Fashion emergency.
January 15, 2013 10:19 AM   Subscribe

I am traveling out of town Friday morning for a family Bat Mitzvah. I had intended to go shopping for my outfit last week, but didn't due to flu symptoms, an unexpectedly heavy workload, and my characteristic sartorial ineptitude and hatred of shopping. My solution is to wear dressy black pants with a dressy blouse. I do not own such a blouse and must have one delivered to my doorstep. Is the black pants + blouse solution acceptable? What style and/or brand of blouse should I look for and where? How can I avoid looking business casual at this semi-dressy occasion?

I need a vendor with two-day delivery, so I am thinking Zappos or Amazon, but other recommendations are welcome. I am a petite curvy lady and a lot of things don't fit me well (hence my shopping hate). Added difficulty: I'm the eccentric aunt who is judged somewhat by my family. I know, fuck 'em, but it will be less stressful for me if I can fit in and not be the one wearing the wrong thing. Help me, Metafilter, you're my only hope.
posted by Wordwoman to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is the family Conservative/Orthodox/etc.? If so, I'd double-check with the kid's mom re: pants.
posted by griphus at 10:24 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

To clarify, the question has nothing to do with what is appropriate religiously. Dresses are not required. The kid's mom is my sister-in-law.
posted by Wordwoman at 10:25 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

i would avoid a white top, just because all of my photog friends and other vender friends wear a white top and black pants when they work. Unless they are conservative, I can't imagine it would be all that off.
posted by Blisterlips at 10:26 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Could you buy several dresses or blouses from Zappos and return the ones you don't use? If you're worried about sartorial ineptitude, I think a dress is the easiest way to go. One piece, no matching required. Maybe a sequined top? That would look festive and dressy paired with black pants. You could also wear it with a black cardigan to tone it down.
posted by chickenmagazine at 10:27 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sorry to threadsit, but I do not wear dresses or skirts.
posted by Wordwoman at 10:27 AM on January 15, 2013

You can do a fancy sweater set, or a nice silky top. You should be able to STEAL stuff left over from the holidays and make it work for you.

Macy's has a TON of very nice things, black sequined tops, etc that you should be able to make work for you.

I didn't see a lot of nice stuff at Nordstrom. Macy's has the best sales anyway.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:31 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

As a major underdresser myself, I would just make sure that it is not an Oxford-type shirt. Go for gender performance and wear something a guy wouldn't wear. I personally would, in this situation, get a sweater set from Talbot's or Land's End and wear that instead of a blouse.

Borrow a necklace or what have you from a friend if you don't have one. Wear makeup if you can bring yourself to do it.

I would say no sequins. Sequins are for evening. If there is a dinner, then sure, wear sequins to that. If the dinner is right after the Friday night service, if any, then of course you can wear the dinner outfit to services, no biggie.

And mazel tov! If you get the right top, you can wear that to her wedding, too. :-)
posted by skbw at 10:31 AM on January 15, 2013

As far as style goes, I'd look for a long blouse or tunic. That reads much dressier and more festive than a shorter or tucked in blouse, which would be more likely to come off as the business-y look you're trying to avoid. (And it's easier to get one that fits.) Also patterns or embellishments, both of which are not generally business-casual-compatible. Or black. All black, especially with interesting jewelry, looks dressy.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 10:34 AM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you're curvy, I would avoid button-front blouses because they could gape over the bust.
posted by Safiya at 10:36 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Look at Zappos. Here's an option. You can search by what's available in plus size, and also things that are similar to other things. Good luck!
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:39 AM on January 15, 2013

How about a silk shell and an embellished jacket or cardigan? Then a nice necklace and you should be fine.
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:39 AM on January 15, 2013

another. another.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:42 AM on January 15, 2013

Boden has some nice blouses, not sure about the 2-day shipping but I'm sure if you're willing to pay for it, it's likely available. A lot of dressier blouses are on sale after the holidays. Nordstrom? Bluefly?

I agree with the avoidance of white with black trousers -- it's kind of waitstaff-y. Something longer, silky maybe? A dark pattern or dark, rich color if you're up for it.

And also excellent shoes if you have them. Can dress up or down an outfit in so many ways! I'm a flats girl myself, and I know Zappos has many of them to choose from.

Mazel Tov to your niece!
posted by mamabear at 10:43 AM on January 15, 2013

I think a brightly colored peplum top would suit petite and curvy and paired with festive jewelry and black pants would be appropriate for an aunt at a Bat Mitzvah (but I've only been to one in my life). Bluefly has fast shipping options, as well as many fancier peplum tops.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:44 AM on January 15, 2013

All black, especially with interesting jewelry, looks dressy.

I came in to say the exact same thing. Wear a black top and some sort of over-the-top necklace or earrings and you're set.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:44 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

And add a scarf or pashmina if it's a bit chilly. I have one in grey tones and it's perfect for these sorts of things - dressy enough but fairly gender neutral. And make your hair look good - whatever that means for your cut.
posted by barnone at 11:01 AM on January 15, 2013

Silk (or similar) blouse, maybe with interesting sleeves, definitely in a black or in a darker jewel tone. I will say that not all blacks are the same, and depending on the age/fabric of your black pants, you run the risk of having a mismatch. Interesting jewelry, like a statement necklace-- doesn't have to be big! Throw on a pashmina or shawl; you can usually get really lovely large dressy ones this time of year from Nordstroms or Bloomingdales. If you go on the fancy shawl route, I would definitely go with a solid color blouse and maybe a velvet print or lightly beaded shawl. (I have a gray pashmina that goes everywhere with me, and it works well with more interesting blouses.)

Another traditional choice is the jacket route; I go by a Chico's every time I head to the supermarket and I have to say they have had some pretty cute jackets in the last season or so. Someone I know who falls into the curvy side wears a lot of silk patterned jackets and they're both attractive and practical-- warmer, with pockets, etc.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:26 AM on January 15, 2013

Okay, not sure how curvy you are, but here are some additional options...

day sequins are a viable option for my urban life & Bloomingdales can meet your shipping requirements, I believe

solid and shiny is often safe and many necklaces will work and I'd go with the green.

less drama than the previous two

more sequins, if you like

I might wear this with a sweater in black or brown.

I have a shirt similar to this from Marks & Sparks that I've been wearing a lot lately

Good luck! I hope you find a way to be yourself in whatever clothes you choose.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 12:18 PM on January 15, 2013

I would not do a button up, but that's because I find it hard to find ones that fit when not in-person shopping.

Rather, I'd go with something like a cheaper version of this top, a basic cowl neck sleeveless tank under a cardigan of some sort, maybe this one.

It would be better with a pop of color underneath, rather than black.

Another option would be a plain shell, and a nice color-popping scarf under a cardigan.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 12:32 PM on January 15, 2013

Black pants and blouse are fine for a bat mitzvah. Black pants, jacket and blouse will be what a lot of women are wearing. Silk is great, lace-trimmed is great, anything but Oxford cloth button-down and you're good. This would be fun if the Michael Kors XL works for you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:55 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oo, and get this if you wear a plus size!
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:57 PM on January 15, 2013

I've never been to a Bat Mitzvah but i'm going to throw my shirt in the ring anyway.

I think any of these would look nice with black pants and be a shade more dressy than a plane button down. Their all from Zappos.1, 2, 3, 4 5 or 6,
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 4:02 PM on January 15, 2013

Thank you! In looking at the links, I realized that I already had some appropriate choices in my wardrobe. I'm borrowing some chunky jewelry and am good to go.
posted by Wordwoman at 11:50 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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