Help me find a comfortable outfit for a 30th anniversary party
July 18, 2014 9:53 PM   Subscribe

What to wear?

The party is from 5 to 9 pm at a nice home near the CA coast. I've got nothing in my closet. I've never been fashionable. I'm normally just wearing jeans and a floral tshirt. I'm in my late 50s, 5'4", short-waisted, average build, size 6, I guess, usually small or medium tops. I want to be comfortable and presentable and maybe make a good impression. I feel like I often end up in too casual clothes.

I prefer natural fibers. A blend is ok. No linen. Maybe a longish skirt and a short sleeved or 3/4 sleeved top. Or a dress. I don't like clothes to be too tight. But of course they need some shape! Not overly fem. I pretty much have a farmer tan. Very white legs. I am fair-skinned and have light brown hair going to gray. I like blues, greens, browns, pink or coral, softer colors. Black is too harsh.

The party is next weekend so I will be dashing out to shop in a day or two. Please help dress me!
posted by goodsearch to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've had good luck with these Lands End dresses. They're cute and comfortable.
posted by bleep at 10:05 PM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Try Petites. You're right on the borderline height-wise, but as a fellow short-waisted person, the proportions will be better.

I think this dress is beautiful, and pretty versatile, so you can use it on vacation, or for another occasion. I'm no fan of spaghetti straps, so a shrug will look nice and cover your shoulders and arms.

Here's a maxi and shrug combo, in colors you like. I reads a bit informal to me, but if this is more of a beachy/pool party and less a catered affair with guys in suits, it may work for you.

This one is a pretty color, again with a shrug.

Or turquoise.

Both of these dresses have empire waists, which is very flattering on a short-waist.

Here's a little cropped cardigan you may like.

I'd go to Macy's and see what they have, there are coupons on the website, or in the paper, or at the register. You can start in Petites and float over to misses if need be. You can also get shoes (bare, flat sandals) if you need to.

You can pull this together for less than $100 easily.

Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:47 AM on July 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your description of what you feel comfortable in makes me think of J.Jill or Chico's.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:14 AM on July 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you're convenient to department stores, it might be helpful to go and try on a few things, since you're unfamiliar with what you like in dressier stuff. Nordstrom has great personal shoppers--a free service--who could help you. And be daring and try on stuff that might not seem exactly right to you. It can't hurt, there's certainly no commitment, and you may very well discover a look or style that you really like!
posted by primate moon at 5:34 AM on July 19, 2014

Banana Republic's Gemma dress might suit your needs. I'd guess the the small would be the best fit for you. The fit's pretty adjustable since it's a wrap dress and it's easy enough to make dressier/less dressy with your choice of shoes and jewelry. I would advise wearing a slip underneath if you'll be outside at all - it stays closed pretty well indoors but will blow open in the wind.

I have one and it's great for a lot of occasions, plus I can wear it to work. I'm also not a fan of the overly frilly/feminine dresses and this one feels simple enough that it works for me.
posted by snaw at 10:24 AM on July 19, 2014

I am younger than you, similar size and coloring, and similarly lax attitudes for clothing followed by angst when preparing for a dress-up occasion.

I always have better outfits if I have someone else help me shop-- they push me to try things on (!), even if I don't want to (!!), even if I don't think it will look good on me... And often, it DOES look good on me (!!!). I would say prepare for the higher price point that comes with good customer service, then find a store (perhaps by viewing their website) that has a "look" you're going for. Then, just trust the sales associate to help you.
posted by samthemander at 6:32 PM on July 19, 2014

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