How to last-minute shop for New Year’s

This is not your run-of-the-mill, obligatory What to Wear for New Year’s Eve post, I promise. Think of it more like an ‘Oh crap it’s New Year’s Eve and I have to go to this dumb party and I have nothing to wear and have to go shopping’ kind of post.

Say it’s Saturday morning and you have a party/dinner/get-together to go to Saturday night (a.k.a. New Year’s). You are hell-bent on finding something new to wear, but you’ve waited until the day of to go shopping. It’s okay. Here are 5 guidelines to follow for those last-minuters who need a strict game plan.

1. Decide on ONE store and stick to it. Tell yourself you’re going to one single store, and you will not leave until you have something to wear. Now, I would NOT recommend this for regular wardrobe-building, but for last-minute shopping for certain events when you’re doing it on your own and have zero time, it’s a refreshing route to take. But you have to choose your store wisely, in order to set yourself up for success. If you go the department store route, make sure you know which departments you will be visiting within that store. Otherwise, a smaller chain or a boutique may be the way to go. (For going-out stuff that doesn’t look too New Year’s, my pick tends to be Zara. The quality of clothes isn’t the best, but the prices are still reasonable, the selection good, and the stuff not too blingy.)

2. Try as best you can to work with what you have. I know it’s hard, but the last thing you want to do is search for a head-to-toe look. Sure, this is fun to watch on those reality style shows, but in real life, it’s nearly impossible to accomplish with limited time. (That’s why they leave it to us experts, wink, wink.) Take a good look at your closet beforehand and see what you can possibly work with. If you already own a nice pair of black pants, then you can focus on finding a top or top/blazer combo. If you have an amazing pair of heels, then you can seek out a muted dress. If there’s a dress you have that you like, you can focus on buying fun shoes and a statement necklace. By taking a moment to assess your inventory, it will make it less scary going out to the store, as you won’t have to start from zero.

3. Have an idea in your head about what you want to wear, but don’t get tunnel vision. Leave room for interpretation. It’s helpful to have something in mind to guide you, but keep an open eye for other things that could work just as well. For example, if you know you want to wear a muted dress, that’s a good place to start. But don’t narrow your scope to only black. Other colors work well in muted tones, such as deep burgundy, navy, or even a winter white. Same goes for accessories. After going through step 2 (above), if you decide that an amazing statement necklace would work with the top you already own, but can’t find one you like, try earrings instead. It will accomplish the same goal.

4. Don’t get fixated on price. If you find a piece that’s a bit more expensive than what you wanted to spend, repeat to yourself: time is money. If you love it, but decide to go on a hunt for something a little cheaper, you will not only be wasting precious time, but you will now be comparing everything else you pick up to the piece you actually like. I’m not suggesting you go hundreds of dollars out of your price range, but sometimes an extra few bucks is worth it. For your sanity at the very least.

And finally, the most important guideline of all….

5. The perfect outfit does not exist. At least the perfect New Year’s outfit. If you have this understanding going in, then the crazy I-have-to-find-the-best-sparkly-NYE-outfit-ever pressure is miraculously gone. Some of my favorite New Year’s outfits (my own and others) have been understated and non-sequiney.

To sum it up, assess your closet, pick a store, and just find something. Then go drink some bubbly and relax. You look amazing.

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