Was tossing a few final items into my suitcase for a quick trip back home when the phone rang. It was my ever-cheerful mom reminding me to bring along a "nice Sunday dress" to wear to my brother's engagement party. (Yes, even my dear little brother is going to beat me to the altar. Have decided to forgive him, however, since he and his fiancée have decided on an exotic destination wedding to lovely, tropical Hawaii!) While shrugging off frightening visions of Church Lady attire I listened with half an ear to her ramblings when something she said brought me back to reality.
"What mom?" I said. "What was that about a high school reunion?"
"Oh yes, dear. Remember? The invitation came here and I knew you would be absolutely swamped with your move and your new job so I just replied for you. I said you would be thrilled to attend. Remember that darling Becky Hollis?"
(Class President, dated the football team, perfect teeth, perfect tan, perfect hair, probably a Victoria's Secret model by now. )
" I phoned in your RSVP and we had such a nice little chat. I told her you would probably be attending on your own, since you weren't married or engaged..."
(Gee thanks, Mom. Now I can't even hire an escort to pose as my hottie hunk boyfriend.) As mom droned on and on I started to hyperventilate. A class reunion? I mean, high school was painful enough when I was living through it, why on earth would I want to wander down that particular nightmare lane? It ranks right up there with having a televised bikini wax.
"...sailing on your new boyfriend's yacht. And she was so impressed when I told her about your job promotion, practically VP already..."
Hmmm, that's a new angle I could play up -- chic, powerful corporate executive (with corporate accessories) with handsome yacht-owning boyfriend, jetting around the globe, too busy making millions and setting the ad world on fire to settle down in the 'burbs with an SUV and the requisite 2.5 -- hey, if mom believes it maybe the rest of the Class of '?? (a twirty girl never reveals her true age) will too!
Thank heaven I will be in stylish shoes on semi-familiar ground (with access to Shop Girl's closet and expert advice) so I needn't waste valuable time and energy stressing over what to wear. In fact, great style advice is best passed on to others in fashion dilemma-land:
What to Wear to a Class Reunion
While you want to wow your classmates with your stylishness and enviability, it is also important to exude self confidence and grace. Your Juicy sweats, while comfortable and suitable for a binge/veg/dish session at home with the girls are best left there. This is the time to break out your flirtiest skirt, sexiest sandals and the drop-dead jewelry.
1. The little black dress. Always a safe bet for an evening reunion (which mine is). Go for a length either just above or just below the knee (anything shorter looks sluttish, anything longer looks frumpish). If you have a great tan and arms with little or no UADD (under arm dingle dangle) go for a sleeveless or short sleeve style. If wearing a halter style, don't get too plunging or too bare (there will be wives and girlfriends there with talons and eye-daggers). Add a shawl for chilly evenings, a super sexy pair of skyscrapers and a chic bracelet. FYI -- the little black dress doesn't have to be black!
2. The evening suit. Great for girls who are more comfortable in suits than dresses. Also projects a very executive/corporate/professional image (think Law & Order vs. Desperate Housewives). Or go for a more girly/feminine look with a dressy skirt and shimmery top.
3. Pantsuit. Go for a dressy tuxedo-style pantsuit in either black or white. Not a good idea to wear the jacket backwards ala Celine Dion. Also, don't go bare under there -- only celebs can pull off that look -- wear a simple camisole or shell underneath. Bump up the volume with a sexy pair of metallic sandals.
4. Accessories. Time for the good jewelry. Pearls are always a classic look, especially with anything black. You can add a funky edge with bold silver or gold jewelry. Chunky turquoise is hot, as well as coral and semi-precious stones. I am totally in love with the fab gems from jakeandabbie.com. An evening bag with a shoulder strap is your best bet (with all the hugging you will be doing, a clutch bag might put out an eye). A pair of sexy sandals will do wonders for your confidence, as well as complete the look for any of the above. I suggest you practice walking in them if you are not used to wearing skyscrapers. You can erase your entire professional/confident/stylish image in one fell swoop by teetering about with wobbly ankles.
Do's and Don'ts
- DO update your look. Make sure your hair and makeup show that you have entered the new millennium with style.
- DON'T dress too young and trendy. You might still "have it" but it's not a good idea to flaunt it in skintight dresses or miniskirts (save it for a beach weekend). Ditto the multiple body piercings. Low rider pants with two inches of bare midriff and a diamond navel ring are best left at the boardwalk. (Besides, there's something not quite right about having to lift up the belly roll to check the carat weight.)
- DON'T skimp on the essentials -- great skin, fabulous hair and a fresh mani/pedi are absolutely essential to the whole package, as well as a great confidence booster. This might be the time to go for a little treat -- teeth whitening, professional highlights, light chemical peel. (Just remember, as your dermatologist will tell you, whenever you do anything to your skin you need a couple of weeks for recovery, whether it be as simple as a facial or as complex as microdermabrasion.) Be sure to plan ahead for any of these types of splurges.
- DON'T stress too much -- luckily, everyone else is stressing too! But once you get there and start connecting with old friends, oohing and aahing over photos of the fam, collecting email addresses and taking note that all the really skinny high-school-hottie-chicks have morphed into "before" examples from The Swan, your stress will magically fade away! Take comfort in the fact that no one is immune to the effects of gravity, (unless they have a higher percentage of silicone than body fat) and you can always tell who has had recent Botox by their total lack of expression. You might even look up to find that somewhat interesting guy from drama class has aged quite nicely and is now a definitely interesting/successful/SINGLE guy who lives, incidentally, just minutes away from you!
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