Friday, November 21, 2014

What to Wear to Your Own Party

Can you spot the hostess?

Oh, the slippery slope of party dressing! Unless you are invited to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party, most invitations deliver not a clue.

As in any fashionable situation there are three goals:
1) to feel pretty
2) to feel comfortable
3) to feel appropriate

Notice the emphasis on feelings. Something thought of as "pretty" may not make you feel pretty at all. Even pajamas aren't comfortable if they are made of crappy fabric that keeps riding up. And appropriate? There is no worse feeling that realizing you are the most over- or under-dressed guest.

What if you are the hostess of this event? You have a double burden because you set the mood for your party but can't be a dictator, demanding all guests reflect your mood board.

Not withstanding, if there's ever an excuse to over-dress, let it be the hostess. Dressing special shows you are serious about this party thing. Who hasn't encountered a hostess in jeans and a t-shirt when the doorbell rings? This implies our hostess is so frazzled she hasn't had time to think of herself. And I'm frazzled for her.

If what your guests wear is integral to your party's success indicate that you are, indeed, throwing a 1950s-Mad-Men-themed soiree or a Hayride Hoedown. You can't insist on compliance— the generous hostess cares about her guests and not what they wear— but you can play the part to the hilt. Entertaining is a theatrical event after all. You are the producer, director, set designer, caterer and— to some extent— the lead actor. Playing your part well insures that guests feel comfortable and pampered and in the mood to have fun.

Here are suggestions what to wear to your own party and why:

> Headband, jeweled or with a bow— keeps hair out of your eyes and/or the dip, can replace a dangly necklace or floppy earrings as adornment

> Velvet slippers (ballet or tuxedo)— most comfortable footwear on earth. Substitute delicate flat sandals if local weather permits.

> Long skirt or maxi dress (not too full)— essentially ends the footwear dilemma, is comfortable and lets you swish like Loretta Young (if reference is obscure YouTube "The Loretta Young Show")

> Palazzo pantsas above and for a more sportif look (try a brocade pair with a chambray shirt)

> Caftanbe the one who brings this back!

> Ethnic-minded outfitfrom a Chinese embroidered jacket with easy pants to a sari

Beware long and/or floppy sleeves, tops that need to be tucked, bracelets and bra straps. I'm not a fan of the "hostess apron" unless tongue is very much in cheek. A cute little apron protects nothing and a real one risks looking like you are wearing a hazmat suit.

This post brought to you by the Dry Cleaners Association of America.

Sure you want to throw that party?

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