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37 Beautiful Formal Dresses You Can Actually Afford

Gorgeous gowns and cocktail numbers that cost less than $100. PRAISE BE! If you still need a prom dress, this is the post for you.

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1. An off-shoulder lace dress with a soft lining AKA the lace won't feel itchy or scratchy on your skin. Comfort over everything, am I right?

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "This is one of the most comfortable and elegant dresses I've ever owned. The top layer is all lace and there's a cotton fabric underneath, which makes the dress so comfortable." —diws143

Get it from Amazon for $22.99+ (available in sizes S-3X and in nine colors).

2. A pleated midi dress sure to make its way into your closet, even if it has to beg and pleat for a spot.

Get it from Asos for $64 (available in sizes 0-14).
us.asos.com

Get it from Asos for $64 (available in sizes 0-14).

3. An elegant mermaid-style dress that is *obviously* something Ariel would wear. You know, after the whole contract with Ursula/marrying Prince Eric thing.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "I cannot tell you enough how perfect this dress was for an event I went to! I ordered a size up and it fit perfectly. For the price, you cannot go wrong — plus, it came quickly!" —Sara Grigsby

Get it from Amazon for $75.99 (available in sizes 2-16 and in seven colors).

4. A v-neck trumpet gown to solve all bride-to-be woes. Still looking for a dress for your bridesmaids? Well DING DING DING because this one is a winner.

Promising review: "This is a beautiful dress! It fits like a glove, the adjustable straps are great, and the material has a great weight to it!" —Brittany88Get it from Nordstrom for $84 (available in sizes XS-XL and in three colors).
click.linksynergy.com

Promising review: "This is a beautiful dress! It fits like a glove, the adjustable straps are great, and the material has a great weight to it!" —Brittany88

Get it from Nordstrom for $84 (available in sizes XS-XL and in three colors).

5. A halter fishtail bandage dress you won't need to be wary of buying. It does not smell fishy at all, I PROMISE.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "This dress is PERFECT! I got so compliments on it all night. It's snug, but the length and fishtail detail made it classy for the wedding I attended. The material is a sturdy, thick elastic, the zipper was great, and this seller is always awesome — they never disappoint!" —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $54+ (available in sizes XS-XL and in six colors).

6. A midi dress with HIDDEN 👏 POCKETS 👏. Go ahead, don't be shy. I would appreciate the round of applause.

Promising review: "This is such a superb dress! The material feels silky and sexy, it hits mid-calf, and the pockets are obviously a huge plus, too. This is such a great, comfortable piece that you can dress up or down." —Ronda Get it from ModCloth for $89 (available in sizes XXS-4X and in two colors).
ModCloth

Promising review: "This is such a superb dress! The material feels silky and sexy, it hits mid-calf, and the pockets are obviously a huge plus, too. This is such a great, comfortable piece that you can dress up or down." —Ronda

Get it from ModCloth for $89 (available in sizes XXS-4X and in two colors).

7. A floral lace evening dress that looks like it was plucked (guitar-string style) from the racks of the COOLEST vintage shop in existence.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "After fruitlessly browsing Rent the Runway for an upcoming black tie wedding, I took a chance and ordered this dress instead. The material feels much more high quality than a $50 dress, and the fabric has some 'heft' to it that moves really nicely when you walk. If you're on the fence about this dress, please go for it — especially for this price, it was a great deal!" —Betsy

Get it from Amazon for $38.99+ (available in sizes S-3X and in four colors).

8. A butterfly print fit-to-flare dress you may want to be careful with. It's been known to spread its wings and fly away...

Get it from Boohoo for $35 (originally $58, available in sizes 4-10).
anrdoezrs.net

Get it from Boohoo for $35 (originally $58, available in sizes 4-10).

9. A halter dress with lace overlay that looks SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive than it actually is.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "This dress is so beautiful! I wore it to my cousin's black tie optional wedding and it was perfect! It was very comfortable and the material was stretchy, so I could move around easily. I got several compliments on how beautiful it was, and I would definitely recommend this to a friend." —Kelly

Get it from Amazon for $12.99+ (available in sizes S-XXL and in 14 colors).

10. A lavender-colored ruffle dress perfect for any wedding, bridal shower, graduation party, baby shower, first birthday party, second birthday party, etc.

Get it from Revolve for $66 (available in sizes XXS-L and in two colors).
anrdoezrs.net

Get it from Revolve for $66 (available in sizes XXS-L and in two colors).

11. An off-the-shoulder dress complete with a thigh-high slit. This is sure to make you look at your reflection and say, "YOWZA".

showpo.com

Promising review: "This dress is gorgeous! The fabric is soft and substantial, it's not cheaply-made or see-through, and I’m blown away by how wonderfully it fits. I think just found my new favorite clothing site!" —Erica

Get it from Showpo for $69.96 (available in sizes 0-16 and in five sizes).

12. A sleek sheath dress that proves that it is, in fact, easy being green. *proceeds to sip tea*

Get it from Eloquii for $99 (available in sizes 14-28 and in three colors).
anrdoezrs.net

Get it from Eloquii for $99 (available in sizes 14-28 and in three colors).

13. A fringed dress stolen directly from Zelda Fitzgerald's closet. This gorgeous number has 🎶 "SING, SING, SING" 🎶 written all over it.

amazon.com

Promising review: "I was incredibly impressed with the quality of this dress, especially considering the price. It's well-beaded and heavy, and it hangs perfectly. It also isn't too tight and I got plenty of compliments all night. Great buy!" — Paige

Get it from Amazon for $31.99+ (available in sizes 2-18 and in nine colors).

14. A floral wrap dress so gorgeous, your spring allergies won't even bother you. Because spring = nice weather = wearing this dress.

Get it from Nasty Gal for $42 (originally $70, available in sizes 2-8).
click.linksynergy.com

Get it from Nasty Gal for $42 (originally $70, available in sizes 2-8).

15. A retro-inspired dress guaranteed to look amazing on every~body~. You look 😍.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "This is amazing! It's very well-made and sturdy, I love the stretchy fabric, and it fits snug but not too tight. It's beautiful!" —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in sizes S-3X and in five colors).

16. A scuba maxi dress guaranteed to replace the LBB currently residing in your closet. So move over, old little black dress — there's a new sheriff in town.

Get it from Asos for $56 (available in sizes 0-14).
us.asos.com

Get it from Asos for $56 (available in sizes 0-14).

17. A one-shoulder dress perfect for any heel-wearing occasion. Weddings? Check. Bridal showers? Check. Fancy dinners? Check check check.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "This dress is absolutely amazing; I'm really impressed with the quality and fit. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a cost-effective bridesmaid dress. I'm a super happy customer!" —Blessed

Get it from Amazon for $34.99 (available in sizes 4-16 and in four colors).

18. A sheath dress that resembles something you could wear in an old-fashioned speakeasy. Sipping a gin and tonic, accessorizing with pearls...

I want my aesthetic to be old-fashioned glam, honestly. Promising review: "Va va voom! The description said it ran a little small, so I sized up and this dress fits like a freakin' glove. It hugs every curve just right." —blytheGet it from ModCloth for $79 (available in sizes S-4X and in two colors).
ModCloth

I want my aesthetic to be old-fashioned glam, honestly.

Promising review: "Va va voom! The description said it ran a little small, so I sized up and this dress fits like a freakin' glove. It hugs every curve just right." —blythe

Get it from ModCloth for $79 (available in sizes S-4X and in two colors).

19. An a-line dress that will make you grab your jeans and say, "SAYONARA, YOU'VE BEEN REPLACED WITH SOMETHING MORE BEAUTIFUL!"

Get it from Nordstrom for $64 (available in sizes 0X-4X).
click.linksynergy.com

Get it from Nordstrom for $64 (available in sizes 0X-4X).

20. A halter dress in a gorgeous rose color that — don't worry — is free of thorns. Take that, Poison.

anrdoezrs.net

🎶 Every rose has its thorn...except for this maxi dress from Tobi. 🎶

Get it from Tobi for $54 (originally $108, available in sizes XS-XL).

21. An off-the-shoulder dress made with a no-slip silicone bodice. Translation? You won't be pulling this little number up all night. IT WILL ACTUALLY STAY PUT.

Get it from Revolve for $68 (available in sizes XS-L and in two colors).
anrdoezrs.net

Get it from Revolve for $68 (available in sizes XS-L and in two colors).

22. A knee-length dress sure to fit your curves like a glove. A super trendy, super sophisticated glove.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "I was a little apprehensive about ordering this dress, but the reviews (and the price!) were so good so I took the chance. I'm so glad I did! It fits like a dream and looks elegant and classy. I'm tall and thin, but I have wide hips so it's hard to find a dress that's a good fit; this one did the trick." —Lily

Get it from Amazon for $18.99+ (available in sizes S-XL and in 10 colors).

23. A strapless number for that fancy event that you (unfortunately) already sent in your RSVP for.

Get it from Tobi for $52 (originally $104, available in sizes XS-L and in two colors).
anrdoezrs.net

Get it from Tobi for $52 (originally $104, available in sizes XS-L and in two colors).

24. A cowl neck silk dress because you should always be prepared. You never know when you're going to walk the red carpet, am I right?

Get it from Urban Outfitters for $99 (available in sizes XS-XL and in two colors).

25. A floral chiffon dress available in one-shoulder, v-neck, and strapless silhouettes. What a pity you'll have to choose just one...

Promising review: "This dress is absolutely gorgeous! I was so nervous to purchase this online, but I went by the measurements, ordered the right size, and it fit perfectly. Everyone loved it. Don't hesitate — just buy it!" —April D. Get it from Amaozn for $49.99+ (available in sizes 2-24 and in three styles).
amazon.com

Promising review: "This dress is absolutely gorgeous! I was so nervous to purchase this online, but I went by the measurements, ordered the right size, and it fit perfectly. Everyone loved it. Don't hesitate — just buy it!" —April D.

Get it from Amaozn for $49.99+ (available in sizes 2-24 and in three styles).

26. A maxi dress (featuring gorgeous embellishments) worthy of all the praise that I'm about to give it. (It's talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, etc.)

anrdoezrs.net

Get it from Boohoo for $29 (originally $49, available in sizes 4-12 and in two colors).

27. A sheer-sleeved tulle dress known to inspire impromptu twirling. Get your Boomerang app ready, folks.

Get it from Asos for $76 (available in sizes 0-10).
us.asos.com

Get it from Asos for $76 (available in sizes 0-10).

28. A Grecian-style dress so gorgeous, it almost won't bother you that it doesn't come with a one-way ticket to Greece...*

amazon.com, amazon.com

*Almost.

Promising review: "This dress is absolutely beautiful! Honestly, considering how affordable this was, I was NOT expecting the beautiful, high quality dress that I received — it is actually comparable to dresses that are easily twice the price. The quality and design are seriously amazing. I love the detailing around the waist and this dress really work make a perfect prom dress or for any formal occasion. The only thing I’m sad about is I don’t have any event to immediately wear this to!" —faithsmommy2

Price: $39.99+ (available in sizes 4-16 and in 14 colors).

29. A bardot bodycon dress available in five super versatile colors. Should you stock up and keep 'em all in your closet? YES, YOU SHOULD.

Promising review: "I bought this for a wedding and had so many girls asking where I bought it! This dress was EXACTLY what I was looking for in terms of style, and the quality was also on point! Very happy with this dress and highly recommend it!" —Confirmed Customer Get it from Boohoo for $23 (originally $38, available in sizes 2-10 and in five colors).
anrdoezrs.net

Promising review: "I bought this for a wedding and had so many girls asking where I bought it! This dress was EXACTLY what I was looking for in terms of style, and the quality was also on point! Very happy with this dress and highly recommend it!" —Confirmed Customer

Get it from Boohoo for $23 (originally $38, available in sizes 2-10 and in five colors).

30. A vintage-inspired lace dress that will have you crashing weddings every so often. You know, so you can wear it again and again and again.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "This dress is beautiful, great quality, and thick fabric hides bumps. I followed the size chart and it fits like a glove — so flattering on my hourglass shape! I love it." —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $49.99 (available in sizes S-XXL and in two colors).

31. A pencil midi dress with a misleading name. This will make you the No. 1 best dressed person at the party, NOT No. 2.

Eh? Number two pencil? Pencil dress? *slaps knee* Get it from Asos for $79 (available in sizes 0-14).
us.asos.com

Eh? Number two pencil? Pencil dress? *slaps knee*

Get it from Asos for $79 (available in sizes 0-14).

32. A maxi dress that will make you want to wear flowers in your hair and walk through a forest. Obviously.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "This dress is stunning! I needed a last minute dress to attend a wedding, so of course I checked on Amazon. I always read the reviews and I saw this dress got a 4.4 out of 5, which is awesome. The lace is super soft on top and the bottom is very flowy. Two thumbs way up!" —Laci

Get it from Amazon for $36.99 (available in sizes S-3X and in six colors).

33. A flutter-sleeved chiffon gown rumored to be the inspiration behind Nicholas Sparks' new novel. Let's just call it what it is: ROMANTIC.

Promising review: "This dress is so lovely and it fits great on multiple body types! My sister is using the navy blue one as her bridesmaids dress, and even though we are all different heights and sizes, it flatters everyone!" —INeedSomeCoffeeGet it from Nordstrom for $89 (available in sizes XS-XL and in three colors).
click.linksynergy.com

Promising review: "This dress is so lovely and it fits great on multiple body types! My sister is using the navy blue one as her bridesmaids dress, and even though we are all different heights and sizes, it flatters everyone!" —INeedSomeCoffee

Get it from Nordstrom for $89 (available in sizes XS-XL and in three colors).

34. A cocktail dress with for a unique, trendy look that resembles something Kendall Jenner would rock on the runway.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "This dress is beautiful and unique! I wore it to my friend's wedding a few weeks ago and got SO many compliments — one girl even asked if it the dress was made by some high-end designer. It isn't the most expensive material I have worn, but it worked out great. For the price I can't complain!" —Melissa K.

Get it from Amazon for $35 (available in sizes XS-XL and in three colors).

35. A lace midi dress you've quickly fallen in love with. Just go ahead and submit order already, will ya?

Get it from Boohoo for $35 (originally $58, available in sizes 12-20 and in three colors).
anrdoezrs.net

Get it from Boohoo for $35 (originally $58, available in sizes 12-20 and in three colors).

36. A cocktail dress with a namesake that represents the best part of ANY fancy event: the COCKTAIL hour. Now someone direct me to the calamari and shrimp, please.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "I was iffy about buying a dress online, especially a wrap dress. But my gosh, this is SUCH a lovely dress. It's so comfortable, not too short, and I have absolutely NO complaints. I'm in love! Plus, the price is great." —Clavito

Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in sizes 0X-5X and in six colors).

37. A sleeveless wrap dress sure to become a staple in your wardrobe. And not the office supply kind, if you know what I mean.

Get it from Aritzia for $98 (available in sizes XXS-XL and in two colors).
aritzia.com

Get it from Aritzia for $98 (available in sizes XXS-XL and in two colors).

You, realizing that all of these gorgeous numbers are actually affordable:

Buena Vista Pictures

The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.

Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed