User Menu

Four debs dresses for under €50

It’s one of the biggest parties of a teenager's life but how much does a dress have to cost?

Savvy debs know that the less spent on the showstopper dress – which may never be worn again – leaves more to spend on accessories like a great pair of shoes or a bag, items with longer lifespans.

This is the time of year when school uniforms are discarded, celebration is in the air and thousands of school-leavers are prowling around for that red carpet magic and the chance to make a big impact when dressing up for the big night.

Many bargain hunters and budget shoppers head to bricks-and-mortar shops just to try on and choose the styles they like and then make their final purchase online, leaving more room for their accessories, hair and makeup.

Last year tight fits and Bardot necklines/cold shoulders were the most favoured looks and still remain popular. We’ve chosen five dresses for under €50 to show what’s currently on offer, with one standout item over €100 from Folkster, whose sweetheart neckline, fit and flare 50s-style mesh dress was the debs frock to be seen in the 2015/2016 season.

Four of last year’s debs reveal the secrets of their buys and offer advice to the new season’s novices.

Lisa Douglas

Lisa Douglas in her 2016 debs dress from TK Maxx €68.99

Lisa went to the Loreto Beaufort debs in October last year wearing a long dress from R & M Richards fished out in TK Maxx for €68.99. With it she wore a silver sparkly clutch from New Look, a diamond necklace and a pair of strappy beige heels from Folkster. “If I could do it all again, I wouldn’t change the outfit I wore. But I was not happy with my hair which was not what I had envisaged. I should have asked for something a little softer to harmonise with the entire outfit, so it’s important to communicate what you want with the MUA/stylist”.

Edel Palmer

Edel’s Institute of Education graduation ball was in the Aviva Stadium and she wore a full-length scarlet mermaid-style halter-neck dress embellished with red jewellery from Rosie’s Closet in Newry, having seen Facebook posts. “It was very long, but I felt it could have been shorter because I didn’t get to throw my hands in the air and was worried about standing on it or tripping over it while walking or dancing.” Keep an open mind about choices and try something you wouldn’t usually go for and make sure it’s comfortable as well as gorgeous, she advises. “The right one will give you butterflies. It will make you feel giddy and you won’t be able to explain why.”

Heather Croghan

Heather Croghan in her deep green halter debs dress from Marian Gale

Heather wore a deep green halter-neck to her debs which she bought in Marian Gale in Ballsbridge with comfortable shoes. “The dress was not cinched in to extremes, so I was comfortable and happy and would do it all again in a heartbeat.” Her advice? “Don’t stress. Something will go wrong. Maybe nothing major but your hair may not be exactly as you imagined, your makeup might be slightly off. Your date may be 15 minutes late. No matter what happens it will always be one of the most magical and memorable nights of your life and the last real get-together with your entire year before you go to college.”

Zoe Palmer

Zoe Palmer in her 2016 debs dress, a Frock N Fabulous gown reduced from €1,000 to €300

Zoe’s “find of the century” was a Frock N Fabulous embellished gown reduced from €1,000 to €300, and “I felt like the belle of the ball”, she says. Go to places that rent out evening dresses during their sales time to get a good bargain, she advises. “You get one shot at your big night and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone stylewise and try different colours. I would never have chosen the colour [champagne] but it turned out to be the one that suited me best.”

(Additional reporting by Amelia O’Mahony Brady)

Four for under €50

Black floral printed velvet ruched bandeau midi dress €35 from Pretty Little Thing. This rose-adorned number boasts an alternative hemline to floor-dusting frocks – your shoes will show.

Boohoo cold shoulder crochet neck maxi €47.30. A lace-trimmed nod to the shoulder-baring trend that took the summer high street collection by storm. This maxi is a versatile buy and, post debs night, might make a perfect addition to the summer getaway packing.

Lottie satin bow back maxi €35. Long black dresses are foolproof options, offering the perfect base for colourful jewellery or minimal metallic-hued accessories.

Missguided red sweetheart neck Bardot tie maxi €48. A cherry red that suits most complexions with a sweetheart neckline and an imaginative take on the off-the-shoulder style.

Missguided red sweetheart neck Bardot tied maxi €48. A cherry red that suits most complexions with an imaginative take on the off-the-shoulder style plunge split maxi €33.60. Midnight blue suits the midnight hours and this homegrown online retailer has an expansive range of dresses.

Folkster’s classic Valentina gown which also comes in navy or grey is a subdued and sophisticated alternative to dressier styles and is still great value at €139.

Mauve classic Valentina gown €139. Also comes in navy or grey. On sale online and instore from Folkster