Formal Fashion – Where to Find Your Perfect Dress

Formal season is upon us – it’s time to get decked out in your finest attire and have your one last hurrah. Whether it be an organization, sorority or fraternity, formals have a very explicit dress code: formalwear.

With everyone scrambling to find dates, sometimes it can be hard to acquire that outfit you need within a reasonable amount of time and money.

State College isn’t exactly in the most ideal location for fashionistas and avid shoppers, but there are a few stores in the area that can help when it comes to shopping for formal.


Connections is a great place to shop for all fashion needs, and it has a great selection of dresses that are all affordable. Connections often has a large variety of styles on sale, which is great for anyone looking for a dress at a discount. Additionally, the sales associates are willing to help anyone that walks in the door. Connections also has an assortment of accessories to match the dress of your choosing.

“I feel like they have the most unique dresses downtown, so Connections is always my first choice,” Jill Gough says.


Metro has one of the largest selections of dresses. The store carries a wide selection of colors and the latest trends in fashion. Metro recently added a variety of dresses in shades of orange and yellow, which seem to be the colors of the season. They also have a huge sale section and shoe section toward the back of the store. The only downside of Metro is that a lot of people shop there, so there is a chance someone else at your formal might show up sporting the same dress.

People’s Nation

People’s Nation is small, but it has a lot of bigger-name brands to offer customers. One in particular is Free People. The store carries a plethora of accessories, so even if you can’t find the perfect dress, don’t rule out this store. 

If you have a little more time and want to be more out-of-the-box this formal season, VALLEY has scoured the web to find the best websites for affordable and unique dresses.  


Lulus has a lot of different styles of dresses, and the best part is that you can narrow down the search to find exactly what you’re looking for. The online store also features a filter that allows you to choose the color and size you’re looking for. Lulus prices are slightly more expensive, but the dresses are nearly always high quality. 

Princess Polly

Princess Polly is very similar to Lulus, however, the dresses on this site tend to be more trendy than those carried by Lulus. The styles are all unique and allow for one to express themself more through the fashion of formal. They also offer AfterPay, a service that breaks up the payments overtime, which can be helpful for those short on cash. 

“Princess Polly is cheaper and they have quality dresses. Social media influencers also often offer coupon codes and discounts for customers. Even though they are an Australian company, they have three-day shipping which is nice too,” Gough says.

Nasty Gal  

Nasty Gal is the perfect budget-friendly place to shop for a formal dress. It is by far the cheapest place to look, with discounts up to 40 percent off and the option to use a student discount.

No matter where you end up purchasing your formal dress, if it’s from an online retailer it’s always important read the reviews on the website. This can help you to get a better picture of how the dress fits, what size you might need to order and whether or not the quality is as advertised. 


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