May 4, 2018

AFF CommunityCulture

A Lady’s Guide to Dressing for the AFF Gala 2018

By: Shoshana Weissmann

The AFF Gala is one of my favorite parties of the year, in part because I get to hang out with fellow liberty lovers, AND because I love to wear gowns! You don’t need to spend a ton of money for a nice gown, and it’s a good excuse to wear something fun–or something you wish were socially acceptable to wear on a daily basis, like velvet.


Some women wear floor length gowns to the gala, while others opt for fancier cocktail dresses. Both are fine, but if it isn’t floor length, the fancier the better! Here are my tips to find something to wear without having to worry about being underdressed or breaking the bank.

1) Rent the Runway 

Most of my friends opt to “Rent the Runway,” which lets you rent designer dresses for a small fraction of the price you would pay to buy them. The options are endless, and the prices are reasonable. Whatever your style and budget, you can definitely find a bunch of options. (Use code FIRSTRTR for 20% of your first order.)

(Did you know there’s a Rent the Runway location in Georgetown? Check it out at 3336 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20007.)


2) Amazon

You can find some really nice dresses on Amazon for well under $100. But, be skeptical — check the reviews before you buy. Sometimes reviews make clear the quality is poor or the dresses don’t look like the ones in the pictures. Others clarify that the quality is good, and the dress is a steal! I own plenty of Amazon dresses, and they’re as good as or better quality than more expensive ones I’ve bought. Amazon is also a great source of cute heels, flats, and sandals.


3) DIY

If you’re feeling adventurous and have some time, make your own! I’ve been sewing since I was eight years old, and for the past two years I’ve made my own gowns for the gala. It’s not hard to find nice fabric for even $4 per yard, and I’ve needed no more than four yards to make these dresses. I’d say $16 for a gown isn’t bad! This year, I’ll be wearing a caped cocktail dress I made in November. In past years, I made gowns specifically for the gala, because I enjoy finding an excuse to sew. It’s also a great way to make sure nobody shows up wearing the same dress!

This year’s dress:

Last year’s dress:


This would be a good time to pull out your giant bracelets, dangly earrings, and cocktail rings. If you don’t have any, you can find some really nice, cheap ones on Etsy, Amazon, or Forever 21! I think I’ll be going with my octopus jewelry this year. (Intrigued? Come find me at the gala to check it out!)

The gala is also a great excuse to get your hair done, or do it yourself! There are tons of easy guides on Pinterest.


What Not to Wear

Jeans. Seriously one time when I was 14, nobody informed me that a political event was formal and I showed up… in jeans. #Fail. It’s a formal event, so dress in formal wear.

From the editors: Haven’t gotten your tickets to the 2018 Annual AFF Gala yet? Don’t miss out on this fancy, festive evening! Get your tickets now. We can’t wait to see your ensemble.