The Bradshaw Budget: Sorority Formal


// As Carrie Bradshaw once said, “I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet.” And while I completely agree with her, as a broke college student, I don’t exactly have a ton of money OR a ton hanging in my closet. But that didn’t stop her from being fabulous! So I decided to start a column, The Bradshaw Budget, for when we all have one of those days. Or weeks. Or months.  In every BB post, every item of clothing or make-up I talk about is under $50. I know that’s still somewhat pricey, so don’t worry. A lot of items will be way less. Until we can actually be Carrie… xoxo JM \\

This past week I had my sorority’s Formal, the Pink Carnation Ball. The past two years when I have gone to this event my outfit had been pre-decided. Freshman year I wore my high school senior year Prom dress, and then sophomore year I borrowed my roommate’s dress because we’re exactly the same size. But this year, I had no clue what I was going to wear, AND my long distance boyfriend was flying in for the event, so I wanted it to be special and look my absolute best.

Now, living in Alabama, I don’t always have every option in the world at my fingertips. Choices can be extremely limited, especially in February, when the local mall hasn’t even stocked up for prom yet. So, on a Friday when I didn’t have classes I put on my war gear and headed into battle. I went to all four department stores in our mall, as well as the few normal apparel stores I sometimes shop at. I struck out at every single store. Nothing. Nada. Literally zero.

I wasn’t really in the mood to give up, as my back up option was to spend at LEAST $80 or more on Rent the Runway for a dress to only have for one night. I decided to keep looking and went to the local TJ Maxx. TJ Maxx had nothing, which really started to upset me because our TJ Maxx in Florida is incredible. However, this TJ Maxx was right next to a Ross, (#DressForLess) and I decided to give it one last shot. The second I walked in it was like Heaven had opened up and sent angels down just for me and my impossible task. The entire front of the store was COVERED in dresses. A million kinds. Long, short, formal, casual, sparkly, funky, you name it. They had women’s, juniors, petite, etc. It was endless. I took my sweet time, picked out eight dresses that I thought would fit and looked ~formal enough, and then I went to the dressing room. They all fit, which within itself is a MIRACLE because I am 5’1 and usually dresses are way too long on me. But they all fit. And one of them stood out above the rest. It was red, long, soft, had a V-neck and a beautiful gold belt line on the front. It fit perfectly, I snapped it to my mom, my sister, my roommate and my boyfriend, and got raving reviews back. I decided it was #meant2be and I bought it! Now, being from Ross, it was EXTREMELY affordable, so I decided to splurge a little more and buy some gold jewelry to go with it.

I was already heading to Target to do a grocery run, so while there I checked out their jewelry and ended up buying a gorgeous gold cuff bracelet, and matching large gold hoop earrings. I knew it was perfect, and when I got home I started looking up hairstyles to go with this look. I decided a Grecian Goddess braid-crown, flowing curls look would be the best, and I took some screenshots from Pinterest to show my friend who would do my hair when the night came.

Everything came together so effortlessly and so perfectly, it was incredible. I was so excited how little I had to spend to look so great and feel so confident for a fun evening with my boyfriend and my sorority sisters! I would recommend shopping at Ross or TJ Maxx to anyone who is in a bind or has a smaller budget for a certain event! Definitely worth it.

As always, send me your thoughts on shopping with a budget and your favorite go-to formal looks! I love hearing from you!! xoxo, JM


ITEMS: (No links because I literally can’t find anything I bought on the internet. I am so sad!!) 

  1. Dress – $14.99
  2. Gold cuff – $11.99
  3. Earrings – $7.99

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *