It’s the eve of my husband’s Christmas party, a.k.a. “Holiday Party” to be P.C. I’ve known what I was going to wear for about….. 3 weeks. That’s how I roll. And it’s how you should roll too. We’ve all had those horrible last minute shopping trips where we’re racing around desperately – it’s no way to go into an event!!! My man works his a$$ off and he deserves to have me prepared and focused on him and his company’s success on the night of his party. Not whining that I can’t find anything to wear and griping that nothing fits and being selfish in general. (Yes, that’s happened. More than once.) This black dress is my pick for most versatile, can be worn by anyone, most flattering, most appropriate, most affordable for what you get, most likely to be worn again dress. From Anthropologie, of course! And with Pantone’s announcement, how could I not pair it with these gorgeous emerald earrings?
Planning ahead is crucial to having fun at a party. And my gosh, if you’re like me and you rarely get out and dress up, you deserve to get out and have some FUN. The key to planning ahead is knowing what to expect. If you know the hostess of a party, simply ask her what she’s wearing, it’s the easiest way to make sure you’re dressed appropriately. If an invitation is nondescript, take your cues from the venue and the time of the event. An evening party will always be dressier than an afternoon one. A party at a Mexican restaurant will always be much more casual than one at a hotel ballroom. And remember that it’s ALWAYS better to be OVER dressed than UNDER. If needed, you can say you have to stop by some fabulous event after the one you’re overdressed at. :)
My goal in dressing my clients for special events is to make sure they are 1. appropriate, 2. comfortable, and 3. confident. Allowing yourself time to be thoughtful in your dress choice is just kindness! Expecting yourself to find something that fits the above criteria in one afternoon of shopping is not realistic, so don’t set yourself up. Finding a dress that’s perfect in almost every way is why God inspired people to become tailors. If the dress you love is too tight in one area, buy the next size up and have it taken in. Do NOT shop for a number or a size, shop for what you love… most things can be made to fit by a tailor that ends up being YOUR size, not a 6,8,10, or 12. You are not a number and a size 8 will look different on you than your other size 8 friend… and it should. Because we’re all different!!! (Okay, I’ll stop lecturing now)
Once you find your piece, make sure you try it on with the proper undergarments. If you don’t have the proper undergarments, don’t say, “oh, I think I have this one old strapless that might work” and then wait til the night of to try it. Just don’t!!! Undergarments are as important as your outfit. Make sure you have the correct fit of spanx, hosiery, bra, etc. And remember to try your outfit on with the shoes you plan to wear. I had to have my strapless black jumpsuit (yeah, you heard me) hemmed up so that I can show off my gold platforms (yeah, you heard me again) and have the right shape to my outfit. An $18.00 investment. So worth it! And remember to be thoughtful about your outerwear. It’s not okay to wear your fleece or ski jacket over your cocktail dress! With even Target putting out cute faux fur coats, you can find something, I promise! Beg, borrow, or buy!
When I’m hired to personal shop, my clients have to fill out a questionnaire for me that asks details like sizes, venue, color preferences, and even metal allergies for jewelry. The details matter so much! This is how I decide on where to shop. Most often, I find special event wear at Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack, Anthropologie, White House Black Market, ModCloth, or LOFT. The best deal on dress shoes is Nordstrom Rack, hands down! They also carry larger sizes that can be difficult to find elsewhere. Accessories are what I scrimp on if need be, finding deals on costume jewelry at Francesca’s or even Forever 21. If something is truly going to be worn once with one special dress, let’s not spend our hard earned cash on it!
Want to avoid “Bitch Stole My Look”? My favorite trick to make sure my clients are not wearing the same thing as their co-partiers is vintage or separates. Vintage is a no brainer but requires more time for acquiring and tailoring. If you’re limited to off the rack, finding an amazing skirt at one store and pairing it with a blouse from another, with jewelry from yet another is a surefire way to set your outfit apart and show that you put effort into your look.
Easy links to fabulous dresses are here: Anthropologie, Nordstrom, LOFT, ModCloth, Francesca’s, White House Black Market, Spanx, and in case you walk on the wild side like me… Linda the Bra Lady’s got you covered.
Remember, there’s really no excuse to not being prepared, especially because you have me! :)