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My daughter is going to a friend's 16th birthday party, to be held at home in the evening. The invitation specifies "formal": friend has always loved dressing-up, and what better excuse to get glamorous!! I expect she and the other girls will be wearing evening dresses. Dd has been thinking about gender identity and conformity and has said that for some years now she has felt very uncomfortable and "not herself" in a dress, especially a formal one. Last party (smart but not formal), she crept off to the loo halfway through and changed from her dress back into jeans and baggy t-shirt, and felt embarrassed about having done so.
I observed that for certain occasions (e.g. if you're a bridesmaid who is asked to wear a particular outfit) you just have to suck it up and conform in order to please your host, but this doesn't seem to be such an occasion. Dd says that the birthday girl is unlikely to be offended no matter what dd wears, so long as she makes a good faith effort. Her friends are all quite cool, and I don't anticipate anybody would make a fuss unless dd turned up in ancient jeans because she couldn't be bothered to dress up.
So this could be a good opportunity for dd to be herself, but it's tricky. I suggested a tux, but that didn't appeal. 1) She doesn't want to look like a man either. She dislikes the polarisation of gender roles. 2) I suppose it's difficult to buy a tux that would fit her curves?
What about black trousers and a "Chinese" style shirt with black collar... Kind of what you see waiting staff at posh events wear... (And beauty therapists), but I've seen both men and women dressed that way and it would bring out her natural beauty/handsomeness as I think they can be rather flattering. Plus a bit different without being garish or flamboyant.
So if she's curvy - how about high waisted long trousers with wide bell bottoms (pref with turn up). Maybe braces, over a smart silk or white or gold green but definitely plain shirt. Jazzy bits might include cool cufflink style buttons.
Thanks guys, some great ideas there!!! I think she might well go for the Chinese shirt. She was eyeing up something similar (but less fancy) in the charity shop today while I successfully refrained from saying she'd look like a waiter!! The beautician's tunic looks appealing too.
Dd's male cousin wore something similar to a formal event a few years ago. Personally I did think he looked like a waiter, but dd has better fashion sense and would do a good job of glamming it up with jewelry or some sparkly shoes.
A suit might be a good investment, I'm thinking something like they do in Next or similar, which you might wear to a job interview?
The jacket could be worn with jeans for a less formal but still cool and made-an-effort look, or with the matching trousers and a shirt for formal occasions and actual job interviews, or with the trousers, a coloured top and some funky beads for something in-between like maybe this party.
A cut like this would be easy enough to wear and could be worn with the kind of shoes she might go for - not high heels but something practical and smart, e.g. Kickers or Doc Martens or something?