Not all dresses come cheaply, especially formal dresses. There are ways to get the most bang for your buck from one formal dress. Here are some things to consider when buying a formal dress.

Choose darker colors. Grey, black, navy and darker reds are the best choices for a versatile dress. Dark colors are almost always appropriate for every formal or semi-formal occasion. Additionally, darker colors can be worn throughout the year, unlike brighter or whiter colors. Another great thing about wearing darker colors is that they don't stand out as much as an unusual color. Wearing a dress that doesn't stand out for one function means you can wear it again to another function without anyone noticing it's the same dress.

When buying a dark color dress remember this rule: accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. While a dress may not stand out by itself, the brighter accessories will stand out. Which means when you change from a bright orange sash to a gold chain belt, the dress may be the same, but will look completely different because of the accessories. Add some gold shoes to match the belt, and you will have a totally new outfit.

Another tip is to buy a dress with spaghetti straps. These types of straps can easily be tucked in to a dress to make it appear strapless. Another bonus is that you can easily attach a gold link bracelet to the straps which can serve as a off the shoulder decoration. Other things you can attach to the straps are: a small bit of material that can drape across the shoulder, fringe and certain types of barrettes can change the look of the straps on a dress, thus change the look of the dress itself.

It is the unique and dramatic effects that really draw attention away from the style of dress and to the overall appearance. A few pearls here, a gold belt there, a sash and matching shoes; these well chosen accessories can make the entire dress appear different.

Imagine being able to wear a dress you spend $300 on, numerous times. $300 begins to seem fairly cheap, doesn't it?

The last thing to think about when you buy a dress is how you can alter it for different occasions. If you buy a plain black pencil dress, for instance, you can have appliqués and bead work done at a later time to make it even more formal. You can even have a unique little chiffon apron made to attach to the dress. A little forethought and creativity can make a dress worth infinitely more than what it had originally cost.