Are you attending a formal wedding this summer, a black-tie charity fundraiser, or maybe even a ball? If you are, then lucky you! But what will you wear? For most of us, spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a dress you’ll wear just one night is out of the question. So what’s a gal to do? I have five ways you can look like a million at your next formal event without busting your budget. 1. Browse your closet before you go shopping. Why not work with what you’ve got and get creative? That yellow satin shift dress you wore to Aunt Vera’s vow renewal five years ago is a little dated now but with a couple alterations and the addition of a great pair of magenta heels and some aqua-blue chandelier earrings, everyone will think you bought it last week! 2. Shop secondhand. Many thrift shops, consignment stores and even garage sales have lots of formal and semi-formal dresses that have only been worn once, maybe twice. Since you likely won’t pay much for a secondhand dress, be open to hiring a seamstress to make alterations if needed. 3. Make an investment. Buy a classic, good quality dress like a sheath, shift or a-line in a solid color and accessorize it with a statement necklace, silk scarf, belt, or jacket. Purchase the best dress your budget will allow because this dress is an investment piece and something you’ll be able to wear in a variety of situations depending on how you style it. From your nephew’s wedding to an important business meeting, a ladies’ luncheon to a New Year’s Eve party, this dress will be the workhorse of your wardrobe. 4. Borrow from a friend. If your closet is full of boyfriend jeans, baseball caps, sneakers and tee shirts – not a dress in sight – ask one of your girlier girlfriends if you can borrow one of theirs. Take excellent care of it and be prepared to pay her the cost of the dress should you damage or stain it beyond repair. Be sure to return it in a timely manner, freshly dry cleaned and don’t forget to include a thank you card and small gift. 5. Rent your dream dress. Do you have champagne tastes on a beer budget? Wow everyone in the latest designer fashions by renting a fabulously expensive dress for a fraction of its price. There are several different rental companies you can rent your dress from, often even in your home town. Photos: from renttherunway.com I have a passion for fashion! If you do too, consider subscribing to once a week emailed Skimbaco Fashion feed and never miss my fashion post.