Christmas drinks? Evening at the theatre? Having a special event to go to does not automatically mean you have to race out and buy a completely new outfit. The answer to your styling prayers may be a lot closer to home than you think…

So often we feel that the solution to our lack of time to plan an outfit, or the sinking feeling that nothing we have in our wardrobe is appropriate, is to spend this valuable time rushing around shopping for…well, we don’t actually know what. Most of the stories I hear involve vainly hoping that the perfect outfit set to transform the wearer into the life of the party will magically leap off the rack in the first five minutes of frantic searching.

This approach, not surprisingly, leads to more mistakes and wasted hours than fabulous outfits. If it is not the breath-taking price tag that still causes you to wince whenever you catch a glimpse of the (usually unworn and still tagged) garment in your wardrobe, it will be the unusual (read unwearable) colour that one found oneself talked into by the well meaning but clueless shop assistant.

This is not the time to be trying a completely new look. You want to feel comfortable and yourself at the function, not fidgeting and trying to check your reflection in something you are wearing for the first time. You want to be concentrating on coming up with witty repartee or enjoying the performance, not road testing a new strapless bra or pant shape, and especially if you are not sure if it is the right choice.

Remember that most of the people will never have seen you before in your going out clothes, so rarely do we get really dolled up these days. So it will hardly ever be a case of “Oh my God is she wearing that dress again?” going on behind your back. Believe me, they will be hard pressed to remember what they wore themselves the last time you saw each other. And anyway, if what you are wearing is one of your favourite killer outfits it will be more a case of them enviously admiring the way you always seem to look great and your ensembles so effortlessly put together.

So relax, take a deep breath and head towards your clothes rack. What do you always feel great in? What do people always pay you compliments on your outfit or appearance when you wear it? Do not go for comfortable in a covered up or frumpy way. Think more like your faithful party frocks (or statement making ties for the guys) that you know show off your best assets. Or it may even be a trusty pair of knockout earrings or sexy heels worn with a pants suit that makes you feel like a VIP guest.

But if you are really and truly bored with your party standbys, then use the opportunity to buy some new accessories. You can instantly pep up your outfit and revitalise that old black dress without having to buy a whole new look.

You will have the wonderful feeling that you are getting more mileage out of your existing wardrobe and not wasting your precious energies on unwanted (and unneeded) additions, and instead be free to use them to enjoy the event. Which is a far more worthy cause in my book.