This week, I encourage us all to look extra fabulous at that holiday party (or anywhere, really) with a few reasons – obvious, practical, obscure – all the while ruthlessly debunking our lame excuses for not making an effort.
It’s not always about us
Dressing well, appropriately and with intention conveys our self-respect and respect toward others. Showing up to a party in your workwear, normal daywear or – shudder – in your sporty outdoorwear tells people that you consider their shindig to be same-old-everyday and unworthy of any sartorial effort.
These holiday get-togethers are the perfect opportunities to honor the event, ourselves, hosts and party-goers (the ones having to look at us all night, by the way) with your finest-looking self. Our clothing carries potent, unspoken communiques to those around us. Dressing slightly, or way above the expected level can raise our “status” and also be a little gift we give that conveys esteem and makes people happy. Plus, when someone remarks “Good-lookin’ room,” we’re psyched because we are actually in that room.
Sequins (and other fancy-ness) can break ice
We all wear clothing, so as relatable chat-fodder, this topic has no end. Holiday parties are particularly good for talking attire because everyone (ahem) has dressed with intention and are presumably looking more awesome and interesting than usual. Cheerful complaining can be a bond-forger as well; gently relayed distress over Spanx, high heels, having to wear real pants or any pants at all for that matter … hey, everybody’s been there.
Make a move, player
Or just be sweet. When we compliment what someone is wearing, it shows appreciation for that person’s style and individuality, an artful accolade that has traction (unlike – albeit nice – comps given for the –albeit nice – things that we are born with, but had no choice in). And when we hear flattery glamorously delivered by a fantastically party-shirted dude, or a classy, shimmering vision of a woman, how much more wonderful and memorable! It’s nice, admit it. What we choose to compliment in someone also reveals some of our personality to them, our preferences and what we find notable. So, in our partywear, let’s allow ourselves to feel and be as smooth as we look. Let clothing and style help to connect and relate, love and be loved.
The answer is no
We do not really need to be dressed super-comfy all of the time. The party lasts only a few hours, so challenge our culture of constant comfort and up that formality game.
I do appreciate our casual vibe here in Southwest Colorado, but isn’t it always more satisfying to do that which we don’t have to? What is bad about rebelling from our own norms and habits? A flattering, finely-tailored vintage dress and killer heels or a crisp shirt, sharp sport coat and necktie are even more sexy and subversive as we wear them, whispering a tiny “f*** you” to our beloved and benevolent gods of polyfleece and T-shirts.
That being said, not only am I from Jersey, I wear jersey, often. There are great stretchy knit jersey fabric options out there for cocktail dresses. Too tight? Too bad, use this cocktail party as a chance to show your uniquely alluring form with confidence, middle finger raised to Comfort, like a big-haired, badass broad from Exit 157 off the N.J. Turnpike.
Maybe it IS about us
Dressing up and getting fancy in ritual, sacred and special occasion wear is something humans have been doing for eons. Just as soon as we figured out to cover up for warmth, we got busy with the beads and sequins and feathers and sharkskin and bowties to commemorate our special occasions visually and intimately through our clothing and styles. A holiday party may not induce in us the awe comparable to what our ancient ancestors felt while beholding a solar eclipse, but still, I say let us continue to honor our instinctual human impulses for wearing bedazzled finery while enjoying free food. Why wouldn’t we, when our intense inner lights are so perfectly brightened by ’70s disco shirts and satin party dresses?
Have a lame excuse for dressing poorly? Let me talk you out of it at [email protected].