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Ask the Image Expert

Sherry Maysonave is the founder and president of Empowerment Enterprises, one of America's leading communication-image firms. Sherry conducts corporate seminars and coaches executives, professionals, and politicians in achieving excellence in communication and image. She is also the author of Casual Power: How to Power Up your Nonverbal Communication and Dress Down for Success

Class Reunion Attire

Question: In six weeks, I will be attending my 25th year high school reunion. I have not seen these individuals for 25 years for I now live in Arizona. I was never really popular in high school and I really want to make a good impression. Please help me for I am totally unsure what to do.

Answer: High school reunions always create a lot of angst. I don’t see why you cannot “wow” your old classmates.

To fully advise you on what to wear, it would be helpful to know the nature of the event. Is it a dance, a BBQ…is it dressy or casual? And what is the geographical location…is it hot there or will it be a cool climate?

Without knowing the details of the occasion, I recommend a “day-into-evening” look, such as a fashionable dress that could be dressed up or down. Dresses are in vogue, particularly the flirty styles made of chiffon (or chiffon like fabrics) or georgette. Although those sound like ultra dressy fabrics, these types are being worn today even for semi-casual occasions. Fashion is focusing on femininity with ruffles, tiers, lace, etc. If you eschew those designs, then go for an elegant dress with simple lines, one that suits your body type. Day or evening, the little black dress always makes a smashing statement. Red would also be a great color on you.

Since this is a social occasion and not workplace related, wear stylish dressy sandals with no hosiery. Don’t wear flats or loafers. Ideally, your shoes should have a heel height of somewhere between 1 ½ to 3 inches. Your dress or skirt can be long or short. If you prefer long styles, the length should come to your ankles or about 1” above the ankle. Avoid those in the mid-calf range. They are decidedly frumpy.

If you are adverse to the idea of wearing a dress, wear a flattering skirt or pants with a white or beige peasant blouse (the boned-corset styles are extremely chic). This look is reigning queen in the fashion world today. Depending upon the tone of your legs, your skirt can be long or short. But since you are quite tan, a knee-length pencil skirt (tapers in at the bottom) worn with a white somewhat ruffled blouse and dressy sandals could look fabulous on you. Hipster belts and turquoise jewelry are also raging.

If your arms are in good shape, sleeveless attire is appropriate. You can tie a light sweater around your shoulders for a casually elegant look for daytime and then remove it for evening. Blouses, tops and dresses with “sleeve interest” are very hip, too. So don’t worry if you’re arms are lacking muscle tone, as there is an abundance of sleeves available in today’s marketplace.

So why have I mentioned some of the currently hot fashion items? Because, I want you to look like a “hotty’ at your high school reunion. Part of being highly attractive is looking current and looking as if you have been successful enough to have purchased clothes recently. Even still, do not wear fashions that look miserable on you, just because they’re currently the rage. Be true to you and what looks best on you.

In the remaining weeks prior to your class reunion, visualize yourself (after the reunion) “celebrating,” giving yourself a high-five, celebrating your smashing success. See yourself as making a dynamic impression.

First and foremost, exude confidence while wearing your best accessory * a celebratory smile * and your wishes have a greater chance of becoming reality.

Best of luck to you,
Sherry Maysonave

Also see:

  • The law firm I work for just adopted business casual dress policy. What should I wear?
  • Should I buy new post-pregnancy clothes?
  • Ask your image questions
  • Personal Power: A case study from 'Casual Power'

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