What to Do When You Show Up Wearing the Wrong Thing A couple of weeks ago I had plans to meet up with a friend for a beer and some catch-up conversation. I headed to a local joint in jeans, a sweater, and some crazy, furry boots that I scored at a clothing swap. I was comfy and wearing a great outfit for an easy evening out.
When I got there my friend was waiting with one of his coworkers who had another idea. She suggested that we go to a fancy-shmancy party that guaranteed many DC A-list artsy people would be in attendance. I stood there in my jeans and had a mild panic attack. Normally I would be totally down for a fun adventure, but I knew I would stand out like a sore thumb.
And, I would have to answer the inevitable DC question of, "What do you do?" with the words, "I'm a fashion consultant."
But, I did the opposite of my first impulse. I said, "Yes, let's go!" I decided in that moment to just show up and see what happened.
We went to the event. I was ridiculously under-dressed. I decided not to do any explaining and not make any excuses. (Although when I first got to the party I had this impulse to stand on a chair and yell, "I didn't know I was going to be here tonight! I love dressing up! I could have been dressed up!") I met interesting people, had some cocktails, and had a great conversation in with my friend. Basically, I got out of my own way so I could just be present in the moment.
Since that evening I've been doing some thinking about what happened. SO, I created some quick rules to follow if you show up in the right place with the wrong outfit.
Quick Rules If You Show up in the Wrong Outfit
You will not die from this experience.
2. Make a decision and commit.
Will you stay or will you go? It's up to you. Sometimes, though, just showing up is the most alive choice.
3. Realize that very few people will recognize that you are in the wrong clothes.
Seriously. Most people are so concerned about how they are looking / sounding / doing socially that they won't notice.
4. Realize that even fewer people will remember.
Quick, name what 5 people were wearing at the last party you attended. Can you think of anyone?
5. Invest in others.
Meet people. Ask them questions. Sincere questions about who they are. You may not get a lot of time to invest in someone at a party, but really try to see people for who they are. It will shift your focus to what's really important and you might make a new friend.
Have you ever shown up to an event in the wrong outfit? What happened?