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Emergency Hostess Outfit or How To Look Great Even When You Want To Kill Someone | Manolo for the Big Girl

Emergency Hostess Outfit or How To Look Great Even When You Want To Kill Someone

Because I am a lady, or at least I attempt to be, I will not mention the profane hour this morning at which Hot Latin Boy’s best friend Chango called us and announced he was minutes away from Plumcake Cottage, but suffice it to say it was early enough that Jem the mule–whose cranky bray serves as community alarm clock at 7:15– was still in his cold cream and bed jacket.

I do not have warm feelings towards unexpected visitors in the best of cases, and this morning my sentiments were particularly arctic because in the weekend’s excitement my normally pristine kitchen went from Health Inspector’s Fantasy to Trainspotting House and twenty minutes –HLB bought us some time– to make the house and myself presentable was pushing it.

Unfortunately, I’m still in that tenuous warming-up period with HLB’s friends which puts me a good six months away from being able to tell the possibly-still-drunk friend who has driven (and that’s another head explosion for another day)three hours to get here that he can turn right around and drive himself back home.

Thankfully, I have an Emergency Hostess Outfit.

I know we’ve talked about having an Emergency Funeral Outfit ready at all times because You Just Never Know, but having something you can just throw on and know you’ll look fantastic and guest-ready can be a lifesaver when your beloved’s bestie –who is a total baboon, a baboon with a heart of gold, but a baboon nonetheless– shows up with three minutes’ notice or someone important from the office is going to Just Swing By your place to drop off a copy of the memo about the new TPS report cover sheets.

Someone’s got a case of the Mondays!
(I will never not love Office Space)

You want to put your best foot forward but if you’re like me, sometimes the anxiety of an unexpected visitor can be paralyzing. Instead of getting a batch of muffins in the oven or gathering your underwear off the ceiling fan –it was our anniversary last night, don’t judge us– you’re stuck naked in your bedroom staring blankly into your closet which is now suddenly devoid of anything remotely appropriate.

A good Emergency Hostess Outfit should be easy and glamorous.

It should be casual but still have that extra bit of polish that makes a guest feel like their visit is a special occasion, even if it’s one for which you’re in no way prepared.

Maxi dresses are always a strong go-to option here, provided you’ve found one that works for your shape and isn’t encrusted with sequins or rhinestones. There’s a reason they were called hostess dresses in their previous life. They’re long, so if you got caught out of the shower with only one leg shaved no one will be the wiser, and easy to accessorize: just throw on a big cocktail ring or a tremendous pair of earrings and you’re entertainment-ready.

My emergency outfit is a tea-length cotton sundress with a vaguely Thai floral pattern in cocoa, caramel and cream, flat burnished gold sandals and a cream shawl. The pattern of the dress means if I get a tiny spill or splash myself doing some last minute dishes without having to rush back to the bedroom to change before guests arrive. I know that’s not ideal, but desperate times my friends..desperate times.

For jewelry I want something a little over-the-top to offset the casualness of the sundress without looking too Done, so I keep a pair of large amber and cinnabar 1940’s ear sparklies clipped to the dress hanger. Clipping them to the hanger means I won’t lose my mind rummaging through my bazillion pairs of earrings trying to find The Very Best Ones for the outfit which will lead me to reorganize my jewelry boxes instead of getting ready for my rapidly-descending visitors. Can you say “displacement activity“? I sure can!

For makeup, I suggest going for a sheer lipcolor a few shades deeper than you’d usually go for daytime wear.

When you’re doing a serious lip you don’t need much else, maybe a lick of mascara if you’ve got the time, but really you can just slap it on and go. I use Revlon’s Colorstay Mineral Lipglaze in Overtime Wine.

I know finding a sheer, highly-pigmented lippie can be problematic since deeper, bolder colors are usually reserved for lipsticks with matte or satin finishes, so here’s a quick and dirty cheat:

Apply a generous but not goopy coat of Vaseline or clear gloss to your lips, then go over it with your dark, matte color. It might take a few swipes to get the color intensity you want, but it’ll get the job done on the cheap.

As for Chango the unbidden visitor, he WAS sober (barely) and stuck around for literally three minutes before driving three hours back to go to work. It was just long enough for him to ask HLB if I ALWAYS looked that great (knowing which side his tortilla is buttered on, HLB wisely answered in the affirmative) and for me to affectionately threaten his life if he ever pulled that sort of stunt again.

10 Responses to “Emergency Hostess Outfit or How To Look Great Even When You Want To Kill Someone”

  1. marvel July 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Did you feed and water the unbidden visitor (being a lady, I’m sure you at least offered some form of refreshment), and if so, what?

  2. SarahDances July 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    @MissPlumcake I would love for you to do a more extensive piece on maxi dresses. They’re very popular right now, but they scare me somewhat. How does a short gal do a maxi and flats without looking schlumpy? Can you recommend some nice quality ones which are made of decent materials and are not encrusted with sequins/awful plastic “gems” or other gewgaws? Much obliged!

  3. txbunny July 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    Love this post. It is just so practical.
    Since the “unexpected visitor” problem does occur at my house w/o warning, I setting aside two such outfits asap.

  4. Carol July 10, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    Another possibility for sheer, deep color is NYC City Proof Extended Wear lip gloss. I find it very workable for most situations. Not normally having drop-in visitors, though, other than grandchildren 6 and under, I don’t need to look superfantastic at the drop of a hat. But I will be re-thinking my wardrobe for a just-in-case outfit.

  5. Jelly July 10, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Hee hee, buttered tortillas…

    Focusing on the real issue at hand, what a great idea. I think I will have to have an emergency hosting outfit for any day that sweetie-pie has friends over, as it is frequently on Sunday when about the only thing I want to dress in is inappropriate for being seen by anyone except sweetie-pie and the barnyard cat, and even then, sweetie-pie knows better than to comment.
    The cat, on the other hand…

  6. catrandom July 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    May I second the request for more on maxi dresses? I live in the Nevada desert (118 degrees today, woohoo!), and I’d love to have an alternative to the jeans and T-shirts I live in for work.

    I’ve looked at quite a few dresses, but I’m short and round, and these floaty spaghetti-strap things I keep seeing are just hopeless; I don’t need to look (more) like an aging hippie. And, as SarahDances notes, everything seems to have some stupid detail. I saw one dress with a glued-on fake “necklace” of wood-grained plastic beads. Ick.

    So if you can offer any suggestions for shorties who want to wear long casual dresses, it would be much appreciated!

  7. tovah July 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    I’m also in the short and round category and just don’t believe that I can pull off the maxi dress though I want to so badly. I think this is one of the best styles to come out in a long time.

    btw, I hate those drop-ins. I really need the time to get completely organized. I do try to use my closet for quick house cleaning pick-ups. Except, I really did have someone open up my closet. At first I was embarassed, later, just pissed.

  8. Bronwyn July 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Why on earth would you want to be wearing lipstick and jewellery at ridiculous o’clock in the morning? Any guest popping in at that time will surely think you are very strange to be up and fully dressed and accoutred so early. My choice would be a nice pair of silk pyjamas and a silk robe to go on top, and I would run a comb through my hair so I didn’t look like a scarecrow.
    For other times of the day though, I agree. I have a “hippie dress” with an embroidered bodice that I can throw on over my nakedness.

  9. Bethany July 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Your outfit sounds so lovely.

    On maxi dresses, I found my perfect one at Walmart (don’t judge). It’s very versatile, and it comes in straight and plus sizes.

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Miss-Tina-Women-s-Plus-Size-Twist-Maxi-Dress/19765931

    I need more, though, so a piece on maxi dresses would be much appreciated.

  10. lali July 11, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    I have a nice dark brown V-neck maxi dress made of T-shirt material. Thick straps (so I can wear a bra underneath) and with nice macrame-style detailing (same color) at the neckline. It took forever to find this dress — I had been looking around for a maxi dress for ages but they were always some floaty chiffon stuff with spaghetti straps or halter tops that can’t discipline the ladies. Partnered with either delicate beige leather sandals or gold sandals, and large earrings in gold or brass, maybe a bangle, and I’m all set. I got the dress at Debenhams, a British department store that opened up small branches here in Manila, and which carries some plus-sized clothing that is not hideous.