I love to dress up, but dressing up for a special occasion is a whole other love! A glam look is my absolute favorite to put together – from the shoes to the dress, hair, and makeup. It’s not something we can do everyday and I love to take inspiration from Couture and Red Carpet looks. But, I don’t like how much it costs to look and feel glam, especially, if I’m only going to wear the outfit once. When it comes to fashion my thing is bougie on a budget, so I love doing it for formal outfits too. My Mom taught me how to be glam on budget. Every formal occasion (specifically High School Dances) we’d always head straight to the sale rack for dresses/gowns. She couldn’t afford to get me dresses full priced, but proved to me money doesn’t buy style. And, she showed me how. Everyone would compliment me on my outfit during those occasions and whatever I wore never cost a crazy amount. It was always a fun challenge for my Mom and I to bargain hunt for the perfect dress and shoes.  I also won Best Style in High School – even on a budget – so I like to prove this is possible. 


My Mom was and still is a big believer that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a great outfit. And, that’s my philosophy with every outfit I share with ya’ll. I definitely believe in investing in high quality designer pieces (shared my designer handbag collection) and I love a good used designer bag too. Style is about catering to your body type and wearing what makes you happy – no mater how much it cost. I like to prove our (my Mom and I) philosophy to you with every outfit and every blog post. 


So, I wanted to show ya’ll how I do that for a black tie wedding I attended. A friend from High School got married and the dress code was Black Tie. They have exquisite taste, so I knew it was going to be bougie and elegant, so I wanted to to challenge myself on budget. I totally wanted to do it in a couture dress/red carpet way, so I challenged myself  to pull together a full Black Tie look for $100. 


Tips for picking the perfect Dress: 

  • Fabric (it will instantly make an outfit look more expensive)

    •  I like Sequins, Beads, Satin, Velvet and Chiffon. Sometimes beaded, sequin or satin dresses can be a bit pricey, but you can definitely find a dress for $150 on Asos.  
  • Fit over style 

    • Look for a dress that suits your body type. When a dress fits your body type it looks like it was made for you. You’ll definitely want the dress to fit you perfectly, so a tailor is key too. A dress that is tailored to your body will instantly make it look handmade, even couture like. Fit makes an outfit look and feel way more expensive. Couture and red carpet looks are always well-made and tailored to perfection, so be sure to visit the tailor. 
  • Accessorize Accessorize Accessorize 

    • The accessories you choose will tie a whole look together and instantly elevate it. Statement earrings, a nice clutch, and a good shoes totally makes an outfit super elegant. If you’re on the hunt for an affordable shoe shop check out MissLola. I picked out a pair for the Cocktail party and they were super elegant. You can also use promo code IMLVH for discount. 

My Picks:



I decided to shop online for my dress. I prefer to see a variety of options and I like to see fabric details and reviews on how they fit. Like I said, I’m going for a Couture/Red Carpet vibe, but on a budget. The stores I found the most unique and elevated pieces were Nasty Gal & ASOS. Unfortunately, my NastyGal package got held up, so it didn’t arrive in time – thankful I ordered a handful from ASOS, which I shared in this video. I’m bummed, because NastyGal was having their 50% sale, so I scored a couple of dresses that ranged for $20 – $40, but I loved the ASOS dresses. 

So, I ordered 6 dresses from ASOS, so I could have a couple to try-on and choose from. I’m pleasantly surprised with the quality of the dresses. I followed my tips and totally went with the black velvet one. This dress was $87. After I picked this dress I decided to keep the whole look elegant and understated. I picked out a variety of dresses from Asos, but the velvet was so luxe and couture to me I opted for that one.  I didn’t buy new shoes for this look, because I invested in a pair of Stuart Weitzman Nudsit heel years ago and they’re super elegant. They were my first full priced designer shoes and they’ve been totally worth the investment. They’re my go to for every special occasion. I ended up borrowing.a really chic Vintage handbag from my Mom, so that didn’t cost me anything. And, opted for diamonds studs, shiny waved hair, and glowy makeup. Since I didn’t have to buy new shoes or a bag my outfit came out to $90, because of tax. 

I’m happy with my look and how it turned out, so I hope it’s proof that you can totally pull an outfit together affordably with the few tips I shared above. 


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