Hostessing 101: Part 2, The PRACTICALLY perfect party ensemble!

Mirror, mirror on the wall…what is a perfect party outfit for a hostess? Guests expect the hostess to look extra-special, sparkly and fun, but she also has serious work to do during the party. The practically perfect party ensemble finds a way to be both extra-special and practical, it has beauty and brawn. After years and years of hostessing, Miss Party has compiled a mental checklist of the most important points to have in a hostess’ party wear. Awareness of what you’re looking for helps you see the FLOWERS from the weeds.

This post is a continuation of “HOSTESSING 101: PART 1, PRE-PARTY PRIMPING AND PAMPERING!”.

What does a PRACTICALLY perfect party ensemble look like for a hostess?

The clothing has a comfortable fit. Your arms can move in all directions comfortably. You can bend or squat to the ground without feeling like your backside is exposed. It is not too tight or restrictive anywhere.

You can navigate in the party space wearing the outfit. Are there stairs or any other obstacles? A long skirt may trip you up when ascending stairs with your hands full or a very full skirt may hide the next step when descending stairs or the hem will end up in the dip on the coffee table.

Ideally, the outfit is in a medium to dark color or multi-colored pattern that would hide an unfortunate food or drink stain. The chance of a food stain is fairly high unless you have waitstaff handling all the food. Depending on the season, a lighter color outfit may be most appropriate, just be sure to wear an apron (that’s clean) during all food prep and handling. There are lots and lots of adorable aprons available to still have you looking cute when working.

The outfit is appropriate in color tone and fabric to the season the event is approaching or is in, but not the season that is past. In retail, every season has standard color tones associated with it. As we approach or are in any particular season, seeing those color tones (and fabrics) evokes anticipation of things to come, it feels fresh. By the time a season is almost complete, most people want to move on and are tired of everything associated with it.

You are wearing the right undergarments for your outfit. Do you have the right type of bra, or shaping/smoothing undergarment? If not, take the outfit with you to a store that sells a good selection and let a salesperson help you find the right thing out of the myriad of choices. Shaping undergarments are amazing and can take 10 pounds off you instantly BUT, of course, you still want to be comfortable wearing it for 4-5 hours.

The outfit’s fabric is fuss-free and wrinkle-resistant, and doesn’t make you feel the need to tug, tuck or pull at it to keep everything in place as you move about. Ideally, the fabric would be also be unlikely to snag on something and easy to care for in terms of stain-removal later.

A small pocket somewhere on the outfit, is a ‘really nice to have’ feature. You can stash your lipstick or earring that just lost it’s backing, or temporarily hide a discarded napkin left on a table. Miss Party loves pockets and it might be a deal-breaker for her!

Your outfit includes a layering piece that can be put on or taken off as room temperature changes in the party space. Never let ’em see you sweat or shiver! Your nerves can make you cold and shivery at the beginning of the party, but later when you’re busy working, you may get too hot. Regulate your body temperature with something like a light sweater.

Your shoes are comfortable and practical but still stylish and attractive. Both are important. Depending on how much they can be seen, you might be able to sway which is more important. If you’ll be standing on grass, a heel is problematic, go with a wedge or flat. A backless sandal or mule-style shoe may fly off when you’re transporting items or or going down stairs. Party shoes should not be visibly worn, scuffed or dirty.

Your jewelry looks current but is practical for a worker-bee like the hostess. It’s very easy for long necklaces and dangly bracelets to catch on things or get dipped into party platters. Be sure all jewelry will work for the responsibilities you’ll have during the party.

You have additional accessories nearby that may be needed for the particular location or time of day the party will be held. Fashion sunglasses or a hat? Maybe a second pair of sandals (not rubber flip-flops) or flats hiding nearby that you can change into later? Lay out a wrap in case there’s an evening chill?

The complete ensemble walks the line between classic, stylish or sophisticated, but it does NOT cross over to wacky, outlandish, or overtly sexy. The outfit should not be SO ‘practical and comfortable’ that it is frumpy and there is a big difference between classic and dated. Style can be had at ANY price point, so no sass or excuses, please –Target has seen to that!

The complete ensemble makes YOU feel great! Feeling self-confident helps you to BE self-confident. It’s the “X factor” that money can’t buy. Self-confidence makes you radiant and helps you feel calmer and in control of your emotions even when things are a bit chaotic.

*This list is not in order of importance.


Here is a link to “MISS PARTY’S PARTY ENSEMBLE PLANNER” to help you get that practically perfect party ensemble pulled together by the time you need it. Use the planner whether you are the hostess or an invited guest to a special party where you really want to look and feel your best.

Some of us like to clothing shop alone, some prefer to shop with a trusted friend or family member. (Miss Party is a loner in this endeavor.) If you enjoy being with a shopping buddy or two, do be mindful about being open to input BUT sticking to items that fit within your style and what looks good on YOU (now is probably not the time to go rogue); staying focused on the item(s) you are looking for, and spending only what you can afford. YOU want to wear the ensemble and feel confident, not let IT wear you. Keep all of the above in mind and weigh the pros and cons before you decide on “the one”.

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