The official start of spring is here, and prom is on the forefront of most teens' minds. There are many ways to offset the cost of prom night fashion without sacrificing style, even at the last minute.

Think classic. The first lesson in frugality is versatility, meaning the more often you can wear something, the better value you receive in purchasing it, says Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert. Look for a basic gown and tailor it to prom night with statement jewelry and shoes in bold hues.

Go consignment shopping. Lots of young ladies sell their prom dresses through local consignment shops, so you have a good chance of finding a fabulous frock at a fraction of its original price. Reinvented Ladies Upscale Resale, 847 Savannah Highway, is a fun store that always has a sale going on. Some items are as low as $5. Call 769-8110 or visit www.reinvented-resale.com.

Save at bridal shops. Bridal shops carry a variety of bridesmaid dresses perfect for prom. Deborah's Bridal, 1704 Old Towne Road, has a great selection of prom dresses and will give you 10 percent off if you mention you heard about them from Savvy Shopper. Call 556-8092 or visit www.deborahsbridal.net.

Swap at school. If your school doesn't already offer one, Woroch suggests organizing dress swaps to help cut costs. Trade gently worn dresses for something new at a fraction of the cost.

DIY with duct tape. Duck Brand's annual “Stuck at Prom” competition (www.duckbrand.com) offers couples a chance to win cash scholarships. Winners receive up to $5,000.

Reach Shannon Brigham at charlestonsavvyshopper@postand courier.com. You can also find us on Facebook (CharlestonSavvy Shopper) and Twitter (@chssavvy shopper).