It's the fifteenth today. There are officially ten days left until Christmas Day!
From what I can see of other people (hey, I like watching people - it's one of my favourite hobbies) this is about the time when everyone starts to panic. Have I got all the presents? I haven't sent my cards yet. Oh, my word, I forgot to get a beef joint for the Christmas Eve Dinner Party... You know, things like that.
It's also the start of the Office Christmas Party Season. So people start worrying about their outfits and hair / makeup. It's this that I was thinking about as I walked home from dropping the kids off at school this morning.
I can understand wanting to look your best, but why buy a new dress unless you need to? I thought. (Maria K, stop shaking your head at me - you can tell me off later) I understand the need for new makeup; after all it does have a shelf life and can cause skin problems if you use out of date makeup (been there done that). I can understand getting your hair done; I never feel right when my hair is terrible, in fact you can pretty much gauge my mood by the state of my hair.
Nails are things that get in my way, so I don't understand them or bother with them. Shoes - well, they are a weakness with me; if I like the shoes, I will buy the shoes: it doesn't matter if I have an occasion to wear them to or not...
But all this fuss over a dress for an office party? And it's not fussing over the material or the design (that's what I look for in clothes) or even the comfort. Everyone is obsessed with what size they are! They go on crash diets which make them cranky and unfriendly, just so they can get into a size 12 when they know that straight after the party they'll be a 14 again!
So, here are my tips for dress shopping. Please bear in mind that I know nothing about fashion - go see my friend Maria Kuroshchepova if you want fashion advice - but I do know a couple of things you might want to take into account:
1) Make sure you are wearing the right size bra.
Get yourself measured (wearing the right size will make your clothes hang properly) and buy new underwear to go with the dress. Why? Because if you are going to get drunk and dance on the tables, you do not want your boss or the CEO seeing your comfy, grey, granny pants as you fall off and your skirt flies over your head. It will also make you feel better about yourself.
2) For Goddess' sake, don't worry about the size of the dress!
Sizes are defunct. Many manufacturers are still using the same sizes that they used in the 50's and haven't changed them. There are a few more factors that you need to take into account than just size:
- Shape - if the dress is the wrong shape for your body it will not look right and you will not feel right.
- Colour - Some colours will suit your skin, eyes and hair colouration. Some won't do not pick a colour that doesn't suit you. Get a second opinion if you need to. I cannot wear colours that are too light, but jewel colours suit me down to the ground. Black doesn't always suit everyone, white, when used in the wrong way can make you feel fat.
- Material - certain material drape better over bulges. If you have sexy curves (like me) then you need to go for a material that drapes over them rather than clings.
- Comfort - If the dress is too tight, go for a bigger size. Cut the label out if you have to, but being comfortable in what you are wearing makes you confident. Confidence is empowering.
Stay that three times. Say it out loud at home and whenever you look into a mirror in the changing room, repeat it in your head. Make yourself believe it. Especially when you find a dress you like and your shopping partner (mine is TOH, yours might be your BFF) says something inadvertently nasty like "Your bum looks huge in that."
4) Don't believe everything you are told - even by your shopping partner!
I bought the most gorgeous summer dress last summer, swingy and sexy and just the right colours. I bought it because TOH said I looked great in it. When we went through my wardrobe in the autumn, I tried it on again and we realised it was the wrong shape for me. It's empire line and I need a bodice that hits the edge of my ribs before it flares out in a summer dress. I still have it though - I'm going find a decent seamstress and get it re-tailored to suit me.
5) ABOVE ALL - When you wear the dress it must make you feel good!
Feeling good in what you are wearing makes you confident, feeling confident makes you stand tall. Self Confidence + Good Posture = Looking Good in the Mirror which makes you look and feel damn Sexy!
What is important when you are in a stressful situation like an Office Party, isn't how much wine you can drink, but how in control and confident you can be. If you feel sexy inside, you'll be able to network that much better and possibly even impress the boss! So that third glass of wine before you eat or before you even go to the party probably isn't a good idea...
I hope that has gone some small way to helping you choose this year's Party Dress. I haven't got any parties to go to, so I will stick with wearing what I am comfortable in... *grins*