CLEO Tries: Affordable Party Clothes From Taobao For Under $60
Now that you’ve spent your year-end bonus on Christmas décor, food, alcohol and presents for all the people you love (and hate tolerate), you’ve come to the dire realisation that in the midst of festive spending, you barely have enough left for a party outfit. But what’s a girl got to do when she still wants to pamper herself without breaking the bank? And does buying a cheap outfit mean looking cheap as well?
Well, we decided to put that idea to the test by getting members of the team to try on affordable party dresses from Taobao. Watch the video for our honest opinions.
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Scroll through to see what we tried!
1. Put a bow on it
If you want to keep with the festive spirit but stand out from a sea of LBDs or sexy sparkly dresses, a white romper with a blazer collar is a great look to try. Top it off with a giant bow and you’ll show your loved ones who’s truly the gift this year.
Smita’s Verdict: “I don’t usually tend to wear shorts as I’m not the biggest fan of my legs but I’m really impressed with the sizing. When you shop at Taobao, I noticed the models always seem to be really slim so I didn’t think it would be possible to find things that fit me. The romper is lined too, so I’m glad that the underwear situation won’t be too difficult.”
Shop here: Polyester romper with bow from Taobao, $17.47
2. Suit up
A velvet suit in June might conjure images of sweat, but a velvet suit in Dec? Perfect for the rainy weather we’ve been enjoying the whole month. It’s classy yet fancy enough for you to hit the party circuit in. And the best part? You can break up the suit and wear it to the office throughout the rest of the year.
Hidads’ Verdict: “I’m obsessed with suits, so this was my favourite from the haul. The suit is well-made and the quality feels like what I would get if I shopped at a fast-fashion store. It feels really substantial and if it lasts for five wears, I would be super happy with it.”
Shop here: Velvet suit from Taobao, $57.86
3. Channel your inner Instagram Baddie
Sometimes you just want a dress that screams “all eyes on me” and that’s perfectly OK! Channel your best Instagram Baddie self with a strapless sequin number with a giant ruffle that’s a dead ringer for Lady Gaga’s 2019 Grammy Award’s Celine dress. And there’s a myriad of styling possibilities with this dress too! You can choose to go super glam with a pair of silver heeled sandals and bare shoulders, or try layering a T-shirt underneath and completing the look with a pair of combat boots.
Sophie’s Verdict: “I like my dress! I was a bit apprehensive at first as it really looks like nothing I would wear, but once I put it on, it fit me really well. I honestly did not expect that all, so consider me impressed!”
Shop here: Sequin dress from Taobao, $22.50
4. Play hostess with the mostess
Planning on hosting the perfect Christmas party? Play the part of hostess with the mostess with this hybrid blazer and tulle skirt combo. We love how the masculinity of the blazer balances the hyper femininity of the tulle skirt.
Smita’s Verdict: “This look is really not me at all—I look like the First Lady of fashion! I usually wear pleated skirts and not poofy ones, so maybe I’m just not used to it. But aside from how it looks, I’m really amazed by how good the material is. It’s not flimsy at all.”
Shop here: Tulle dress from Taobao, $42.33
5. Kim Kardashian, but make it fashion
If you’re planning to party the night away in your shortest possible dress that money can buy, but would like to keep your modesty in check, try wearing it with a pair of simple black bicycle shorts. You’ll be able to bust a move comfortably without worrying about flashing anyone.
Sophie’s Verdict: “This outfit is way too sexy for my liking, especially on its own. I’m a bit on the taller side, so short dresses on Taobao tend to be more like tops for me. I layered a pair of bicycle shorts underneath to keep it from being too revealing. I might not wear this out to a party, but I think if I wore this at a music festival, no one would bat an eyelid.
Shop here: Velvet dress, $21.34, diamante belt, $11.63, both from Taobao
6. Be the life of the party
If all else fails, just break out the sequins. And we mean full-blown, hardcore head-to-toe sequins. Because why not? It’s party season man, you have every excuse to wear your most extra dress and no one would even question it.
Hidad’s Verdict: “I’d never thought I’d wear a full sequin outfit anywhere (apart from my wedding) so this was very unexpected for me. The A-line cut is very flattering, but the top part is a bit too loose for me. The dress is very heavy though—FYI, if you’re attempting to buy a full-on sequin dress online!”
Shop here: Sequin dress from Taobao, $55.92