Friday, December 13, 2013

Party Outfits

Each year, I usually have a couple holiday parties to attend.  One a more formal company party, one cocktail party with friends, and occasionally one casual office party. I love fashion, dressing up and and shopping for special things, but historically when I have tried to find "the outfit" before an event I am unsuccessful. I can't find anything that is right, which leads to stress and sometimes even puts a damper on the evening for me. I fuss and I fidget.  I focus my attention inward instead of outward, towards my family and friends, where I really want my attention to be. 

Several years ago I began what some might view as impulse buying, but what I think of as preparation. If I am out and about and I see something that catches my eye, looks good and is a good price, I buy it, knowing that finding that rare piece you feel and look good in is more important than having a specific occasion to wear it. For example 4 years ago, I bought 2 pair of party heels without having a party in site to go to, but they were both on some crazy sale and they were gorgeous. I've worn both pair several times and haven't bought a pair of party shoes since.  More importantly to me, when I do have somewhere to dress up for, I can feel prepared, and my energy is positive towards going out, and not feeling all panicky about 'WHAT WILL I WEAR?!!"

Almost three years ago, right before prom season, while out running errands, I headed into Macy's to buy a gift, and more importantly it turns out, use the restroom. Luckily for me the ladies restroom was located next to the fancy dress department. So even though I was un-showered, in yoga pants, sneakers, no make-up, and baseball hat, I thought I would look through the racks. I'm so glad I did.

I did have a fancy event to attend the next month, and while I had an outfit in mind that would do, it wasn't really sitting well with me and I didn't want to spend the evening feeling.... well .... bad. I pulled this dress, and 2 others I think. Honestly, I had little to no hope this dress would work on me and I when I pulled it I was already dismissing it as a no-go. It's everything I shy away from; a metallic, gold-bronze-silvery, whatever color, form fitting, va-va-va-voom dress. I have a curvy figure, and I am, how shall we say nicely... petite.  I'm short.  5'2", and this wasn't even a petite. And let's face it, I don't live in Hollywood and I'm no starlet. 

The first dress was nothing special and I didn't bother stepping outside the small changing room to get a better look at myself in a larger mirror. Then I tried this dress on, and my mind was blown. Even with my hat hair, white athletic socks, un-diet-ed (not a word but you know what I mean right?), and unshaven legs self, I was stunned at how flattering it looked on me.  Thinking that it was must be one of those trick mirrors or something I peeked around the entrance of the changing rooms to see how risky it would be to get a look in front of the large 3-way mirror on the floor. I didn't see anyone else in the department so stealthily I went, white socks and all, to the main viewing mirror.  I was in shock -- could this dress really look this good even when I am looking this bad?! Have I found a magic dress?!  

2 women (I'm thinking a mother and daughter) approach with the cashier to buy some items while I'm tip-toeing around in my socks, pretending to be in heels, probably gaping at my reflection. They all stop to take in the site (I'm now embarrassed and trying to nonchalantly slink back to the dressing room). The older woman says --'Wow! - You look absolutely great in that dress -- You're buying that right?!'  while the other ladies are shaking their heads in approval.

Moral of the story, if a complete stranger (who isn't making a commission), says something like that to your hairy-legged self, buy the dress (which had the added benefit of being on sale, and I had a gift certificate too!).

The dress ended up costing me $17. 

And how I feel in the dress....okay I have to go there...... priceless.....I mean if I get a positive reaction in tube socks, imagine how it must look with heels and lipstick.

The next outfit doesn't have any special story -- it's just an outfit that's taken me several years to actually put together. 

With the exception of the booties and belt which I bought last year at this time, I've had this ensemble for probably 4 years now.  I don't know why it's taken me this long to get it all together, but it has.  I've even come up with another shoe/hose option if after I put this on it feels lacking.

I will wear tights with the booties and sheer black hose with the ruffled heels. 

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to be able to put something together from items I already own. It's one less thing to buy, one less thing to check off the list this time of year when we are all busy trying to just spend time with the people we care about.

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