Sure – it’s the rite of passage that few young women want to miss out on: the Debs.
But while it’s certainly a glamorous night to remember, it’s also a seriously pricey event. In fact, the recent SHEmazing! Debs survey, which was released earlier this month, revealed that some gals are spending more than a GRAND on their soiree.
It’s easy to baulk, but by the time you tot up hair, makeup, accessories and shoes – not to mention The Dress – costs can quickly spiral.
So we challenged one of Ireland’s top bloggers, Lorna Duffy from FashionBoss.ie, to create a stunning Debs look… and ALL for less than €100.
It was certainly a tall order, but suffice to say we are pretty impressed with the results…
"Overwhelmed at first, when I decided to take on the SHEmazing! Debs-look challenge I was actually pleasantly surprised by just how much €100 will buy you.
"Over the course of around two hours, I hit five stores in a bid to get a great gown. And when I eventually found it – in Debenhams – I knew I’d stumbled upon the perfect look.
"Firstly, I was really impressed with the variety Debenhams has on offer. There are dresses in there (and online) for as little as €50 and plenty of simple and elegant styles.
"I settled on a €70 full-length black dress with gold detailing on the front and a gorgeous criss-cross back.
"Next, I headed out to find a bag, and in the end I picked up a €23 clutch from Parfois; it looks really expensive too.
"I have to say I was really worried about sourcing decent shoes under budget but when I walked into Penneys I discovered my ideal pair… for a fiver!
"They’re simple and black and not too high so you won’t be crippled by midnight.
"They also have a mesh detail which makes them look that bit more upmarket.
"While I was in Penneys, I also picked up a pair of really nice earrings for just €1.50. They have slight drop, a little bit of sparkle and are very elegant.
"When I came to hair and makeup, my gorgeous model Mei-Ling Tong and I looked at a load of YouTube tutorials and clips for inspiration.
"There are so many incredible videos on offer there really is no need to fork out a lot of money to complete your look.
"Actually, the one thing I learned from this challenge is that yes, with a small amount to spend you do really have to be ruthless and you have to be efficient.
"However, that certainly doesn’t mean you’ll look any less incredible on the night itself."
How Fashion Boss pulled together the look for just €99.49…
1) Dress: €70 from Debenhams.ie, currently on sale for €56 (with gowns available from €31.50)
2) Bag: €22.99 from Parfois.com
3) Shoes: €5 (on sale) from Penneys stores nationwide
4) Earrings: €1.50 from Penneys stores nationwide
5) Hair and makeup: YouTube tutorials
PLUS… Don't miss Fashion Boss Lorna Duffy’s top five tips for cutting the cost of your Debs:
1) Shop around: Boutiques and specialist stores tend to sell expensive dresses but they often have sales so make sure to keep an eye out. Otherwise, hit the High Street. And the more you browse the better!
2) Plan: Do your dress research online first to give yourself a better idea of what styles and colours you might like. This will also save time when you do go shopping
3) Fancy footwork: First of all, your shoes NEED to be comfortable. If you're wearing full-length you won't even necessarily see a lot of what's on your feet – so don't go mad. You might even have a pair lying around at home.
4) Accessories: Most of us definitely have wow-pieces from a previous special occasion so get rooting. Charity shops are a good bet too.
5) Ask for favours: Most of the time, your aunt or granny will be delighted to lend you something or other. Or you might have a cousin with a dress just gathering dust in the wardrobe. We all like to have new things… but don’t dismiss borrowing either.