Choosing an outfit for a special event

Written by Garden City Personal Stylist, Peta Preston. Click here to download and save to your phone.

Have you recently started waking in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, stricken by a traumatic nightmare you’ve just had involving a bad ball gown gone wrong? Do you find yourself Googling “the perfect cocktail dress that doesn’t require a strapless bra”? You are almost certainly experiencing the early symptoms of ‘special event anticipation disorder’.

With so many dress codes, I understand your concern. I have a Special Event Styling Package that leaves nothing to chance. I consult with you on dress code, determine your colours, body shape, budget and objectives for your desired outfit. If you don’t feel you can invest that sort of money into seeking professional help and guidance, then here are some of my tips to help ease the pressure of dressing for a special event.

A good start is to determine the dress code for the event and then work out what it means. If you Google “Formal, black tie, cocktail, smart casual, spring racing”, you will get a good idea of what these codes mean. From here, it’s important to try and erase from your brain any pre-conceived ideas of what works or what is an easy ‘go to’ option. If you don’t, your RAS (reticular activating system - which is a small section in the back part of your brain, that acts as a filter), will potentially block out 80% of the outfit options in any given store you enter that may have been the perfect outfit!

Think about the ‘non-negotiable’ aspects of your outfit and work from there. Does it need to have a sleeve or be no shorter than knee length? Do you have to be able to wear a normal bra with your choice and what heel height will be suitable and comfortable? There is nothing worse than purchasing heels you are unable to walk in properly.

Consider colours – how they make you feel, how they affect your emotions and psychology and whether they are the most flattering colour choice for your complexion. Fit is critical. If you are wearing a dress that is the right fit and style for your body shape, you are 99% guaranteed to dress for success. Remember, the clothes we wear impact the way we feel, the way we interact with the world and the outcome we receive. If you feel you look great, you will have an amazing night and at the end of the day, that’s all we really want, right?

One last tip. Think outside the square. If there is one thing I’ve learnt from being a Stylist, it’s this - There are some hidden gems in the retail stores we least expect! Portmans have some amazing, chic, expensive/quality looking cocktail gowns that would blow your mind. Bardot have changed their designers and their target market. Don’t think “tarty teenagers” or you will potentially be robbing yourself of ‘the one’.

Open your mind and allow yourself to be curious. Venture into stores/labels you wouldn’t normally shop. Above all, be confident as that is the best accessory you can wear. Click here to find out more about The Style Room and how I can help you for your next special event.