1. Highlight and make a list of key events in date order. It doesn’t matter if the calendar is on your phone or on the fridge. Create a working list and the foundation of your event wardrobe planning. You can do this electronically or in a notebook – whatever works easiest for you.
2. Make a note of any specified dress codes. If no dress code is noted then ask friends or family attending the same event what type of clothes they’re wearing.
3. Make a note of the location or venue. A beach-side occasion will be more relaxed than a fancy CBD restaurant and you’ll feel comfortable dressing accordingly. If you’re traveling away from home keep an eye on the weather forecast via the weather app on your phone. This will give you a good forecast a week or so out, so you’ll know whether you have to adapt your outfit because it’s hotter or cooler than expected.
4. Make a note of the time of day. A lunch-time event is most likely to be less dressy than evening but depending on the occasion or the location, it will still probably mean dressing up.
5. Look inside your wardrobe. Occasion pieces don’t get to come out to play as often as our everyday clothes so before you shop for something new, check what you already have hanging in your wardrobe. It could be a favourite from a previous spring-summer that you’d forgotten about. If you bought it for a specific occasion, take it out again for a different type of occasion, with perhaps different guests from that first one. If you want to give the dress or outfit a fresh look, do that with a new pair of shoes or a clutch.
6. Create a shopping wish list so you stay on track and make the most of your shopping time. Browsing online (I call this research) before you head in store is also a great way to save time and get clear on what you’re looking for.
7. Consider whether buying one new occasion outfit for the season could work across a number of events. You could have a family wedding to attend and then back that outfit up at your office Christmas party. If you think beyond the new outfit’s first wear then you are ticking the fashion budget box – big time.
8. If you start with the dress then you can work to find the coordinating accessories. This is very important when putting together a race-day outfit. Not a dress kind of girl? Silk pants can be dressed up beautifully for a day-time or evening event.
9. Look for dresses or separates that can be dressed up or dressed down. This way you’ll have more cost-per-wear for your purchase more quickly.
10. Buy shoes that suit the occasion. Killer heels are just that if you’re at an event where you’re standing on your feet all evening. Look for a heel height below 9cm or opt for a wedge. A block heel is a winner for this season – on trend and comfortable. Love flats? Team them with a maxi dress and no-one will be the wiser.
11. Don’t buy it unless you love it.I don’t have many rules but, when it comes to your personal style, I’ll tell you something for nothing: if that garment doesn’t bring a sparkle to your eye in the change room, it certainly won’t when you get it home. Never settle for a clothing piece– an event piece in particular. You want to feel THE BUSINESS at that event and that feeling starts with a garment or outfit that makes you feel that way from the moment you first try it on.
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