15 Dresses That Look Designer But Aren't

Designer dresses can be hard to come by and many of us may only end up owning one by lucking out at a vintage store, receiving a hand-me-down, or by not doing anything but save for months. Therefore you may want to purchase affordable designer alternative dresses instead.

There will be occasions in life when you really want to shine, so a dress that looks like a designer piece would really help you look like a million dollars, even if you spent a couple of hundred or less. You may be invited to a super important work shindig, an awards ceremony, or a party or dinner where you're meeting your partner's parents for the first time. There are an uncountable number of events where a designer-look dress would come in handy.

The key to looking out for a designer style frock is not to choose whichever has the highest price tag, but for keeping your eyes peeled for a number of red flags that will make your dress look more expensive than it really is. These flags include: attention to detail, luxurious materials, embellishment, fashion forward cuts or trendy patterns, an artistic or extremely modern design, and anything that appears decadent and regal. Don't worry about looking OTT, if the dress you like is particularly lavish, you can always tone it down with subtle shoes and accessories.

Here is a selection of current dresses that are sure to have folks questioning the name on your label.

1. The Sequinned & Sheer Mini

A Star Is Born Luxe Embellished Mesh Insert Mini Dress With Beaded Cape Sleeve, $317, ASOS

The key to rocking a designer style dress is not letting the dress wear you. This mini is somewhat revealing but with a little boob tape and a heap of confidence, you're sure to look like you belong on the red carpet. This dress has sequins, beading, sheer panels, and piles of sass.

2. The Scarlet Starlet Frock

Unique Vintage Plus Size Burgundy Swiss Dot Garden State Cocktail Dress, $138, Unique-Vintage

This old Hollywood style dress includes boning in the bodice and a tulle under layer, which subtly add to the overall high-end feel of the dress. Sometimes looking classic and channeling vintage starlets like Marilyn Monroe or modern day pinups like Dita Von Teese, can help you achieve a designer look.

3. The Queenly Gown

Chi Chi Embroidered Midi Prom Dress, $130, Simplybe

The gold rose embroidery and pretty neckline of this dress give it a majestic yet feminine feel.

4. The Embellished Skater

Boutique Ely Embellished Top Tutu Skirt Skater Dress, $44, Boohoo

The popular skater dress has been given a glam makeover with demure capped sleeves, an embellished bodice, and a ballerina style skirt. The unusual color combo lends it a super modern twist.

5. The Embroidered Wrap Dress

Asos Curve Lace Placed Embroidered Midi Skater Dress, $129, ASOS

Embroidered lace and chiffon make for an elegant match made in fashion heaven.

6. The Sequins & Pleats Frock

Sequin Prom Dress, $100, Simplybe

Sequins are a surefire way to add a decadent touch to an ensemble and pleats notch this dress up the formal ladder a peg or two.

7. The Floral Appliqué Maxi

It’d Be My Treasure Dress In Blush, $280, Modcloth

A bejewelled waistband and appliqué blooms make for a super sophisticated maxi dress.

8. The Embroidered Overlay Dress

Falling In Lovely Dress, $180, Modcloth

An intricate overlay puts a modern spin on this simply gorgeous dress.

9. The Sequin Skater Dress

Frock & Frill Lakyn Sequin Skater Dress, $222, Simplybe

This dark blue dress reminds me of the midnight sky with its floral inspired sequin shapes, which IMO look like stars in the inky darkness. This is an ethereal dress for an enchanting femme fatale.

10. The Modern Mini

Cage High Neck Shift Dress, $230, Topshop

For gals wanting to look modern, this futuristic dress would be a wonderful style for any aspiring Leeloos out there.

11. The Bejewelled Neck Dress

Little Mistress Mesh Top Dress, $110, Simplybe

There's no need to worry about forking out for an expensive necklace to go with your designer inspired dress: this pretty number has a built in bejewelled neckline to save you the trouble!

12. The Wow Factor Maxi

Simply Be Sheer Hem Maxi Dress, $197, Simplybe

This stunning sheer maxi flirts with classic and modern aspects; its black mini dress screams classic LBD, while the sheer sections with embellishments give it a modern twist.

13. The Underwear As Outerwear Maxi

Boutique Khloe All Over Lace Bandeau Maxi Dress, $70, Boohoo

This seriously romantic maxi features a nude slip covered with a long lace overlay. Its bustier cups allude to a corset inspired design, which will have the wearer flaunting the timeless underwear as outerwear trend.

14. The Detailed LBD

Ladies And Diligence Dress, $130, Modcloth

This LBD is ticking all the right boxes, it sports: pleats, a shiny finish, and embroidered florals. Plus, it's available in sizes 2 to 26.

15. The Ladylike Day Dress

Unique Vintage Plus Size Black & White Sleeved Eva Marie Dress, $128, Unique-Vintage

On occasion, one may not wish to wear a delightfully embellished dress for a daytime event, so instead opt for this classic monochrome frock, which is reminiscent of vintage Chanel pieces. Pop on your pearls and some little lace gloves and you'll be the talk of the town at a formal brunch or daytime launch party.

As you can see, not all beautiful dresses have designer price tags, so invest in a fabulous, designer-look dress for your next big event!

Images: Courtesy Brands