Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday party - What to wear?

I personally think the holiday season is not only a time to celebrate the joy of the year - family and friends gathering, festive food, exchanging of gifts - but it can also be the most emotionally volatile time of year as well.  Everyone, whether in their companies or in their families, tends to take stock of themselves and their situations as the holidays also coincide with year-end.  There is always pressure to “look good” or “look successful,” as well as to feel good and successful ourselves and please those important to us.  Retailers understand this, and they know how to pull the heartstrings to get us to open our wallets.  Kids write their wishful letters to Santa, and those of us who are parents want to do our best to fulfill our kids’ wishes even sometimes when doing so gives us conflict.  And of course, we have the holiday party invitations and the pressure that comes with celebrating the season with friends and colleagues before we spend time with our families.

I can’t really tell you how to handle the kids’ gift wishes - this is primarily a fashion blog after all - but I would like to share my thoughts about what to wear to the holiday parties you’re likely preparing to attend.

First, take a deep breath!  (Doesn’t that feel better?)

It is very possible you already have just what you need to put your holiday look together, sitting right there in your closet.  Or maybe you will just need to buy one or two dazzling pieces.  

Let me help you to put some potential outfits together!

Let’s start with a basic check list - if you already have one of the following, you are in good shape!

  • Little black/navy/red/wine (you name it, any dark color) dress
  • Dark wash, well fitted jeans
  • Dark blazer
  • Silk blouse
  • Simple pencil skirt
  • Pumps
  • Wool/Cashmere/Cotton & silk sweaters

Here’s my suggested additions to complete your outfit!

Gloves:   Many of us forget about this fabulous winter accessory that can marry fashion and function.  Have fun and try on different colors, prints and lengths.  Long leather or satin gloves that reach the elbow can add a bit of style and sophistication to sleeveless attire.  Wear a pair in a deep-jeweled tone like garnet, sapphire or emerald to add a pop of color to a simple black dress.  If you don’t care for long gloves, go with a shorter pair with embellishment.

Scarves:  I do love me some scarves!  I am a big fan of scarves with unique prints.  One of my favorite things about scarves is that you never need to fit INTO a scarf!  Extra holiday indulgences have zero impact on your ability to wear a scarf, and adding one to your look creates an instant dressed-up feel.  If you have a busy working day with an event on the schedule afterwards, you may not have time to go home and change.  Add a silk scarf on your neck, and off you go! 

Sequins or paillettes: Get ready to shine!  A sequined dress in black, gold, or silver makes for the perfect outfit this holiday season.  Too much of a good thing?  Try a sequined tank or jacket you can pair with practically anything – from your favorite dark wash denim to a go-to-work pencil skirt or simple trouser.  For just a bit of sparkle, add a narrow sequined belt or clutch.  Remember, the more sequins you have, the less jewelry you need.

Red: If you have your favorite shade of red living somewhere in your closet, this is the perfect time to bring it out.  Scarlet red, rust red, plum red, any shade of red can be the base of a great festive outfit.  If you feel red is a bit too much for you, opt for red nail color or a red lipstick instead. (Be sure to wear a nude lip liner to avoid any bleeding of color into fine lines around the mouth.)

Statement jewelry:  This can be as simple as a diamond stud necklace, a drop of pearl, or can be as dramatic as a pair of chandelier earrings or a chunky necklace, or as fun as a holiday theme broach. Make sure it suits your personality.  If you struggle to decide, remember simple is beautiful. 

If you’re going to be driving, please drive safe and alert!  I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems that every holiday season I see more accidents and near-accidents - I think people get more easily distracted at this time of year.  Stay alert, use these tips, RELAX and enjoy your holiday season!