How to Shop for that Special Occasion

Shopping for a dress isn’t always easy. Some ladies absolutely love it and find their outfit straight away. However this is not the case for the majority of women. Some absolutely dread shopping, due to the overwhelming anxiety it can cause. How to shop for that special occasion?

The dress is only part of the picture.

If there is one comment I hear time and again, it would have to be, “I have a function and I have no idea where to start.” I always answer with the same reply. “When all is said and done, when someone comments on your outfit, and they will. You don’t want to hear them say, “Oh that’s a nice dress” You want to hear “You look stunning”, or “You look beautiful”. It’s not all about the dress, but about bringing out the beauty, and confidence of the wearer.

So where do we start?

When you are dressing for a function, there is often a protocol.

Take a wedding for example. First we have the Bride then Bridal Party. Then mother of the Bride, and then Mother of the Groom. Sisters, Grandma,  aunt’s then cousins and then the other guests. Where you come in depends on your position and function for the day.

Communication is the key. Although this is not a competition, when buying their outfit, the Mother of the Bride or Groom must communicate. Firstly the Mother of the Bride; all eyes will be on you. Then the Mother of the groom, you are next, so you want to look and feel your best. It is vitally important that protocol be adhered to when choosing your outfit. Or else you just might end up at the wedding in exactly the same dress (Yes it has been known to happen). So ask what colour, style of dress they will be wearing and make sure you know what colours NOT to wear. This will be the bride and grooms decision. Very often they will have a specific colour for their theme. You will need to complement the bridal party and not clash with it.


A Day at the Races may require a dress code for that particular day. Make sure you do your homework. Google is your friend. Use it. Find out what colours and fabrics are acceptable for that day, and whether or not you will require a hat or fascinator. You don’t want to be over or under dressed.


A few do’s and don’ts on how to shop for that special occasion

Don’t leave it to the last minute. Mostly a lady needs to peruse the racks with time on her hands and a clear head. If the outfit is needed for a special occasion this can cause a lot of pressure which invariably leads to anxiety. For mother of the bride/groom about How to Shop for that Special Occasion3 months prior to the wedding is a good time to start looking. You may find your dream dress straight away, or you may have to order it in, or have alterations done.




Don’t shop hungry. You cannot concentrate on an empty stomach. When you eat before shopping, make sure you don’t over eat and remember to eat foods that are not going to make you feel bloated. This can add a whole size to your body.

Do try to shop without little ones. Acquire a baby sitter or shop while the kids are at school. The pitter patter of little feet are lovely, but when trying to make an important decision on an outfit that could cost you a bit of money, you may well be easily distracted. This can cause your shopping experience to become rushed and sometimes stressful.

Do check your body type. Are you an apple, pear, column or hourglass? Rule of thumb, the right dress for the right body type and you can’t go wrong.

Apple shape – A round tummy, full breasts and full or flat bottom.
Pear Shape – Smaller upper body compared to a larger lower body.How to Shop for that Special Occasion
Hour Glass Shape – defined waistline.

Column Shape – Broad shoulders and hips undefined waist.

Don’t be shy to Ask for help. It’s the sales assistant’s job to bring out the beauty within you. They can help you with colour, style and fabric.

Do remember in an ideal world there would be a universal size for everyone. However as it is, sizes differ from designer to designer and where they manufacture.

So I hope this helps a little, ladies. Remember an event is supposed to be fun, so enjoy the journey getting there, as well. Then you can say, “What a fantastic time we had, one we shall never forget”.

Happy Shopping Ladies

Shirley Agnew