It’s that time of year again, party after party after party. And not just with your nearest and dearest friends and family, but with your coworkers, bosses, and more distant (and sometimes more judgmental) relatives. I don’t know about you, but these kinds of events give me serious anxiety, usually because I have little to no context as to what to expect, especially about what to wear. Even if I am told what to expect, “Just dress casually!” I still have a million more questions; what if their idea of casual is my idea of dressed up? Like, “casual” as in yoga pants and a hoodie or “casual” as in jeans and a real top with buttons and stuff?
After some time of stressing and worrying about what to wear, I developed a question to help guide my clothing choices to find an outfit I can feel comfortable and confident in. The question could be asked before picking something out or applied to an outfit idea you already have in mind. The question is this: What would I be comfortable in this if other guests were really dressed up and if others guests were dressed down?
The sweet spot is choosing an outfit right in the middle. I know this sounds impossible, but once you think of the event in this perspective, you start to realize that there can be a happy medium. So, if you have no context to the event, think of an outfit fancy enough to fit in with a dressed up crowd but casual enough if guests showed up in jeans and a tee shirt. The same method can be applied to a designated “dressy” event, because there are hundreds of options in this scenario too. You can show up in a elegant top and dark wash jeans or a full-length gown. If you ask yourself the aforementioned question and still feel comfortable in one of those options, great! If not, perhaps a cocktail dress is the perfect compromise.
In all honesty, most of the time there is a mixture of people in their Sunday’s Best and others who wore the same sneakers that they walked the dog in earlier that day. But if you take this situation into account, you dress to feel confident no matter what the anyone else is wearing. And there’s no better feeling than being comfortable in your own skin. So, party on, people!