Keeping it stylish yet frugal during formal season

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Formal season is just around the corner and that means it’s time to start looking for a dress, make an appointment to get your hair done, book a limousine – all things that can add up to a hefty price.

But there’s a way you can be fiscally savvy and stylish at the same time whether it be getting your hair done at home, borrowing a friend’s fancy ride or going to a used-prom dress or discounted dress sale.

The Davies Student Center at UW-Eau Claire looked more like a prom boutique on Tuesday where the 39th annual Viennese Ball will soon fill the room with elegance, dancing and music.

“College girls on a budget who'd like to attend the ball might not if they didn't have a dress. So we thought, wow, we have lots of dresses we'd love to sell and the Viennese Ball sale was born from that,” said Linda Baxa, owner of Marry-Go-Round Occasions in Strum.

Baxa said she has seen everyone from prom girls to college students going to the V-ball, moms of college students and facult and staff.

“Everyone loves a bargain and loves to try on pretty dresses,” said Baxa.

Senior at UW-Eau Claire Heather Buhr said her friends convinced her last minute to go to the ball.

“I know a lot of people have gone out and got them at actual dress shops so it’s nice to not have to do that and pay a little bit cheaper for it so stay in the budget,” said Buhr who found a dress for $59.

Laurena Schug, a freshman at the university, said she was shopping for a prom dress.

“My boyfriend is a senior in high school so I’m going back to his school for prom,” said Schug. “It’s definitely helping financially. These dresses are extremely discounted and it’s not like they're used or anything.”

Schug found a dress that normally would have cost nearly $400, for under $200.

“They’re not this year’s brand new styles but they certainly are wonderful,” said Baxa. “We mark them down $59 to $99 and the girls try them on until they find a dress in their budget.”

With the leftover money, Baxa said many of the shoppers use the money for hair, nails or even a new pair of shoes to go with the dress.

Schug said the money could even go towards part of her tuition or a new car she is saving up for.

Baxa said right now the fitted silhouette is in for formal gowns but she even ended up seeling a couple of pink ball gowns as well.

For every dress sold, Baxa said $5 will go towards the Viennese Ball fund.

The Viennese Ball sale continues on Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. in the Dakota Room.

Here is a list of other prom sales happening throughout the area:

-Once Upon a Prom - The Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley
Area high school girls needing financial assistance to get a prom dress and who are willing to complete 6 hours of community service.
April 5-6
Hillcrest Country Club
2333 N. Hillcrest Parkway
Altoona, WI

-Cadott High School
March 16, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Gently used gowns for sale

If you'd like to add your prom dress sale to the list, email

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