Ooh, the pressure, the stress. You know how it is, you’ve been invited to a party/dinner/drinks/social/networking event (delete as applicable) with people you don’t really know that well and/or haven’t seen for a while.
Maybe it’s the work Christmas party.
Maybe it’s dinner with an important client.
Maybe it’s drinks with the new neighbours.
Maybe it’s *shudder* lunch with a future mother in law…
What if everyone is thinner/taller/prettier/more elegant/more sophisticated/more stylish/younger/older than you?
You want them to: like you/respect you/be impressed by you/maybe you even want them to fancy you…
So what do you wear?
Is this outfit too smart? Is this one too casual? Is that one too serious? Am I too old for that one? Does that one look frumpy? Will they take me seriously in that? Is that old favourite just a bit too frayed at the edges? Will I turn up in a cocktail dress to find everyone else in jeans? Was there a dress code on the invite I misplaced weeks ago? Will everyone else there be a size zero? Or 15 years younger than me? Do I need to go on…??
In fact, is it easier not to go at all?
It might be easier, but it’s unlikely to be as much fun, and believe it or not, there may be people there who want to spend time with you. Whatever you are wearing. And however over/underdressed, fat, frumpy etc you might (or might not) look that evening.
So, a few words from the wise (i.e. things I’ve heard/read rather than simply making them up in my head) If possible, only ever buy things which make you feel like doing a happy little dance. And when you get to the party, always remember, no-one else is really thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves and what you think of them. (These thoughts are courtesy of one of my favourite heroines, the wonderful Olivia Joules, brought to us by Helen Fielding).
And if in doubt, overdress. To (possibly mis-)quote a fabled ambassador’s wife – what’s the problem? One just puts on one’s Balenciaga and GOES.
Of course, one does not always have a stunning balenciaga dress but in my experience it does pay to have one or two outfits which never fail to make you feel fabulous. These do NOT need to be expensive. My best examples of these ever have been from M&S and New Look.
Generally, I favour silk jersey or anything silky and/or velvety and bias cut to skim and flatter even on days when I feel at my least sexy. Ideally for me are clothes which I can put on and completely forget about. That really helps me to stop thinking about how I look and just focus on the other people.
And the second most important thing is to avoid wearing uncomfortable shoes. Unfortunately I don’t always act on my own advice and have even left perfectly good parties early because my feet hurt and I didn’t fancy wandering around in my stocking’d feet. So, if at all possible, find some cute but comfy shoes which you can wear with anything. (I rather like Duo – not only do they do shoes in different widths so they really really fit but they sell things like red patent mary janes which are just fabulous imho).
Of course, some people have (or appear to have) lots of inner confidence and will tell you that clothes are irrelevant so what you wear doesn’t matter at all, it’s how sexy you feel inside that counts. In my opinion, if you need to feel good, gorgeous underwear can also make a huge difference – whatever may or may not be going on in your head on a given day, some well-cut, well-engineered scraps of silk and lace can go a long way towards feeling like a million dollars.
So my advice is, dress up, put on your favourite stockings & lingerie, wear something you love, make sure your feet are comfy, add some make-up, hairspray and a few sparkly things, then go to the party, find some interesting people and forget all about how you look and just enjoy yourself. And don’t forget, a corset is a great go-anywhere piece of clothing when you really want to make an impact 😉
And hopefully, as long as you aren’t as dull as ditchwater, people will actually remember you for what you said rather than what you were wearing…
This has been written in stages, so may not be as cohesive a piece of writing as would be ideal. Hopefully you do have some idea what I’m talking about. I’d love to hear your views 🙂
And on that note, my very best wishes f0r 2011. xxxx