Glam up a simple gown for a special occasion

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So you have a dress for prom. It’s a straight-forward little black dress or even a plain, but gorgeous, floor-length gown that fits like a dream. But it’s just too simple for you. It is one solid colour; or maybe the cut is just really basic. You really want to glam it up. Make it a little dressier, a little sparkly or perhaps a whole lot more glamorous.

Well if you’re off to your college prom, or any another dressy occasion – such as a wedding or awards dinner – and want to glam up your gown, here are some simple, fool-proof and affordable tips for taking your gown from plain to dazzling.

Eye make up The perfect homecoming dress for you may just need the right accessories and a quick fix for glamming up your simple outfit starts with eye makeup: adding dramatic eye makeup is one way to turn drab into fab. The difference between a simple brown eyeliner and basic mascara and smoky, dramatic eyes is the difference between a picnic dress and a special-event gown. Use black eyeliner on the top and bottom lids along with a smoky black eye shadow. If you have a paler skin colouring, you could even use a slightly lighter shadow like a brown or grey to achieve that smoky look without channelling Halloween! Check out this smoky eye tutorial on LuLu’s blog.

Glam hair and red lips Hollywood hair and red lips is completely timeless. Modern day celebs tend to repeat this old look over and over and for good reason: it is pure, instant glam. Prepare your lips with red lip liner and then use a red lipstick that flatters the tone of your skin. With this look you should go easy on the eye makeup or you could end up looking a little like a clown! Next, part your hair on the side and make big waves using a wide-barrel curling iron. Tousle the waves with your finger tips to get that soft, glamorous look and finish off with a sparkly clip.

Add a sparkly clutch If your dress isn’t as sparkly as you would like it to be, you can make up for it with your accessories. Look for a wide, dazzling clutch or a pretty beaded bag. A small clutch adorned with loads of different sequins will work well too to catch the light and make your outfit look more dressy.

Bejewelled footwear You’ve probably heard that shoes can make an outfit. And they sure can. If you have a basic dress or one that is all one colour, you can pair it with sparkly shoes to take it up a notch. Shop for stunning studded heels or even wild neon shoes, if you dare. Otherwise, choose pretty, sparkly stilettos to glam up your gown and add height so that your dress hangs beautifully.

Stack the bangles If there’s no sparkle on your dress, give your arms and wrists some. Mix and match a stack of bangles to glam up your ensemble. Don’t be afraid to mix bronze, silver and gold or use wide bracelets of different stones and jewels for a luxury look.

A statement necklace A big necklace filled with interesting details will add to any outfit. It’s a great way to glam up the neckline of simple dress for a big occasion. If your dress is strapless or high-necked the necklace will be the main focal point of the outfit so make sure it’s an attention-worth piece of jewellery! Just remember not to over-accessorise. Either go for the necklace or a stack of bangles – not both!

Hair glitz A piece of hair jewellery, elegantly placed in your up-do will also add instant glam to your special occasion ensemble. You don’t need to don a tiara – just a sparkly clip or artfully placed diamante or pearl pins will do the trick. In this instance you can pair a dazzling hair piece with a stack of bangles or glittery shoes to really glam up your simple dress.

I hope these tips will help you reuse your favourite dresses for any occasion and that you’ll be able to create a glamorous new look with the aid of just a few thrifty accessories. I have shared an featuring these tips so please click here to view it – Making a Simple Dress Look Sensational. Let me know if these ideas have helped and please leave me a comment with any more suggestions for glamming up your look for a big occasion – I’d love to hear from you!


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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