Dress to Impress

Dressing for double dates when you’ve been with your partner for 7 years should not be difficult.  After all, your husband/boyfriend loves you dearly.  He has seen you looking everything from beautiful to that greasy haired, tramp with spot cream all over your face.  So why the drama?  You’ve known his mate for years so that only leaves one culprit, the other girlfriend.  What is it about this scenario that makes us feel we need to dress to impress… the other woman?  She’s not your man’s other woman yet you want to look your best, or close enough.

One such evening I stood there in front of the mirror with my first outfit on.  “Nope, don’t look great”, I thought to myself.  So back to the wardrobe I went.  Ten minutes later I reappeared looking…  “Oh my God, I look like a fat trollop”.   Back to the wardrobe… “Maybe the pants I first tried on with this cardigan…hmm”.  Off I went again.

Needless to say, many outfit changes later I finally decided on an outfit that I wasn’t entirely happy with but it would do.  I jazzed it up with a few accessories, not too many.  I was conscious to not look too try-hard yet breezily cool and pretty.

Next mission, applying my make-up.  A mission it certainly is when putting make-up on is not your thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I can apply my make-up really well on the rare occasions I go to these lengths and I do scrub up well.  However, today was the exception in more ways than one: I was applying full make-up for a quick drink followed by cinema (this is not what I do) and whilst my outfit was not “too try-hard”, my make up was full on hooker!  When I saw myself in the bathroom mirror I realised I looked like I’d slapped on triple the foundation I normally would looking two shades paler than my skin colour and like I’d dipped my face in baking flour.  I wiped off what I could with toilet tissue and glumly walked down the stairs feeling not so “breezily cool and pretty” after all.

We arrived there literally minutes before our friend and his new partner and my nervousness grew.  Would we like her, would she be worthy of our wonderfully sweet natured friend, would she be easy to talk to, would she be a lot prettier than me?  As they appeared from around the corner, the least important issue of all had been settled, she was not especially pretty.  “Aaah, what a relief” I thought.

As it turned out, she was lovely, she cared deeply for our friend, genuinely understood what a darling he was, she was down to earth and we got on just fine, and she was not bad looking.  After all we did not want our friend dating an ugly duckling!

What a ridiculous experience.  The funny thing is I am not an insecure person.  I have never felt this way before, I certainly was not afraid of my partner finding her attractive, I wanted our friend to have a pretty girlfriend and I surely did not need to put myself through this.  So why all the fretting?  What is it about this scenario that makes us feel so nervous about meeting another girl as part of a double date?  The only explanation I can offer is that the media relentlessly pushes this notion that you are only worth something if you dress trendy!  I love to dress trendy and yes it does give you an ego boost but having chosen to spend my money on things like the mortgage of a lovely house and some amazing life experiences all over the globe, I do not have the sort of wardrobe that allows me to throw on a quick funky outfit.  Instead it takes a few outfit runs between the wardrobe and the mirror and some re-organising of your accessories before you can achieve that trendy look.  In hindsight I realised that if this new girl I was meeting had been dressed trendy and I had not, I would have felt insecure.  Embarrassing as it is to admit that and ridiculous as it is, sadly it’s true.

It’s fair to say that I am undoubtedly one of many to have experienced this so here are a few tips for confidence on a double date, even if you have few clothes and accessories in your collection.

  • No matter how plain the top and bottoms, quirky, blingy footwear goes a long way towards jazzing up your look.
  • A long necklace or a couple of necklaces thrown together can brighten a plain vest top.  Accessorize are great for this.
  • If long necklaces are not your thing a belt across the waist transforms the plain top into a completely different look.
  • A few loud jewellery items on your arms or fingers.
  • A hair piece creates more emphasis on a bonny made-up face rather than what’s south of the neckline.
  • Add a trendy handbag that does have some edginess if your outfit does not.
  • Bottom line, spruce up your look from insecure to trendy without getting into debt by trying to keep up with the Jones (or the celebrities) by accessorising what you have.
  • WARNING: do not do all of the above for one outfit or you will look too try-hard and there is nothing more cringe-worthy and untrendy than that look!