I would like to be more of a girl scout but I've been burned in the past. Part of my problem is that I'm a small person who has weight fluctuations. I imagine someone who is 5'8 can gain or lose 10 pounds and still fit in their clothes, but for me that's a whole size, especially in non-stretchy garments. I may have told this story on here before (and if so, I apologize) but some time in the mid to late 90s, I bought a black velvet sheath dress dirt cheap at an Ann Taylor outlet. The friend I was with said it looked stunning on me and it was a great deal, so I bought it, assuming that I'd need a winter cocktail dress at some point. Except when I did, it didn't fit any more. I had it in my closet, tags on, for a good eight years, and every time the occasion arose to wear it, it was always too loose or too tight. I finally gave up and donated it, tags still on. Similarly, and around the same time period, I bought a bronze gingham silk dupioni (I think?) sheath at Banana Republic. It was just a little too dressy for most of my summer occasions but it was such a good color for me and so pretty and so discounted (lol) that I bought it. I managed to wear it maybe 3 times over a period of several years before I gave up on it. It was just very unforgiving of even a 5 lb weight shift.

I guess the moral of my story is just that now I only buy knit dresses?

Anne - sounds like you have almost every base covered!! Kudos!! Plus it's tee shirt season, no time like the present!!
Andrea - I hear you. I'm 5'3". 5 lbs is a size. 3 lb things are snug or loose. Knits are definitely easier. The only good thing is being small makes you really watch your weight since we have no place to hide it and having to buy a new wardrobe....well lets not even go there. So sad about the dresses though

grffin - not in Australia! I've gone without new tees for 2 summers but I really need to get to it. Next summer!

Seat of the pants, as evidenced by my freakout over my sister's wedding last August.

Eeek, family weddings are the worst...all the photos and everything. That reminded me that I have no clue what I would wear as MOTG if DS1 in Japan would get married. The Japanese seem very style conscious. Every little boy and old grandpa is a smart dresser. DS is my biggest critic, plus he thinks we are all soooo fat. I would throw myself on Angie's guidance.

Anne - you definitely need to "tank" up!! The good thing is you shop early you will get the best and nicest tops possible!!

Cindy - but your outfits was incredibly stunning!! You looked amazing. I so wish that top had come in black!! Really drool worthy!

Joy - you are an elegant sylph!! But I can't imagine having to negotiate a different culture and wedding. That's a challenge for the most stylish, which you are!! I'm sure Angie will help you pick the perfect outfit and you son will be strutting proud of you!!!

I’m prepared for 95+% of my life, but it’s easy for me to wing it for the other 5%. (As a number of people have mentioned, evening formal wear, or daytime dressy weddings might be a stretch with my current closet.) That said, I live/work in a large East coast city, and I’m never sized out of regular retail brands. I have plenty of retail options, and fabulous high-end consignment close by, and if I was truly desperate, I could hop on the train to New York. I used to have many more formal items, but truthfully, my need for cocktail attire or dresses for summer weddings is so limited, that I finally let go of those items, deciding that I’d much rather have something new, should the occasion arise. That said, reading through this string, I think my willingness to “wing it” for a few occasions has a lot to do with the fact that it’s easy for me to shop, and I’m likely to find items that fit at retail. If that weren’t the case, I’d probably keep a few more formal items on hand, “just in case.”

Kathie - that's so smart. Especially if you enjoy shopping and have an easy time finding pleasing well fitting items, it really is no worries. A nice adventure and maybe an integral part of the enjoyment leading up to the event. That's fantastic that it works so well for you!!

Gryffin, you crack me up. Thanks for being kind and generous with your words. We DO like the same vibe, silhouette, lines, and polish. And most of the items I post come in your happy colours.

I feel like all my responses today are very middle-of-the-road, but it's true here too. I actually don't like to prepare for things that are just theoretical. When the time actually arrives, if too much time has passed, my taste or size/shape may have changed, and the item in question may not suit my needs anymore. I have found that when I shop for theoreticals ("I should have a black cardigan for winter," "I think neutral shoes might be useful,") I never love the items and they never get the wear and love that items I find and fall in love with do. Shopping for me is a little like being hit with the cupid arrow. Therefore, I occasionally stumble across a special occasion dress with no occasion, and I buy it right then and there. Ideally, my needs intersect with the arrows, like I actually need a purse and actually come across one that wows me. But this is not always the case either! So sometimes I do get caught unawares and have to scramble, and sometimes I do have just the right beloved thing in my closet. So a little of both is my answer.

Angie - IKR?! My first thought is "does this come in black?"!
Lesley - I agree buying things you think you "should have" is different than buying something you really love. Basically if I adore it, I will find a way to wear it. And if I don't love it, I should not have purchased to start with. I have not seen another long dress I like to replace my old deteriorating dress, when the magic happens you need to respect it!! And there is always something we will be scrambling for...or so it seems..sigh....