Maddie Leite, Ash Hodgkinson and Emma Newman. Picture: Christian Gilles
Maddie Leite, Ash Hodgkinson and Emma Newman. Picture: Christian Gilles

How to save on school formal styling

Driven by social media, teenagers are feeling the pressure to splash out the big bucks for their school formals.

But experts say it's possible to look like a million bucks on a budget.

Maddie Leite, Ash Hodgkinson and Emma Newman are advocates of looking good on a budget. Picture: Christian Gilles
Maddie Leite, Ash Hodgkinson and Emma Newman are advocates of looking good on a budget. Picture: Christian Gilles

Fashion stylist Trish Murray said for many students, this is their first formal event, and so the pressure is on to look good.

"It's about wanting to feel and look their absolute best especially because there are going to be lots of photos taken for social media," she told The Daily Telegraph.

"It's absolutely possible to do it on a budget. Charity stores such as the Smith Family and Vinnies are great for formal accessories."

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Australian teens spend $400 on average on themselves per month but Ms Murray says savvy students could also save by hiring an outfit for the event instead of spending big on buying.

"(If you do buy) after your formal, promote the sale of your dress using Depop app or similar selling sites. This is a great way to get some money back," she said.

"Hiring an outfit is great because, thanks to social media, we don't like to be seen in the same outfit twice."

And Ms Murray's tips have been carried out by the hippest of teens.

Before styling: Emma and Maddie.
Before styling: Emma and Maddie.

Influencer and magician Ash Hodgkinson is heading to his year 12 formal this weekend.

The 17-year-old, who has 1.3m fans on TikTok and more than 28,000 Instagram followers, said he buys his suits from op shops.

"Shop at Vinnies and all the op shops you can. Don't go spending all your money on really expensive hair gels and stuff. I get my hair gel from Wollies for $2," he said.

YouTuber Ash Hodgkinson proudly peruses op shops and buys $2 hair gel. Picture: Justin Lloyd
YouTuber Ash Hodgkinson proudly peruses op shops and buys $2 hair gel. Picture: Justin Lloyd

Hodgkinson said teens should skip getting a fancy ride and pool with friends to save money.

Australians spend more than $7b a year on beauty and $20.4b a year on fashion, data from ASIC showed.

Young actor Maddy Leite is used to doing her own makeup for award nights and red carpets and said the same skills can be used for high school formals.

"(You can) use your blush and bronzer as your eyeshadow to get the most of your money," she said.

Fellow actor and makeup artist Emma Newman from Gymea Bay agreed - she regularly styles herself for the awards season.

Maddie Leite, Ash Hodgkinson and Emma Newman ready to go. Picture: Christian Gilles
Maddie Leite, Ash Hodgkinson and Emma Newman ready to go. Picture: Christian Gilles

Ms Newman swears by the affordable Mario Badescu make-up setting spray, which costs just $10.

"You can use you're the Mario Badescu setting spray as your primer and your setting spray to get the most out of it."

After styling: Emma and Maddie.
After styling: Emma and Maddie.


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