smart spending

The cost of attending an awards show

Lights, camera, awards
Lights, camera, awards

It's that time of year again for the Hollywood award shows: the Grammys, Golden Globes, Emmys, and the biggest one of all, the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars. Ever wonder what it would be like to attend one of these red-carpet events celeb-style? To ride in a limousine, dressed to the nines in the latest fashion, styled head to toe in designer jewels, hair and makeup flawless?

Well, unless you're George Clooney or Jennifer Aniston, you probably don't have designers begging you to wear their clothes or a studio sending you a limo. You'll have to get ready on your own.

So how much would it cost to attend one of these award shows? Tickets are not available to the general public, but should you be able to pull some strings and get yourself on the guest list, we'll break down the costs of how even mere mortals can attend an awards show and look like a pampered, chic celebrity.

How does this look?
How does this look?

The first step to pulling together a red-carpet look is finding a stylist. A stylist works within your budget and serves as your personal shopper to pull together the perfect look for the event. A stylist can be hired for a wardrobe overhaul or for a special event. Either way, be prepared to spend some big bucks.

Stylists charge by the day or by the event; you'll look marvelous, but you'll pay dearly for it. The Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., known for its amazing amenities, has a fashion stylist who works for its guests or anyone who needs help pulling together a look. Fashion stylist Joe Katz charges $1,500 for a half day or $2,100 for a full day of fashion guidance.

After choosing the stylist, you'll send him or her a budget along with an image of yourself with detailed direction of your event and style needs. Then you'll have a 30-minute consultation prior to getting that look pulled together just for you. Katz uses his connections in the fashion world to find the most dazzling fit and style for your body shape. Of course, each piece you choose is a separate expense; you are only paying for the advice. The stylist will put together multiple looks from which you can choose.

Now for the outfit ...
Now for the outfit ...

If you didn't hire a stylist and aren't one of the fortunate few like Angelina Jolie -- designers send her dozens of selections to pick from -- then you are on your own in finding a dress. Are you friends with a famous designer, such as Victoria Beckham, who can make one-of-a-kind gowns for stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz? You're not?

Well, for the rest of us, we'll probably need to stick to a budget and find the best dress for the best price. If you're creative, you could scour local thrift stores for a vintage gown. Department stores, such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, also carry a wide selection of gowns for big events, with starting prices around $325.

There's also a newer option: borrow designer gowns for an event without incurring the exorbitant cost of buying them. While not cheap, these vendors provide the real thing, which allows you to wear designer duds for less. Rental fees can be as low as $75 with additional costs for shipping.

Not a hair out of place
Not a hair out of place

Have you ever noticed that at almost every awards show, most of the women wear their hair in a similar fashion? One season, everyone will have straight long hair, and in the next they all sport an elegant "updo."

The people behind these 'dos are professional hair stylists. In Los Angeles alone, there are more than 1,000 listings for hair stylists. Each can provide the services needed to look great on the red carpet. Jose Eber is one of the most famous hair stylists to the stars. His salon in Beverly Hills has up to 30 stylists available. The cost for a blow-dry is $75, and an updo is $150 and up.

Ken Paves, noted as the "hottest hairdresser in Hollywood," has salons in Los Angeles and Michigan. A blowout at his place begins at $75, and corrective color can cost $400 and up. An updo and awards-show-ready hairdo will set you back $100 to $150. Not too bad considering the nationwide chain Regis Salon in Los Angeles charges $55. And don't forget to tip.

Face forward
Face forward

Having your makeup done professionally really completes the look of sophistication and elegance needed to attend a celebrity event. You wouldn't go barefoot to a black-tie event -- or without makeup from a professional. Who you choose to hire depends greatly on your wallet. The cosmetic department at the Bloomingdale's in LA has more than 14 brands to choose from.

Affording MAC Cosmetics' makeup services can be simple. According to a MAC aesthetician, just schedule an appointment and instead of paying for the service, make a minimum purchase of $50. That's quite a bargain: an hour of skilled, professional makeup application for a mere $50. Others, like Makeup by Shawn in Woodland Hills, Calif., are at the other end of the spectrum. This professional celebrity makeup artist charges from about $200 per hour to $1,500. So the choice is yours.

Arrive in style
text

Your outfit is on, your hair and makeup done, and now it's time to get to the awards show. Hiring a limousine to pull up to the red carpet seals the deal of a glamorous evening. But be prepared: Elegance like that will cost you.

Paramount Limousine Services requires an eight-hour minimum for any award-show booking. Many celebs use a limousine service for these events, so they can't get special rates. The tab for an eight-hour rental for six passengers comes to $672 for a stretch limousine. Complimentary water is available in the limo, but for only $25 more you can get the champagne package.

United Limousine & Charter offers a more competitive rate. They offer a six-hour, six-passenger stretch limo to an awards show for $396 with tax and tip included.

All dressed up and ready to go? Try loitering at a pre-Oscars hotspot such as a Hollywood hotel lobby. Who knows, maybe you'll get invited to an after-party.

 

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