The idea that you need to buy a fancy dress, fancy shoes, and a fancy wrap for holiday parties is an outdated notion. Many women have not gotten this memo and still struggle with how to dress in a festive way. Dressing up should be enjoyable, not an ordeal. Unless your child is getting married, banish the idea of needing to buy an “outfit.” In almost every closet there is a rarely worn relic that is faithfully trotted out every year until it is hopelessly out of fashion. If you only dress up occasionally this is bound to happen. The secret to special occasion style is pairing a classic separate with something dazzling and unique. There is no need to invest in a garment you’ll only wear once a year when you can mix and match special pieces and come up with something both original and versatile.
December is a great month to add a festive little touch to your daily ensemble. If your schedule is packed with parties, this is your chance to show off your outrageous personal style. Here are some suggestions to fire up your creativity:
Color – Go beyond the traditional green, red, and black. Jewel tones are always wonderful this time of year and look especially fresh with pale neutrals in grey, peach, or champagne. For a luxe look, mix metallics with creamy whites or hues that are in the same color family, like gold with camel, pewter with charcoal and copper with nude. Chocolate brown looks yummy with all the molten hues. Or go wild with shocking pink, peacock blue, electric violet cooled with a touch of glittering silver.
Texture – Any kind of shine says “holiday” and you have dozens of options to choose from: jewels, spangles, sequins, paillettes, lurex, metallic threads, Mix with sheer or silky fabric, ruffles, lace, velvet, fake fur, leather, feathers. Sequins are showing up in unexpected places including super-casual oversized off-the-shoulder sweatshirts and racer back tank tops as well as more classic staples like cardigans and tunics. Woven into knits and jersey they can be worn year round. Shimmering sequins covering the entire garment is the look for New Year’s Eve.
Shape – An ankle length skirt with knife edged pleats is quite a change from the little black dress. Tuxedo jackets look totally new, especially in unexpected colors. Skinny jeans come with hard edged shine or shimmery patterns. JBrand Jeans has a great holiday styling feature on their website. For a softer feel go for leggings and pants in vibrantly colored velvet. The traditional turtleneck turns sexy in an elongated fitted tunic or short sweater dress with bell sleeves. Tissue thin turtlenecks can layer under bare tops and dresses. Capes and ponchos are both glam and cozy.
Accessories – Wraps and shawls are loaded with shimmery lurex threads and can dress up a basic coat for evening. The newest look is the caplet, a tiny wrap that hits above the waist. Look for one with a big cowl neck and fringe or feathers adorning the hem. Layers of jewelry add sparkle or can be a focal point. A sequined scarf or headband adds dazzle to an entire outfit at a reasonable price.
Create a Backdrop – Many of your everyday basics can be successfully put into service. A long skirt, soft pants, slouchy trouser, velvet leggings or dark wash jeans can create the polished look that says “party” when combined with that special sparkling piece. Pair the long shimmery skirt with a down vest, a t-shirt and jeans with a ruffled infinity scarf covered with sequins. Channel Marilyn and wear a fur cape with a straight skirt. Toughen up velvet with leather, calm sequins with merino wool. A mix of textures and shapes allows you to highlight your assets and dress for self expression.
Give Your Man a Hand – A friend recently told me her husband preferred to stay home rather than deal with what to wear. We can’t have that! If your man is reluctant to go out and enjoy the merriment it may be he doesn’t have anything he feels like wearing. Ask him. Some men remember when dressing up meant a suit, and now that they have abandoned their old staple they aren’t sure how to dress in a festive way.
Be Comfy – Heels aren’t necessary to look elegant, so don’t force your feet where they don’t want to go. A metallic ballet flat or a suede platform saves your back from aching. If wearing an elegant heel makes you feel sexy and special, enjoy. If not, don’t let that stop you from dressing to the nines. I don’t. To read my tips on staying warm and cozy while still rockin’ your festive style visit last year’s holiday blog, Baby It’s Cold Outside.
The above suggestions for festive fashion can be used year round. Call me if you need help!
Sparkly dress with sleeves: www.nanwinters.com.