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If you're getting ready to attend a black tie event, unless you've got a closet full of evening gowns ready to go, odds are you're gonna have to go shopping. And as anyone who's tried to do this before can tell you, it's a frustrating game. You'll probably only wear the dress once or twice, so you don't want to spend a ton of money; but as the occasion requires, you don't want to look cheap. Scan any department store or sort a site like Net-A-Porter by price and the options at the lower end of the spectrum are shamefully few, or even worse — boring.
But more recently, retailers like ASOS, Zara, and Missguided have stepped up to fill in this major gap in the market. It is possible to find a formal dress or jumpsuit for under $300 — and in some cases, well under $100 — without looking like a prom queen or a mother of the bride. Shop our favorite affordable evening looks for the season below.
& Other Stories Slit Slip Dress, $125.
Missguided Plus Slinky Kimono Dress, $50.40.
Zara Long Sequined Dress, $69.
ASOS Floral Jacquard Bardot Dress, $90.
Zara Polka Dot Tulle Dress, $99.
Missguided Peace + Love Black Lace Rose Fishtail Dress, $270.
Self Portrait Cutout Double Crepe Dress, $217.
Zara Velvet Crossover Dress, $50.
Boohoo Plus Off-the-Shoulder Slinky Maxi Dress, $30.