So it’s your friend’s sweet 18 bash, and yet you have no idea what to wear? Now that’s something you have to address — IMMEDIATELY. Sit down, breathe, and think for a moment.
Remember, this 18th birthday party will not be the only debut celebration you will ever attend. You have a lot of friends turning 18 like you who need their friends’ presence and support. 18th birthday parties are fun to go to if you know what to wear and what to expect. So it’s better to know the basic stuff about attending an 18th birthday celebration, whether it’s in a formal or intimate setting.
1. Know the type of debut party
Debut parties can be very tricky. Sometimes they have very strict dress codes, which require guests to wear long, white ball gowns, tiaras, and elbow-length gloves, while others are much more lax and lenient. That is the very first thing you have to determine: the degree of formality of the party. If there is a coordinator for the event or a planner, perhaps a call would be very helpful. But most of the time, dress codes and themes are already suggested in the party invites so that guests will know what to expect. If it is a themed celebration, ask around to know if anyone has attended that kind of party in the past. Maybe they can help steer you in the right direction. Also, try to check with someone familiar with the venue, just in case the place has any special requirements.
Don’t forget to buy a gift for the debutante. If you are part of her 18 gifts or 18 treasures, make sure to prepare something really special and symbolic and an explanation to go with it.
2. Decide on what to wear
In coming up with your ensemble, style is the key. It is the way you put together the pieces, not the clothes themselves. For starters, always remember to wear what’s right for your body type and don’t be a slave to fashion. No matter how hoochie koochi you get with Gucci, no matter how breathless you become in a Prada dressing room, no matter how cute a Chanel item is, if a particular cut is unflattering on you, you can look, well, tacky! Your wardrobe should show your personality, not the personality of the store’s salesperson or the models.
As a suggestion, why not try ruffles and tiers with your dresses? You may even resurrect that flapper dress from Grandma’s chest! Or rummage around Mom’s closet, get that drop waist dress, and pair it with high heels for a long and lean look. Although not encouraged (because recognize: you are just a guest), when you want to be sexy yet subtle, off-shouldered tops are the best. This versatile neckline shows the shoulders, collarbone, and neckline. Wear it with dangling earrings and you’ll surely get the consideration you deserve.
Take note that the best time to bargain shop for semi-formal and formal dresses is in early March for semi-formals, and in late May and early June for semi-formals and formals. The dresses that didn’t sell from the school semi-formal dances and Prom are on sale/clearance at these times.
For the accessories, they should be in balance with the weight of your clothing. Wear earrings that flatter your face shape. If you have a long face, avoid long, dangling earrings. The stretched lines of the earrings will make the face appear even longer. That style is better for those who will look better with the added length to their face. Match your earrings to the style of clothes you are wearing. Pearl earrings for women are best worn with a dressy outfit and flashy, ornate earrings are best kept for festive, party events.
If you have a round face, high choker necklaces shorten your neck. Hanging necklaces balance the roundness of your face. Avoid circular or round hairstyle. Any V-neck style is advisable. Shun high raffles away. If you have a long face, you must have circular or full hairstyle. V-necks aren’t good. If you have double chin, long pendant distracts the attention from it. Forget big and dangling earrings. High choker at the throat won’t work either.
A scarf or belt that hangs down toward the legs make the legs appear longer. Knitted texture, lace, floras, prints, and plaids assist in creating an illusion. Thicker, vertical lines in plaids lengthen and slim.
4. Smell good while looking good
About the perfume you’ll wear, when it comes to scents, citrus and floral fragrances are ideal for day. They’re light and airy, and won’t stink with sweat. A cooler climate at night allows for heavier and sexier fragrances like spices, wood, and musk. Put your fragrance where you expect to be kissed! Perfumes should be sprayed on the ‘pulse points’ such as wrists, chest, and neck. It is at these parts that the heat of the body is closest to the skin and helps to release the fragrance.
18th birthday celebrations are filled with young people, therefore your makeup has to be fresh. As a rule of thumb in makeup, focus on your eyes or lips, but never both. You might want to take the time to experiment with your makeup hours before your friend’s debut party. Start with a sheer foundation and use it carefully. (Be aware, though, that some foundations and powders can actually make your skin reflect several shades lighter in photographs.)
For the eyes: smokey eyes are very in. However, make a statement with colors other than black. Blue and purple shades accentuate brown eyes. Copper and orange make blue eyes ‘pop.’ Pink and mauve blend well with green eyes. Neutral and brown colors work well for everyone but be cautious because too much of it can make you look like you have a black-eye, which is the last impression you’d want to show. Finish with a nude or clear gloss on the lips and a touch of rouge (i.e. blusher) on the cheeks (to keep your face looking glowing, rather than flat and lifeless in photos).
Meanwhile for the lips, lipstick can be quite fiddly. Finding a shade that gives emphasis to your skin and doesn’t dull your teeth can be hard. Dark colors can tend to make lips look smaller, so avoid anything too deep.
If you think getting highlights for you hair is a good idea, keep this in mind: get a color that complements your skin tone. If you’re fair-skinned, any hair color is fine. If you’re pinkish, ash tones are great. If you have yellow skin, it’s deep red. For olive skin, dark tones in red or brown.
Now you are ready to go to your friend’s 18th birthday party. All you have to do is stay comfortable in what you’re wearing and dance the night away. As long as you’re confident in what you’re wearing for the event, you will definitely enjoy your friend’s special night just as much as she does!
Photo Credit: © Stacy Morrison/Corbis ; © beyond/Corbis