wedding!

Look 1. – For a more formal wedding/black tie event; a floor length gown. I actually bought this dress from ICE for $3.50 (I normally would never tell anyone that!)

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Look 2. For a cocktail wedding: A tea dress, bought on sale for $50 (Original price $150). I added a belt that I already owned.

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Look 3. For a simple wedding: A high waisted skirt, purchased from Target on sale for $15, paired with a simple top that I already owned and a statement necklace to dress it up.

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Although I bought three different outfits, I used the same statement jewellery and black shoes (which I already owned), for all three outfits. I even painted my own nails!

All up, all three looks cost me a total of $80.50, which is roughly $320 less than what I spent on getting ready for the one wedding in my previous article.

What do you think, how do my $80 looks compare to my $400 look?

What’s Your opinion?


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3 Responses to
A guide to getting ready on the cheap
rosscoact 5:08 pm 26 May 15

Postalgeek said :

Sophia, you looked great in the previous article and you look great in this one. But it comes down to your own self-image, in which case cost doesn’t really have a play in it. If you think you look shmick in a $5 vinnies bargain then it’s not going to make your experience of the event you are attending any different from anything you might experience slathering hundreds of dollars in fashion SFX on yourself. You’ll still have a good time.

Not to mention the advantage of natural good looks. Some people can make a hessian sack look good. It should be said that some people would more mileage for their money if they spent it on a gym membership rather than a hair-stylist.

There is a curve plotted which shows the older you get, the more you have to pay to reach a suitable level of attractiveness, until you just give up and start going out in ugg boots and eating baked beans out of the can. YMMV

Postalgeek 12:35 pm 26 May 15

Sophia, you looked great in the previous article and you look great in this one. But it comes down to your own self-image, in which case cost doesn’t really have a play in it. If you think you look shmick in a $5 vinnies bargain then it’s not going to make your experience of the event you are attending any different from anything you might experience slathering hundreds of dollars in fashion SFX on yourself. You’ll still have a good time.

Not to mention the advantage of natural good looks. Some people can make a hessian sack look good. It should be said that some people would more mileage for their money if they spent it on a gym membership rather than a hair-stylist.

Masquara 9:48 pm 25 May 15

Ha ha look 3 is great. Fake tan definitely not needed. Good work!

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