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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. 



Lorna Jane Duffy is the mastermind behind Fashion Boss, an Irish site dedicated to all things fashion and beauty.

We're huge fans of LJ's blog, especially her beauty reviews, so we asked her to give us the lowdown on her favourite products, tips and tricks… as well as a sneaky peek into her make-up bag!

1. What's your best budget beauty buy?
Rimmel BB Cream 9 in 1 has to be one of my best budget buys. It’s affordable, it primes, moisturises, minimises pores, conceals, covers, smoothes, mattifies, brightens, and protects your skin from the sun.

If you like your products to work hard then this is 100% for you. I would wear BB cream mostly during the week; it’s great for casual days out, college or work. 

2. What's your top make-up tip?
Killer cheekbones are a must! To make round cheeks more chiselled, you’ll need a highlighting powder and a bronzer that is two shades darker than your skin. Make a fish face, and dust the bronzer on the hollows of your cheeks. Smile, then brush the highlighter from the apples of your cheeks to your temples. P.S… MAC and Benefit are two of my favourite brands for highlighting powder and bronzer.

3. Do you have a favourite all-round beauty product?
Absolutely! I think every girl has that one beauty product that they take anywhere and everywhere. Mine would have to be No.7 Stay Perfect Lipstick in Sultry. I never leave the house without my lippy buried somewhere in my MK bag.  The colour is gorgeous and it lasts up to eight hours, while leaving your lips feeling comfortable and hydrated. Oh, and it’s only €12.95.

4. What's your earliest beauty memory?
Oh gosh! I have so many memories, it’s hard to pick one. When I was about five I found and emptied the contents of my mom’s makeup bag, I then “borrowed” her lipstick, hid under the kitchen table and decided to start drawing on my face. A girl is never too young to start playing with her mother’s makeup. 

5. Most girls have a signature scent – what's yours?
I love to collect perfume, my dressing table is full of so many different types – Chanel, Paco Rabanne, Viktor & Rolf, Victoria’s Secret, Vera Wang, the list goes on…! My favourite perfume this season would have to be Dolce & Gabbana – The One!

6. What's in your make-up bag right now? Can we have a peek inside?

  • Mac Studio Fix Fluid Foundation
  • Naked 2 – Urban Decay Eyeshadow
  • MAC Mascara
  • MAC Whirl Lip Pencil
  • MAC Cosmetics Mineralise Foundation Powder
  • MAC Faux Lipstick
  • No.7 Red Lipstick
  • Nivea Care Essential Lip Balm
  • Rimmel London BB Cream – Matte
  • Bourjois Eye Pencil
  • Bourjois Eye Liquid Eyeliner 

For more fab beauty and style advice, check out Fashion Boss, or follow Lorna on Twitter and Instagram!