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My employer is having our first big, whole-company social event since the 2019 holiday party in about a month (assuming the world doesn't fall to pieces before then). 

It's at a country club, and they are renting a ballroom. It's a late afternoon/early evening timeframe.

I don't anticipate there being any actual dress code. (So far, all we have in terms of details is a save-the-date with date, time and location.) However, I probably don't want to show up in jeans and a polo, which is pretty much the nicest outfit I have available at the moment. 

I had a couple of nicer things, but I have gained some weight in the last year and can't wear them now.

So, literally, what I have at the moment that fits is:

  • two pairs of very stretchy, almost jeggings, skinny-legged "jeans"
  • more Lands End solid-color v-necks and race-logo t-shirts than will fit on my shelves
  •  two casual blouses I don't hate
  • a bunch of shorts and black leggings
  • several pairs of Sketchers walking shoes and Bob's flats.

I am 56 years old, grey hair (with purple highlights most of the time), 5'2", apple-shaped with a post-mastectomy flat chest. I mostly wear mediums in the kinds of casual stuff I have. I am self-conscious about my upper arms and some rolls around my waistline, and cannot wear shoes with any kind of heel or pointed toe (neuropathy). I do not wear dresses or skirts, because my knees are lumpy and anything long enough to hide them tends to be too much on my shortness.

Most of the time, when I "dress up," I wind up feeling like I'm wearing a costume.

Also, I work from home, have very little social life and am trying to lose the 18 or so pounds I have put on in the last year. So, I don't want to invest much in procuring clothing just for this event. 

Let's begin with the assumption that I would like to look appropriate and presentable and blend with the crowd. 

What would you suggest?

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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I think having something that can dress up in black or a dark neutral is always good to have in a closet.  You could dress it up with a scarf.  Assuming it will be hot, I think capris and slides would be fine. I wear high support slides (alegria) for dressing up pretty regularly.  Yes, they're blocky oh well.

I don't love myself in shorts or dresses either, I am similar height.  But I do have a couple neutral pull on skirts and dresses that work for events like this that fall right below the knee.  My weight tends to fluctuate a bit too so I tend to buy things that will work with that.  Like I like the lands end starfish line.  

I also think just wearing something you have is perfectly fine too.  You're in FL right so it will be hot, I can't imagine anyone caring too much.  Like black leggings, maybe something like a neutral tunic and a scarf would be fine with flats.  I feel like people shouldn't ever have to buy stuff if they don't want to to attend an event.  And double that for a work related event.  

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Black leggings and a nice tunic or longer shirt, sandals. Tunics are forgiving, you can buy it now and it will still fit once you lost the weight. Or a sleeveless shirt with a short leave thin fabric cardigan that's open in front and falls to mid-thigh.
I'd head to the thrift store and see what they have and let myself be inspired.

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I would buy one pair of black dress pants and a nice shirt, maybe also in black, if you like to stay neutral, or in a color that you like. Then dress it up with jewelry or a scarf. You can get jewelry on clearance at places like Macy's for very inexpensive prices.

This is going to sound morbid, but.... I always think that I should have in my wardrobe something that I can wear to a funeral. When my kids were itty bitty, and I only had very casual clothes for wearing around the house, my grandmother died, and I had to go shopping when I was grieving. Since then, I've always made sure I have something nice enough to wear for funerals. We had two funerals in the family this year, and I had to go shopping to get things for my kids, so I still had to shop while grieving, and it's really not what you want to be doing.

I know that your event is not a funeral, of course. But I think that your wardrobe deserves to have one nice outfit, not only for this event, but for anything else that might come up, and things can sometimes come up very unexpectedly, at a time when you really don't want to have to go to a store.

You can get a nice pair of black flats in a comfortable shoe brand, such as Clarks, which will also be versatile.

Here is a blouse, for example, that I think you can easily dress up or keep more casual, depending on the occasion.

https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Essentials-Womens-Short-Sleeve-Blouse/dp/B082ZT4VQB/ref=sr_1_44?dchild=1&keywords=black+dress+shirt+for+women&qid=1626799325&sr=8-44

 

Edited by Storygirl
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Search for "short-sleeve tunic" on Amazon. There are lots and they are forgiving and inexpensive. Pick a pattern you like, pair with black leggings and flats. Add some cute earrings if you are so inclined. 

I hope you have fun. 🙂

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I like the tiktok recommendation. 

Im pretty much the opposite build as you, so I don’t have any good clothing recommendations. But I really hope you find something you like. It’s so much nicer to go out when you feel comfortable in your clothes. 
 

I do like kimonos. They don’t get hot, they can dress up leggings. And they fit while you’re gaining and losing weight. 
 

Something like this could even go over your v neck t- shirts with your leggings. Add some jewelry? 
https://www.amazon.com/Womens-Floral-Sleeve-Chiffon-Cardigan/dp/B07W5NVWN4/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=kimonos%2Bfor%2Bwomen&qid=1626800188&sprefix=kimonos&sr=8-3&th=1&psc=1

Edited by Toocrazy!!
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42 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

 

This is going to sound morbid, but.... I always think that I should have in my wardrobe something that I can wear to a funeral. When my kids were itty bitty, and I only had very casual clothes for wearing around the house, my grandmother died, and I had to go shopping when I was grieving. Since then, I've always made sure I have something nice enough to wear for funerals. We had two funerals in the family this year, and I had to go shopping to get things for my kids, so I still had to shop while grieving, and it's really not what you want to be doing.

 

 

I have been to so many funerals since I moved here and I had to get a warmer but not too warm option for all those fall and spring and warmer winter day funerals so I got a fake fur poncho that keeps me warm.

You don't have to wear black to a funeral= you can wear darker green or blue or purple too.

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Just now, prairiewindmomma said:

What about this top with jeans and nice shoes and jewelry? https://www.amazon.com/BELONGSCI-Womens-Casual-Balloon-Sleeve/dp/B07NPP3MTV/ref=mp_s_a_1_28?dchild=1&keywords=trapeze+shirt&qid=1626812111&sprefix=trapeze+sh&sr=8-28
 

I am west coast, so you can absolutely wear jeans anywhere. 
 

paper bag trousers are really popular now, and could be worn with a t-shirt and fancier shoes: https://www.amazon.com/GRACE-KARIN-Elastic-Trousers-AF1011-1/dp/B077N3B8NZ/ref=mp_s_a_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=dress+trousers+women&qid=1626812237&sr=8-5

 

I love that look, but as an apple shape, as OP is, those pants would not look. When your belly is the biggest part, putting extra fabric there and then a bow on top to really draw attention would make you feel like a poorly wrapped present, lol. 

Apple shapes need either a slightly high waisted wrap style dress/blouse/waist so the waist of the dress is above the belly then flows out hiding it, or tighter bottoms and a loose top. At least, us short ones do, lol. 

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I really like ThredUp for these situations. It's a used clothing store. They have so much stuff, it's like Amazon for used clothes. You can sort by size, brand, condition (new, like-new, gently used, etc). 

The prices are pretty darn good so you can get stuff and not feel bad if it doesn't work out. 

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So, as a 5'1 apple shape, this is my go to dress. I know you said no to dresses...but it is pretty long, and doesn't make me look shorter or overwhelmed by it like some do. It is VERY flattering, and I actually own FOUR of these dresses in different patterns I think. Maybe 1 is a different brand, but same style. They come in various sleeve lengths. I get short sleeved, personally. Now, I do not know if/how the top would work for you...not sure if you wear a prosthetic bra, or how it would fit otherwise, to be honest. I'm a large B/small C, and it is flattering but it also is VERY forgiving. I've worn those dresses, always size large, when I'm a 12 and a 16...when I'm a D cup and nursing and after when I'm  B cup. Material is stretchy but not clingy. Only negative is the type of fabric will eventually look a bit worn - but I wash everything in warm or hot and dry on high so that's probably why, lol. Still, I have the first two for at least 6 yrs and wear them still. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SRY1SRC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

(okay, to be honest, I only own these dresses and two others, both of which are the same style but a different material, and I've owned those for 10 yrs. I stick with what works, lol)

Edited by ktgrok
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3 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

I guess I was assuming air conditioning.  I was always cold in the aircon in Hong Kong. 

Even walking to the mail box and back (small suburban lot...maybe 25 feet, lol) leaves me DRENCHED in sweat some days this time of year...just walking to the car, then from the parking lot into the building would leave you miserable. Because of that, velvet would look very out of place, I think. The afternoon is the hottest time of day, often no breeze, 55-70% humidity, killer sun...it's just miserable. 

Add in that it takes a good 5-10 minutes for the car air conditioning to get the temperature below oven range, when you get in. 

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26 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

So, as a 5'1 apple shape, this is my go to dress. I know you said no to dresses...but it is pretty long, and doesn't make me look shorter or overwhelmed by it like some do. It is VERY flattering, and I actually own FOUR of these dresses in different patterns I think. Maybe 1 is a different brand, but same style. They come in various sleeve lengths. I get short sleeved, personally. Now, I do not know if/how the top would work for you...not sure if you wear a prosthetic bra, or how it would fit otherwise, to be honest. I'm a large B/small C, and it is flattering but it also is VERY forgiving. I've worn those dresses, always size large, when I'm a 12 and a 16...when I'm a D cup and nursing and after when I'm  B cup. Material is stretchy but not clingy. Only negative is the type of fabric will eventually look a bit worn - but I wash everything in warm or hot and dry on high so that's probably why, lol. Still, I have the first two for at least 6 yrs and wear them still. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SRY1SRC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

(okay, to be honest, I only own these dresses and two others, both of which are the same style but a different material, and I've owned those for 10 yrs. I stick with what works, lol)

That’s a great dress! 

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This is on the expensive side for ThredUp, but I like it... maybe it would work with capris and sandals? Note: I'm NOT a fashionista! 

Or a 3/4 sleeve cardigan/kimono? You could put a t-shirt under it. 

Kenar open cardigan in black and white - put a white or black tank under, with pretty much any pants. 

More Kenar, lovely sleeveless blouse, pair with a solid colored kimono/cardigan

I'm ready to join you! I've picked out my clothes! 🤩

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I’ll go against the tide. For an afternoon event at a country club, I would go with a white or navy chino ankle pant and a seersucker, or floral, peasant or swing top. White, silver, gold Jack Rogers type sandals. Talbots, Chaps or Ralph Lauren are safe. Some kind of sail to sable style tunic would like nice as well. 
 

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Posted (edited)

So, no, I do not wear a prosthetics. I found them uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally, and I threw out/donated everything in that line that I had when we moved. 

With that said, it's really surprising how much having a genuinely flat (slightly concave on one side) chest changes the way things fit. Even all of the advice for "flat chests" doesn't actually work with what I have now.

In the first year or so post-surgery, I tried all kinds of things that didn't require wearing actual prosthetics but might give my chest a little shape. For a while, I was convinced that the right sports bra might do it, but even the ones that say they are not cups are still built with the assumption there is some flesh to go in there. These days, I often wear camisoles from the children's department. 

Prior to surgery, I loved those kimonos and open-front sweaters. I had them in all kinds of colors and patterns and fabrics for year-round wear. Now, though, they hang oddly on me, because there is nothing to give them shape. 

Honestly, even traditional button-up cardigans don't fit properly anymore. I kept a few of them when I cleaned out my closet pre-move, just because I figured they would be practical to wear around the house when the weather cools down, but they no longer work to make me look pulled together, because they slouch off my shoulders.

I have to be wary about necklines, too. Shallow v-necks are best. I wear the v-neck t-shirts over a tank usually in a coordinating or contrasting color, which gives kind of the illusion that there is something happening up there. I can't do boat necks or anything other wide necklines, because if I buy the blouse large enough to fit over my belly and hips, the neckline falls off my shoulders. 

Similar problem with button-downs of any kind. 

 

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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42 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

I love that look, but as an apple shape, as OP is, those pants would not look. When your belly is the biggest part, putting extra fabric there and then a bow on top to really draw attention would make you feel like a poorly wrapped present, lol. 

Apple shapes need either a slightly high waisted wrap style dress/blouse/waist so the waist of the dress is above the belly then flows out hiding it, or tighter bottoms and a loose top. At least, us short ones do, lol. 

Right, but she is a size medium. It’s high waisted enough that it should elongate her legs. The tie adds definition.  She should tuck and create a column of color (ie black top, black trousers) but she could likely pull it off.

 

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1 minute ago, Toocrazy!! said:

That does sound challenging. There are some blogs out there- maybe they would inspire you? http://flatterfashion.co.uk/dressing-for-your-new-body-shape-and-finding-your-flat-style/

Thanks. I've read all the blogs I can find (including that one) on this issue.  Part of the problem is that a lot of them give advice for apple shapes about "showing off your shoulders" or something, but I am self-conscious about my upper arms, too.

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14 minutes ago, Jenny in Florida said:

So, no, I do not wear a prosthetics. I found them uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally, and I threw out/donated everything in that line that I had when we moved. 

With that said, it's really surprising how much having a genuinely flat (slightly concave on one side) chest changes the way things fit. Even all of the advice for "flat chests" doesn't actually work with what I have now.

In the first year or so post-surgery, I tried all kinds of things that didn't require wearing actual prosthetics but might give my chest a little shape. For a while, I was convinced that the right sports bra might do it, but even the ones that say they are not cups are still built with the assumption there is some flesh to go in there. These days, I often wear camisoles from the children's department. 

Prior to surgery, I loved those kimonos and open-front sweaters. I had them in all kinds of colors and patterns and fabrics for year-round wear. Now, though, they hang oddly on me, because there is nothing to give them shape. 

I have to be wary about necklines, too. Shallow v-necks are best. I wear the v-neck t-shirts over a tank usually in a coordinating or contrasting color, which gives kind of the illusion that there is something happening up there. I can't do boat necks or anything other wide necklines, because if I buy the blouse large enough to fit over my belly and hips, the neckline falls off my shoulders. 

Similar problem with button-downs of any kind. 

 

Gotcha. I will say the V-neck on the dress I posted can be VERY easily modified if you wanted it shallower - either with a few stitches or a safety pin. My one that is a different brand but same style is a bit deeper V so I've done that myself. The fabric is "bunchy" for lack of another word, which may help? You might even be a small, in that, since it is so flowy over belly/hips. Oh, and you could wear a cami under it, either in a matching or contrasting color. 

A few of the patterns come in 3/4 length sleeves.

13 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Right, but she is a size medium. It’s high waisted enough that it should elongate her legs. The tie adds definition.  She should tuck and create a column of color (ie black top, black trousers) but she could likely pull it off.

 

You know...I get it now, lol. I missed the first time how high the waist is. Also, I'm personally lacking in torso...my legs are normal length I'm just short on the top half, so I'd look weird in it. But that doesn't mean OP would....she is likely more normally proportioned, lol. (my sister is 3 inches taller than me, but our legs are the same length!)

Edited by ktgrok
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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

Gotcha. I will say the V-neck on the dress I posted can be VERY easily modified if you wanted it shallower - either with a few stitches or a safety pin. My one that is a different brand but same style is a bit deeper V so I've done that myself. The fabric is "bunchy" for lack of another word, which may help? You might even be a small, in that, since it is so flowy over belly/hips. 

Yeah, there's just no way that's not going to look weird and be uncomfortable on me. The stretchy/clingy top is going to emphasize the bulgy parts of my belly that I most want to hide, and experience tells me the neckline is going to be a lot more gapey than you would think. 

Part of the deal is that, since I have gained back these stupid 18 pounds, I am still a small/extra-small in the bust but am a medium in the waist and at least a medium around the hips. 

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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7 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

That's pretty, but I dislike anything right up around my throat. Makes me feel like I'm being choked. And with no stretch to the fabric, it's not going to be forgiving of my larger waist and belly.

Do love those flutter sleeves, though!

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What about a puff sleeve top then? https://www.amazon.com/SheIn-Womens-Sleeve-Pullover-Keyhole/dp/B07SF4KS23/ref=mp_s_a_1_22?dchild=1&keywords=puff+sleeve+tops+for+women&qid=1626819601&sprefix=puff+sleeve&sr=8-22
 

The neckline is a crew cut and it’s sleeved to the elbow. The fabric has stretch. You could pair it with a thin minimalist necklace or a bracelet.

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Every time I see this thread title I think of dressing THIS Jenny. (And, yes, I still have mine, and her friends, and the clothes my sweet Mom made them. Back in the day some dolls came with sewing patterns!)

image.png.042b314c600843583fb23d8e94f38ca1.png

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I hate things around my throat, too ... But I do love wearing scarves in all seasons. They don't get close enough to my throat to give me that choking feeling. I'm pretty casual too, so I usually just wear a plain colored top with a scarf, and I hope that gives the impression of fanciness/style. 

How about capri pants, a plain top, and  light scarf? Or even just a fancier polo. That feels like a country club outfit to me 👍

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7 hours ago, MercyA said:

Every time I see this thread title I think of dressing THIS Jenny. (And, yes, I still have mine, and her friends, and the clothes my sweet Mom made them. Back in the day some dolls came with sewing patterns!)

image.png.042b314c600843583fb23d8e94f38ca1.png

Wow, I missed Jenny entirely. (I was already in high school by the time she made an appearance.) I love that kids were encouraged to sew for her, though.

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Jenny, 

With everything you've described, I'm wondering if a pretty scarf over a black top that you already own (and like) with whatever black pants you like best, wouldn't be your best option.  I love long cotton gauze scarves: they dress up many solid-color separates, and when knotted or doubled in an interesting twist, they add dimension. Amazon has bazillions of such scarves.   

I hope you enjoy the occasion! 

 

 

 

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On 7/20/2021 at 9:07 AM, Jenny in Florida said:

My employer is having our first big, whole-company social event since the 2019 holiday party in about a month (assuming the world doesn't fall to pieces before then). 

It's at a country club, and they are renting a ballroom. It's a late afternoon/early evening timeframe.

I don't anticipate there being any actual dress code. (So far, all we have in terms of details is a save-the-date with date, time and location.) However, I probably don't want to show up in jeans and a polo, which is pretty much the nicest outfit I have available at the moment. 

I had a couple of nicer things, but I have gained some weight in the last year and can't wear them now.

So, literally, what I have at the moment that fits is:

  • two pairs of very stretchy, almost jeggings, skinny-legged "jeans"
  • more Lands End solid-color v-necks and race-logo t-shirts than will fit on my shelves
  •  two casual blouses I don't hate
  • a bunch of shorts and black leggings
  • several pairs of Sketchers walking shoes and Bob's flats.

I am 56 years old, grey hair (with purple highlights most of the time), 5'2", apple-shaped with a post-mastectomy flat chest. I mostly wear mediums in the kinds of casual stuff I have. I am self-conscious about my upper arms and some rolls around my waistline, and cannot wear shoes with any kind of heel or pointed toe (neuropathy). I do not wear dresses or skirts, because my knees are lumpy and anything long enough to hide them tends to be too much on my shortness.

Most of the time, when I "dress up," I wind up feeling like I'm wearing a costume.

Also, I work from home, have very little social life and am trying to lose the 18 or so pounds I have put on in the last year. So, I don't want to invest much in procuring clothing just for this event. 

Let's begin with the assumption that I would like to look appropriate and presentable and blend with the crowd. 

What would you suggest?

First I would ask a couple other women going what they are wearing .  And use that to help guide you as to degree of formality, slacks vs skirts etc


if you wear whatever it is a few times beforehand so it’s more familiar it may feel less like a costume


this company has fairly cool clothes (for summer use) but that well cover upper arms, waist etc  and a range of very casual to more dressy looking

 

https://www.sunprecautions.com/product/28800

 

Aside from what others are wearing perhaps changing what you do, Maybe something like this over a comfortable pair of leggings/ jeggings (or cool slacks) - choosing a print as that tends to hide things and brightens / dresses up the look itself without scarfs etc needed 

 

the company particularly deals with people who have had melanoma, which usually has lesser surgical issues, but sometimes has major surgical changes— and I suggest calling and asking for customer service help with regard to mastectomy etc and what would look good / probably fit well ...

they have blazer type tops that fully cover arms, and slacks and skirts also 

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On 7/20/2021 at 9:07 AM, Jenny in Florida said:

My employer is having our first big, whole-company social event since the 2019 holiday party in about a month (assuming the world doesn't fall to pieces before then). 

It's at a country club, and they are renting a ballroom. It's a late afternoon/early evening timeframe.

I don't anticipate there being any actual dress code. (So far, all we have in terms of details is a save-the-date with date, time and location.) However, I probably don't want to show up in jeans and a polo, which is pretty much the nicest outfit I have available at the moment. 

I had a couple of nicer things, but I have gained some weight in the last year and can't wear them now.

So, literally, what I have at the moment that fits is:

  • two pairs of very stretchy, almost jeggings, skinny-legged "jeans"
  • more Lands End solid-color v-necks and race-logo t-shirts than will fit on my shelves
  •  two casual blouses I don't hate
  • a bunch of shorts and black leggings
  • several pairs of Sketchers walking shoes and Bob's flats.

I am 56 years old, grey hair (with purple highlights most of the time), 5'2", apple-shaped with a post-mastectomy flat chest. I mostly wear mediums in the kinds of casual stuff I have. I am self-conscious about my upper arms and some rolls around my waistline, and cannot wear shoes with any kind of heel or pointed toe (neuropathy). I do not wear dresses or skirts, because my knees are lumpy and anything long enough to hide them tends to be too much on my shortness.

Most of the time, when I "dress up," I wind up feeling like I'm wearing a costume.

Also, I work from home, have very little social life and am trying to lose the 18 or so pounds I have put on in the last year. So, I don't want to invest much in procuring clothing just for this event. 

Let's begin with the assumption that I would like to look appropriate and presentable and blend with the crowd. 

What would you suggest?

From your existing list? Assuming the lengths and styles works, a blouse over black leggings with Bob's flats. Dressy jewelry.

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Thank you very much, everyone, for trying.

To be honest, I'm considering just rescinding my RSVP. I've been working really hard at being more accepting of my body and trying to live in it more healthfully and contentedly. But every now and then, the emotional freight (which mostly has to do with family stuff that was going on at the same time and that I associate strongly with the period of diagnosis and surgery) of the breast cancer and mastectomy catch up to me and feels overwhelming. For some reason, needing to attire myself for anything novel seems to bring it up. And I just can't invest a lot of time or emotional energy into figuring this out right now. 

I genuinely appreciate the effort,  though. 

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