I love a party! When we were invited to a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville party, I was struck with equal parts excitement and anxiety. What would I wear?
In the past, I would do a quick scan of my closet, determine I had NOTHING to wear and run out in search of the perfect outfit. This could take hours or days. In the case of Margaritaville clothing at Labor Day, it could have driven me insane. I would be scouring clearance racks in search of a leftover, festive summer look that was both flattering and affordable. Looking only to my existing wardrobe, this could be the best or worst thing.
I should start by saying that I surprise even myself when I find I have no real Margaritaville-wear.Lots of flower-y summer things, just nothing that screams parrot-head. I do not take theme parties lightly so I decided going to take advantage of one of my own exceptions: make something. I have a pretty large collection of fabric trims (surprised?). I started the theme with these flip flops that I decorated a couple of summers ago.
I combed my closet for plain garments that could be enhanced. I decided on either a bright pink tee or a lime green dress. Nothing in my trim collection was exactly what I had in mind so off to JoAnn's for a legal trim purchase. An hour and a half and $20 later, I had trims for my green dress.
A trip to Party City for accessories was positively fruitless. I bought a 99 cent bright pink lei.
An hour til party time and I was scrambling around for pink thread and setting up my sewing machine. I was going to add this pink fringe-y stuff to all of the edges of my dress. Festive!
Panic-mode doesn't make for a fun start to a party. I still had jello shots to finish and serving plates to etch. As I was lowering the sewing machine needle onto my dress, it hit me. I was ruining a perfectly good dress with $20 worth of trims for a party. What the heck????
This feeling of having to look perfect for each and every event contributed largely to my over-shopping in the past. Yes, I can be a bit of an over-achiever, but how important is it REALLY to have a perfect parrot-head outfit for a neighborhood party? And how much fun would I be stressing like a crazy person?
Stop the sewing machine, take a breath and regroup. I ended up wearing the green dress with my decked-out flip flops and pink lei. Period. I was not denied admission to the party. I was not ridiculed. I'm not sure anyone looked twice. In fact, many guests were simply sporting party clothes. I was comfortable and we had a great time.
Another big lesson this year. I understand the idea of looking nice for a party but more important than the perfect outfit is a relaxed spirit, ready for fun and laughs. I have spent so, so many hours stressing over perfect looks. So, so much money on one-time outfits. So, so much time beating myself up over not being perfect.
I returned the bag of trims to JoAnn's. Another lesson learned.