From the Ramblin’ Rod Show to gallery openings to charity galas to parole hearings, a lady’s life is full of special events that call for special outfits. The guidelines discussed in “What to wear on a date” blog post will serve you well at any occasion but here are 3 more tips for putting your best outfit forward:

1.) Let your personal style, not the theme of the event, dictate your outfit

I knew a girl in high school who had a stocking array of themed outfits and would wear a sassy little Ms. claus suit to a holiday pancake breakfast, a short prom dress with animal print to an animal shelter fundraiser, and a Tiffany prom dress to her best friend’s wedding.

While she surely had good intentions, her costumes made her look like the event’s mascot rather than an enthusiastic attendee. Your formal clothing – whether it is a graduation dress, a Jovani prom dress or Night Moves dress – should be congruent with your everyday style. For dates and events, remember to dress like yourself, only better.

2.) Don’t wait to buy a formal dress until you need a formal dress

Buy a formal dress, or a sexy prom dress, when you find a dress you love. Trust me on this – shopping for formal wear at the last minute is the shopping stress equivalent of perusing the store while being stalked by a hungry tiger. You won’t have any fun, you might not be happy with your hurried choice, and you’ll probably spend too much money.

Pro Tip From From an Experienced Shopper:

Make a habit of glancing at the formalwear sale racks when shopping for mundane things like jeans or unsalted butter, and you are sure to find an affordable gem that will have you itching for a formal invite to somewhere, anywhere!

3.) Have a Go-To Special Occasion Outfit

Growing up, one of my friend’s moms kept a closet full of cute, generic, prewrapped gifts on the ready in case of forgotten birthdays or house-warming parties. I have yet to stumble upon another idea so brilliant, and I think the concept can easily be applied to formal wear. You should have a cute, generic, prewrapped outfit in your closet that you can throw on on the event of a last-minute, um, event.

Your Go-To outfit doesn’t need to be new or particularly flashy; it could be that cliche-but-fabulous Little Black Dress or a sleek pantsuit, but it must be easy and versatile. Don’t forget the power of accessories here – throw on a simple, stylish base (like that LBD) for anything from a garden wedding to a presidential inauguration – and add opera gloves or flip-flops accordingly.