Broke-Ass Category: Shopping


Yay! Wedding season is coming! You’ve gotten a stack of Save the Dates all stuck on your fridge, your calendar is filled out and you’re looking forward to it. It’s so full of love, fun, friends, reunions, Champagne …

And wardrobe worries.

With all these weddings, ranging from black tie to destination to cocktail dress codes, what’s a broke-ass to do? The same getup surely won’t suffice for this range of occasions.

Luckily, the Gilt Wedding Event is going on RIGHT NOW, which means you can score a plethora of designer duds for a fraction of the retail price. Add a little bauble here, a strappy sandal there and mix in a new LBD … and voila! You’re stylin’ and high-profilin’ without breaking the bank!

With the Gilt Wedding Event offerings, you can easily find super affordable pieces to update your current wardrobe, or if you sleuth hard enough, you could emerge with a whole new range of options just for this season’s events!

Black Tie

The wedding budget might be high, but that doesn’t mean you need to bust your own budget finding the right outfit! Here are 11 pieces we love under $150:

Lotus Threads Floral Brocade Dress, $123.99 | Kenneth Jay Lane Triple Wire Ball Statement Earrings, $25| ABS by Allen Schwartz Lace Scalloped Inset Gown, $129.99 | Halston Heritage Jersey Twist Keyhole Dress, $114.99 | Lucca Couture Off Shoulder Maxi Dress, $65 | Kenneth Jay Lane Pearl Textured Oval Statement Ring, $25 | Ava & Aiden Bow Back High Heel Sandal, $79 | Amarita Singh Karina Drop Earrings, $14.99 | Ava & Aiden Cutout Leather Sandal $119 | Cara Couture Jewelry Black Line Drop Earrings, $39

Daytime / Destination

There’s nothing quite like a light, airy dress, fun pops of accessories and generally looking amazeballs in broad daylight. Here are some of our favorite items for under $150:

Walter Baker Derdra Floral Dress, $99 | Shoshanna One Side Seam Fit and Flare Dress, $89.99 | Likely Avalon Pleated Midi Dress, $99 | Adrianna Papell Embellished Pleated A-Line Dress, $125 | Gorjana Mae Shimmer CZ Pendant Necklace, $35 | Ava & Aiden Gathered Flare Dress, $65 | Seychelles Thyme Wedge Sandal, $75 | Amrita Singh Sonia Cuff, $25 | Jules Smith Gemma Drop Earrings, $35 | Paper Crown Mesa Dress, $119 | Paper Crown Maricopa Dress, $109 | Elorie High Heel Two Piece Sandal, $69 | DVF Soiree Small Leather Crossbody, $109 | C/meo Collective Hold Tight Slip Dress, $65

Cocktail Hour / All Dolled Up

Somewhere between the more relaxed daytime event and the swanky black-tie soiree is the uber glam yet still fun cocktail hour wedding. We dug up 14 pieces perfect for one of these fun affairs for under $150:

Rachel Rachel Roy Ombre Sequin Sheath Dress, $85 | Pure Navy V-Neck Choker Sheath Dress, $99 | Ava & Aiden Bow Back High Heel Sandal, $89 | Pure Navy Off the Shoulder Dress, $125 | Amrita Singh Cleo Drop Earrings, $25 | Rachel Rachel Roy Striped Sequin Shift Dress, $99 | Amrita Singh Ayla Drop Earrings, $29 | Schutz Glassy Strappy Leather Sandal, $89 | Cara Couture Jewelry Blue White Crystal Drop Earrings, $29 | Renvy Sequin Sheath Dress, $99.99 | Pure Navy Halter Fit ‘n’ Flare Dress, $49.99 | Kenneth Jay Lane Faceted Emerald Crystal Teardrop Earrings, $49.99

Of course, these picks are only a small smattering of the options available, and if you have a little more to splurge, there are plenty of haute pieces available. Gilt is also a great destination for those wedding gifts, whether you’re building your own registry or buying for friends. But hurry! The Gilt Wedding Event ends in 2 days!

Click here to shop the Gilt Wedding Event today!

  • 3/31

    Picking out your wedding wear is a major milestone in the planning process, but how do you know if that online order is a good idea? With so many concerns about overseas sellers, mother of the bride Leisa hit us up for some advice on how to know the buying experience will be a good one. She writes:

    I am the mother of the bride who will be married in September 23, 2017. I have been doing a lot of research in helping her to find a wedding dress. It is overwhelming, to say the least. There are so many beautiful and more affordable dresses on Etsy; many of which are made overseas. I would like to hear from more people about their experiences in ordering dresses online.  You have many posts that highlight Etsy sellers’ gowns, but I’d like to here about experiences in ordering them; which are reliable, no hidden costs, etc.   Thank you…I love your posts!

    Hi, Leisa and thanks for reading!

    It’s a great question and one that comes up often when looking for a dress. It’s no secret that cheap knock-offs exist on all corners of the internet, and Etsy, despite its handmade reputation isn’t immune. Of course, beautiful, quality dresses abound and there are a few things to look for to ensure that deal is worth making. Wedding planning sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire have entire forums for brides who’ve bought dresses from Etsy which can be an invaluable source for first-hand experiences. For some tips on knowing when you’ve found a great seller, I’ll do a little experiment with you:

    Etsy feather ballgown dress

    Feathered lace gown available from Etsy seller CustomDress1900

    After going to Etsy’s wedding dress and separates section, I pulled this ornate gown with a sub-$500 price because I was suspicious. It looks like a lot of dress for the money.

    When you click on a dress you’ve already cursory looked at the picture, so the first thing to check out (before you fall in love with a dress that may not be the real deal!) is the product name; there can be clues there. “Vintage Lace Wedding Dress Beige Champagne Wedding Gowns Formal Bridal Gown Princess Luxury Puffy Feather Lace Dress for Wedding” is a LOT of words, BUT they all apply to the dress. Some sellers stuff their titles so full of keywords to make customers more likely to find the item from a variety of searches.

    The problem is when they use misleading or completely untrue words simply because customers frequently search for those words.

    If the title had included, say, beaded or mermaid or gold, potential scam alert! If they’re scammy with their title they’re likely to be scammy with their sales.

    Looking for items with multiple photos including close-ups is smart, but pay attention to what’s in the photos. This dress is displayed on a mannequin, not a model and watermarked with the shop name. Personally, I count that as a plus. If someone is selling a knock-off, they frequently lift the photo from designer websites which almost always have a model wearing the dress. If the picture looks like it came straight out of a bridal magazine, chances are it did — but your dress didn’t.

    If you suspect that might be the case (or just want to make double sure), do a reverse photo search on Google.

    For anyone unfamiliar with that process, save a picture to your own computer, then go to the Google homepage. Up in the right hand corner you’ll see “images” in small text; click on that and a camera icon will appear in the search bar. Click on the camera and upload the picture. This will bring up sites where the image appears. Other than a couple instances where someone saved it to Pinterest, every instance of this photo comes from this seller. It’s probable that this dress is an original!

    Customdress1900 google image search

    Now it’s time to move on to reviews. Under “feedback” there are over 400 reviews, but they’re for the entire store, not the specific dress. However, out of those 400+ reviews, this shop still averages 5 stars and many of the reviews include pictures of the dress received (bonus information). Take some time to read the comments and look for genuine-sounding, emotional words. A store can have thousands of five-star ratings, but if the comments are just a bunch of “great seller” and “item as pictured,” you may be looking at fake feedback.

    Even if an item doesn’t have dedicated feedback, looking at the store’s info can bring up some make-it-or-break-it points.

    By clicking on the store name at the top of the page, you’ll be redirected to the store front. Right at the top are the three numbers you want to see.

    Customdress1900 homepage

    Customdress1900 has racked up almost 1,600 sales and has been in business on Etsy since 2013. Rip-off sites that accrue too many negative reviews will shut a page down and start a new one, so it’s wise look for businesses that have been operating at least two years. Again, we see there are 403 reviews, almost all of which are five stars. Highlights in the first few comments are that the owner of this site is great with communication, accepts custom orders and ships quickly.

    If everything checks out but you’re still uncomfortable, use the “Ask the seller a question” button to send them a direct message. A reputable seller should get back to you within a couple days with a professional demeanor and relevant answers to your questions. Once you feel comfortable with a seller, have a seamstress take the necessary measurements and double, no, triple check the information before sending it along. This is your dressmaker’s only tangible way of figuring the proper fit, so it’s best to be exact!

    I hope this gives you some peace of mind as you go forth on the great dress hunt!

    Do you have any additional bits of wisdom on how to be sure you’re not getting ripped off? Share in the comments!

  • 3/30

    I teamed up with For the Chef, who provided me with a few good tools, to work to create healthy meals that fit into tight schedules. When you're knee-deep in wedding planning, running from this appointment to that, testing out different vendors, planning various parties and generally trying to keep your shit together, one of the first things that tends to fall by the wayside…

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    BHLDN Gift Sets, $50 – In Dot or Solid (Comes with a tie, tie bar and pocket square) Dudes! Have you heard about the new collab between BHLDN and The Tie Bar? For those who may not know, BHLDN is the wedding collection by Anthropologie. They're pretty major in the bridal scene (obvs your fiancée has read about them here, here and here) and it…

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    Hi BABs!  This week's request comes from reader Randi, who is in love with a Carol Hannah gown: "I love your Can't Afford It? Get Over It! posts... And your book. If I could climb a mountain (Hard to find in New Jersey...) and sing its praises, I would, but for now I've been recommending it to all my newly engaged broke-ass friends. I recently…

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  • 3/22

    Buying the ring for that first question -- that all-important question that gets couples started down the road on their next chapter together -- tends to come with a lot of pressure. What style? What size? And especially, how damn much will this cost? It's that last question that can really send any broke-ass couple into a tailspin -- especially when you start hearing things…

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    This week's request comes from reader Tammi for a very unique look: "Can't Afford it - I'm looking for something like the green version of Jenny Packham's Joy dress. You did such a great job finding alternatives with the JP dress before, I'm hoping you can help me. I can't find anything else even remotely similar anywhere. My budget is under $1500, preferably closer to…

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    We love us some good wedding stationery. And we love us a good sale. It's like pure wedding planning bliss, though, when the two collide. Enter: Wedding Paper Divas' sublime Anniversary Sale. Let's back up a bit. See, our friends at Wedding Paper Divas don't mess around when it comes to stationery. They have perfected the fine art of making wedding paper goods approachable, affordable and…

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  • 2/24

    Harwick Duffel Bag, $98 from J. Crew Let's talk about baggage (no, not THAT kind of baggage). Planning a honeymoon in Hawaii? A getaway wedding in New Hampshire? No matter what the occasion is, when it comes to prepping for a trip, quality luggage should always be the first thing you consider. Shoddy luggage will wear quickly with all the throwing around and your stuff…

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