7 brands to shop for formal when you don't know where to start

Who, what, wear?

We've reached the home stretch here, ladies! The weather is officially beautiful, our classes are winding down (finals suck but at least once they start they're almost done) and it's time to find the perfect dress for formal. Before you start to worry about hair and makeup, it's time to find yourself a dress. Unfortunately, we're also at that point of the year where money starts to run a little dry, so it's not always the ideal time to treat yo self. Not sure where to start this journey? Can't swindle Mom into taking you shopping when you're home for the weekend? We totally hear you.

Good thing all of these brands offer student discounts 😉


As the reigning and undisputed champion of online shopping, ASOS is usually the first place we check when we're doing a bit of retail therapy. Their selection of formal dresses is page after page of perfection. Whether you're shopping your favorite designers at a slightly higher price point, or eyeballing something from the ASOS line, you'll find that they have something for everyone. They're all-inclusive when it comes to sizing, too, so girls of all shapes and sizes can find a dress for their special night.



We love all things BCBGeneration. Rarely do you find a brand that blends contemporary and timelessness so effortlessly, and their selection of formal dresses, though not extensive, are dance floor ready. We're particularly into their shorter dresses (though their floor-length dresses are also gems)-- they're equal parts feminine and tough, their silhouettes are uber-flattering, and you'll feel like the belle of the ball.


For Love & Lemons

Try a dress from For Love & Lemons and you won't have to worry about running into anyone else wearing the same thing. A celebrity favorite, their breezily unique SoCal aesthetic is perfect for girls that air on the side of boho, but the quality of fabric and design shine through in a serious way. In fun colors and imaginative silhouettes, you'll see exactly what kind of lemonade you can get when life hands you For Love & Lemons.



Head straight to Missguided if you're the trend-setting Queen of your sorority or on campus. I don't know how they do it, but they're lightyears ahead of trends and worth keeping an eye on for their KILLLLLLLLLER student-only sales. Like ASOS, they slay at dressing babes of all shapes and sizes in too-cool-for-school dresses (like the ones pictured-- STOP you're beautiful). We're loving the fresh looks pictured here that are super sexy but pretty enough that Mom won't have a problem footing the bill.


Princess Polly

Princess Polly is new on our radar, but with over 100 new designs hitting their site weekly, they've earned their keep on this list. The sassy Australian online boutique is a fashionista's dream come true and embodies that carefree Aussie vibe. Turn heads in a simple figure-hugging dress and then break necks in this sheer-metallic dream-come-true that'll have everyone asking you how Jay Z is doing because you look like Beyonce. Princess Polly


Alternative and underground fashion girls, it's time to find a dress that makes you wanna dance. Some of us still want to wear combat boots and chokers, even when we're talking formal apparel. You don't have to fit into someone else's ideals of what formal wear should be when you're shopping with UNIF. The LA based underground fashion brand gives off simultaneous creepy and sweet vibes, mixing feminine details like lace and ribbon with combat boots, sex appeal, and S&M inspired chokers.



Are you on a strict budget? Girl, same. Head straight to Boohoo because HOLY S#IT their selection is incredible and their prices are unreasonably low considering their clothes don't look cheap. You could probably spend an entire day surfing their site and not even get through it all, but they certainly have some standouts. Dare to be different and opt for some fancy pants like the matching separate below (undeniably appropriate for a formal) or keep it cool in a lacy number that looks every bit as expensive as a designer dress. Their plus size options are also worth noting-- way to go Boohoo.


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