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Help ! I don't know what to wear to go out to dinner! Long and depressing

(11 Posts)
Neverthoughtidneedanamechange Mon 01-Jun-09 13:14:17

I don't have a specific occasion in mind but I'm turning down invitations to go out because I don't have anything to wear, and I don't know what people do wear nowadays because I never go out any more.

I need a couple of outfits I can wear to go out whether it be somewhere quite posh or relaxed. I don't want to buy loads, just a few things to get me started while I get back into the swing of things.

I have a fear of being overdressed which is a problem as when I do try to make the effort I feel like a kid dressing up as my mum.

I'm mid-30s 5ft 2, size 16 and don't do skirts or dresses. Shouldn't really have upper arms on show either. Literally all I have that I could wear to go out in is black bootcut trousers. I don't have any eveningy tops, only variations on t shirts. I like those shrug cardigan things that you tie in front but I don't know what to wear with them. I don't know what sort of shoes or bag to get.

To put the above into context my husband was having an affair and my confidence is very low as a result. I now have to try to resume a normal social life and I am unsure where to start. The sort of things I envisage doing are going for drinks at a city centre bar, going for dinner at a trendy hmm city centre restaurant and staying in a poncy country house hotel.

I have made a start by arranging to go out with a female friend this weekend but I need urgent guidance. I would probably like to stick to the black trousers to start with while I find my feet.

I know this sounds silly but I haven't been out for years and I don't know where to start. I'm on a tight budget too.

Please help! blush

lynniep Mon 01-Jun-09 13:28:37

Sorry to hear you're feeling so down.

I always go back to my 'friends' the bootcut black trousers when I put on weight. If I'm really not comfy with shoes, I just wear black boots with a bit of a heel.

Topwise - well the last top I wore on a night out was black - sort of lightweight knitted with sparkly silver bits. Had short slightly puff sleeves and was baggy enough not to feel like all my bulges were on show. I got the whole outfit from tescos for a tenner. Then I just put on a big necklace and earrings and took a plain black leather bag (clutch sized but with a shoulder strap) I dont think I looked underdressed and I felt 'safe' in what I was wearing (I'm 34 - 14-16 and 5ft4")

There are some lovely pretty kaftan style [http://www.peacocks.co.uk/Womenswear/Tops/Tunics/DARKBLUE_CHIFFON_KAFTAN-34752093.html] tops out there at the mo as well - they can be dressed up or down. I'd wear a vest top underneath. And a big chunky necklace. I often wear empire line style tops because I'm lacking a waist (actually pg at the mo but even when not I have to get down to a 12 before a waist appears) and a little cardi over the top to hide the tops of arms.

I wouldnt panic too much! Stick to basic - no one will notice - and once you've been out once - you'll see what other people wear and get a better idea for yourself.

Good luck!

Neverthoughtidneedanamechange Mon 01-Jun-09 14:07:56

Thank you. I feel an idiot for having to ask these things so thank you for being kind.

I was wondering about going to a personal shopper at John Lewis but the prospect is quite scary and I don't think I'd be able to afford much there at the moment.

LivingLaVidaLurker2 Mon 01-Jun-09 14:19:29

You're certainly not an idiot! Most of us need help - that's why those Gok/ Trinny & Susannah programmes are so popular.

Do you live anywhere near a large shopping centre? I live near Lakeside and they offer a free personal shopping service. I got really fat and had nothing at all to wear. So, I visited this lady, who asked me questions about my lifestyle etc.. I had quite a small budget for some key pieces, so she took me to some of the cheaper shops.

I know it seems scary to do this - I put off my apointment for ages, thinking she might just meet me and say, "Sorry, you're a lost cause" but it was actually brilliant. And because it was a shopping centre, rather than just one shop, I had loads of choice.

As you're after urgent advice...personally I think black bootcut trousers are great and can be easily dressed up with a Saturday night top. Shrugs look great, because you could wear a really glitzy vest top underneath them, but still have your arms covered. I do this a lot. The, get a fabulous accessory like this and you'll look amazing.

Good luck. I bet you'll be a style goddess in no time!

Neverthoughtidneedanamechange Mon 01-Jun-09 14:39:16

Thanks, yes, I'd like to try a shopping service. Round here I'm limited to John Lewis or Debenhams. Glad it wasn't as scary as it sounds.

I have ordered a chunky glass pendant thing. I don't usually wear any jewellery so it's a start.

squeaver Mon 01-Jun-09 14:42:05

I think most Debenhams have a personal shopping service now. You should give them a go because they have a really good selection of things. It will really boost your confidence.

Good luck!

TheProvincialLady Mon 01-Jun-09 14:49:21

Yes, the Debenhams service is quite good I hear and they have a good range of clothes at different prices - more so than JL which can be quite pricy.

PolkSaladLucie Mon 01-Jun-09 15:05:05

I'm 25, size 16/18 and about 5ft 7in, hope I can help, but my 4 month old is grumbling, so it might take a while!

*Work out which main colour suits you best - e.g. black, brown or navy. If you stick to that colour, you can buy less as you can mix and match more.

*I love shrug cardis and have a few in a different colours. New Look have them in for £10 a the moment, I just got the lilac and love it. I wear a colum of colour such as navy linen trousers and navy top, with the cardi for colour, and then pick up on colour with flip-flops, scarf, bag or jewellery.

*Scarves/pashminas do the same job of adding colour. A lot of towns/malls will have a store selling them 3 for £10 or something. choose a few which complement your skin tone and your chosen 'main colour'. Or try ebay.

*Dresses can be really flattering. I love wrap dresses, as they show of my waist (I'm quite hourglassy). I can wear a vest underneath for modesty or not and flash the cleavage.

*I always go for three quarter length sleaves, and tops with 'loose' sleeves are very flattering. Kimono style tops, tunics and batwing tops are great for hiding arms.

*Low necks, especially scoops and deep-v's are good for those with larger busts. It's my best area so I show it off (without being slutty). If you prefer to cover up, put a vest underneath - never wear a high neck or you'll look like you have a shelf instead of a cleavage...

*Always spend money on good underwear. Can make a £20 dress look a million bucks.

*If you're on a budget, always make sure each new item you buy can be worn with more than 2 others items. Get tops you can wear with linen trousers for cool relaxed look during the day and dress up with dark denim jeans and killer heels at night.

Hope all this helps, and apologies if I sound like I'm teaching Granny how to suck eggs! and sorry for any assumptions I've made...

PolkSaladLucie Mon 01-Jun-09 15:19:28

I meant to say on the dress front - be brave and try a dress or skirt. You might be surprised and you'll be surprised what suits you when you step out of your comfort zone.

Neverthoughtidneedanamechange Mon 01-Jun-09 15:42:55

Thanks, I got that Colour me Confident book a while ago so I am getting to know which colours suit me. My main colour is brown but it looks drab for evening no matter what I put with it so I am trying to put my other colours with black and that seems to be okay. I am trying to pick up some scarves and accessories.

I did try some dresses on in Bravissimo the other day but they all looked dreadful and I would feel quite overdressed in a dress anyhow. I have not worn a skirt since the day I left school and now it seems to look wrong.

PolkSaladLucie Mon 01-Jun-09 16:04:31

Brown doesn't have to be drab. Looks great with yellow and orange for a zingy bright look, and nice with pale blue or pale pink for a softer look. Also looks great with jeans - bit more relaxed than black, I think...

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