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By: Chris Scarles

Follow these tips to help you look like the belle of the ball. Consider the occasion carefully and do your research before you let the credit card fly in all directions. Is it:

Indoor / outdoor?

Sitting / standing up?

Daytime / evening?

Glam / relaxed?

Be yourself. Don't become all frivolous and flowery if, at the best of times, you feel better in a neat suit (i.e. you are a classic). Or don't put yourself in that well co-ordinated suit if you feel more comfortable in trousers and a top (you might well then be a natural). Dressing according to your personality will help you have more fun in the process.

If you have not consulted it yet, Chapter 4 of Colour Me Confident deals with the issues of Style Personalities. Once you know and understand your Style Personality, putting your everyday and "special event" wardrobes together will become second nature.

Ignore fashion. Just because it's "in" it doesn't mean that the garment you are considering is going to be right for you. As well as colour and the price you need to check things like scale of the pattern, where the waist is, the length of the dress/skirt and whether these are right - or wrong - for you. The baby-doll look is popular now, but do you want to look pregnant? We always advise that you should wear clothes that are comfortable - a little looser is a lot more flattering than a little too tight.

Standing or sitting

If you are going to be standing up for the whole occasion, you MUST wear shoes you have worn before which have been put through the test.

If the occasion takes you into a garden, choose a stack heel or wedge which are unlikely to sink into the ground as you step on the lawn. Stack heels are big this season, and the choice of style and colour is yours for the taking.

Warning: Linen is a fabulously cool fabric to wear in spring and summertime, but if you are going to spend a fair amount of time sitting down, you may want to consider its crease factor.

Plain or patterned

You need to consider whether what you are buying is going to be a one-off or something you'll want to wear again and again.

With so much pattern around you'll have a field day choosing yours. Make sure the size is in proportion with your scale. Patterns can be great to "hide" bits you don't want to show off: a patterned top or dress can help disguise round tummies.

If you are wearing a pattern, keep the accessories plain; i.e. with a patterned dress, choose a plain coloured bag and shoes. Think about the costume jewellery too. Of course if you are a creative, you will ignore all this and do what you fancy on the day!

A plain coloured outfit will be more versatile as you can change your look simply by swapping accessories

Buying clothes should not be a chore. It is about having fun. Once you know what suits you and what colours and styles you should go for, shopping will be that much easier.

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