The first time I was invited to the Philadelphia Geek Awards, I actually panicked. It was black tie. I did not own anything close to formal, I didn’t know what to expect, but most importantly – I was extremely broke. I didn’t want to say no to the invitation, so I just had to figure it out.
Philadelphia Geek Awards 2012 (Left)
Gown: Wilbur’s Vintage
Jewelry: Old Navy Purse: Nova Ice Sandals: Payless
Total look with Alterations: $150
Philadelphia Geek Awards 2013 (Right)
Gown: Wilbur’s Vintage, 8-bit Necklace: Smak Parlour
Purse: Nova Ice Sandals: Moda
Total Look with Alterations: $175
This is my third year attending The Philadelphia Geek Awards and though I know what to expect, I still like to save as much as possible while still having fun. Also, at the bottom of this post is a giveaway to win a few items to add to your geek- chic (I know you cringed when reading that, but trust me, who doesn’t like something free?! Read on for a few tips!
1. Go Vintage, Consignment or Thrift
I have a tradition of buying my dress from Wilbur’s Vintage each year and I’ve always saved a few bucks. The first year I spent $80 on my gown and had it altered. The second year I found my gown on sale for $50, leaving plenty of financial room for alterations. This year I invested a little more, but since I love vintage and changed up my style, I looked at it as more of an investment. When trying on vintage, be sure to actually try everything on and not go by the size. Also, ask the store owner (or bring a friend in the know) to see what can be altered and what is a lost cause. Taking something a bit in or out can really make for an amazing gown. Not into the vintage look? Shops like Green Street Consignment and Second Time Around have plenty of gowns for resale at a low price. For even a lower price, try Philly AIDS Thrift. I found a great tulle gown for $20 last time I was there.
2. Shop Your Closet
Remember that amazing look you wore to that one wedding of your friends from preschool in Utah? Might as well get some wear out of it and forget the stores. The awards are fun, so that playful cocktail dress or colorful suit will fit right in.
3. Online (and Amazon are your friends), But You Already Know That
I fell in love with a few dresses on BCBG in the Sale and Runway section which are a lot cheaper than I expected. Items in the The runway section are final sale, but that just gives you a reason to stop into their Center City store to check out and try on a few of their sale items. I also like Blue Fly, but don’t forget to look at any of the big name department stores.
I hope I am not the only one to buy clothes along with food on Amazon Prime, but they have a pretty amazing section of dresses under $100. Or, if you want to spend a little over $100, I am personally fond of this one. With free shipping and returns for Prime members, I was able to find a blazer along with my Chinchilla hammock.
4. Rent to Your Heart’s Desire
Storing big dresses is the worst if you share a closet with someone. Trust me, I know. So why not rent with Rent the Runway. You can see actually photos from other people who have rented the dress you are interested in, get ratings, and they even send the dress in two sizes to make sure it fits you perfectly. But why wear a dress, which brings me to…
5. Forget the Dress; Go For A Suit or Something Else
A suit jacket and chiffon skirt with sandals or an amazing suit is a show stopper. Heels are overrated if no one will see them, plus there is an after party where you can go bowling! The Geek Awards are a time to geek creative with black tie. This isn’t your stuffy gala. Speaking of being creative…
6. Etsy Is Your Friend
7. Local boutiques are also your friends.
Lego Necklaces, 8-bit anything, or just something made locally to show your love of Philly is easy to find. Tselaine has an awesome collection of items for Men and Women including:
8. Don’t forget to save on Beauty!
The first year, I did my own hair and make-up, but I just big chopped, so my hair was pretty short to manage. Now finding someone to do my hair and make-up in the city is a new challenge, but I found a few people who do both or are giving a discount!
American Mortals are giving a onetime 20% off any products and/or services to anyone with a ticket to the Geek Awards. To the first person to schedule an appointment with them at either location, they will win a pair of Nancy Hendricks Watch Part Cufflinks. Set up an appointment online at their site!
Elizabeth Terenchin is giving a discount for the Geek Awards for make-up and is taking a few more clients. You can find her portfolio and contact information at http://www.makeupartistliz.com to set-up an appointment.
Speaking of adding some style to your Geek Awards look, you tell us in the comments what you do to save money on style.
>>>Here is a chance to win a pair of tri-force earrings from Smak Parlour or a bronze vintage necklace from Wilbur’s Vintage.<<<
I look forward to seeing you August 16th!