Katie Medley ‘20: Students spend hundreds of dollars each year as homecoming season approaches. Girls: scrambling to find a beautiful dress for a decent price. Boys: remain confused, “What’s the difference between a pink colored tie and a coral one?” Ladies stressing out, dress shops looking like barren wastelands, and the few dresses left behind are hundreds of dollars. How can one afford to spend little and look good?

Romeo alumna of 2017, Julia Knepper, provides experience in finding creative ways to save money and look good at the same time. For those who don’t already know, Knepper is a talented seamstress with a knack for transforming not so cute clothing into stylish accessories.

Knepper provided some of her most valuable tips and tricks for maintaining a reasonable budget this homecoming season.

Do: Keep an open mind.

Don’t: Expect to find something perfect.

“To find a good dress at a thrift store you can’t really go in with many expectations,” Knepper said. “Your options are extremely limited, but that’s the fun part. I just always had my eye out for colors I liked and interesting materials. You can’t change those but you can change the shape and style. Many years I found extremely ugly, large and unflattering dresses, but I just paid attention to the color and material. If I could find a piece that had intricate beading or cool lace patterns I’d go for it.”

Do: Have a vision of what you want.

Don’t: Limit yourself to potential dresses just because it doesn’t fit your vision.

“I’d look around online at styles I’d like and would sometimes get an idea of what I’d like to recreate, but you have to be super flexible,” Knepper stated. “I would usually find a photo, a piece of material, or a color scheme, and that’s where my vision would begin.”

Do: Go to multiple stores and dress hunt.

Don’t: Only go to thrift shops, even the mall can have great deals.

“I always love good old Salvation Army,” Knepper continued. “But honestly good deals are everywhere, and at less smelly places. My sister, Jenna, got her dress for $30 from Windsor – a department store at Lakeside. There are Sherri Hill knockoffs everywhere now.”

Students, get creative. Go out with some friends, a handful of extra cash, an open mind, and some inspiration. Perhaps this homecoming, students will go against the mainstream and create something entirely one of a kind.

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