This month we are doing Signature Style early as it is all about festive outfits for the holiday season. I’ve had more than a few people ask for ideas for Christmas parties. I have some pretty things I wanted to share and Sarah and Cindy do too.
I have always loved any opportunity to don a sequin or two and sparkly jewels. As a child, I was fascinated with what my mother would pull together for my father’s big company Christmas party each year. In the 1960’s, my grandmother made her a sleeveless dark pink velvet swing dress with a large bow above a cut out in the back. She had a big crystal flexible bracelet, chandelier earrings and brooch that matched. Each year my mother meticulously planned her look from the shoes, to the jewels, shoes and even lipstick. Another year we went to the very hip Joseph Magnin and she bought black velvet hot pants with a matching long sleeve top with white lace cuffs and collar- ala the Partridge Family! I thought all of it was TDF and I couldn’t wait to grow up and dress up for fancy parties
Fast forward to the life I live now, and fancy parties are rare. Companies don’t have those Mad Men era holiday shebangs much anymore- and when they do, they are less dressy, well at least here on the West Coast. In this pandemic age, many of us are choosing smaller gatherings, and many are entertaining at home. We need options for it all, so here’s a few fun things I have found and what works for me..
My Go-To Looks for the Holidays
- Sparkly top + cute jeans and pretty sandals
- Silky bias type skirt (or dress) topped with a fluffy soft sweater
- Black blazer with a camisole and a fitted pant with big sparkle earrings to make it holiday.
- Black dress that you can dress up with heels or make hip with boots or booties.
Always start with shopping your closet, and see what you own before you buy! Sometimes the coolest things are already in your closet. I also think consignment stores are a treasure of unique pieces.
Istart by laying all my potential outfits on the bed and then try looks with different shoes and accessories in front of a big mirror. Anything with a sequin or velvet should be a candidate, as well as shoes, bags, and costume jewelry with sparkle. Vintage pieces are especially cool. I have things from my mom and grandma that I use every year – beaded clutches and brocade bags and those Christmas pins as well.
The Bias Cut Skirt or Dress with a Sweater
For an occasion that takes places daytime or an evening that is an early cocktail party or dinner with friends, a soft sweater over a silky bottom paired with a dramatic earring strikes a comfy, but still chic feeling.
I love that look and comfortable feel and tried it with a bias cut skirt I have and a new super soft cashmere sweater (on sale now and amazing quality), some kitten heeled booties and long pearl earrings that are vintage and a gold and patent clutch bag. I’d probably add some chunky crystal bracelet instead of the watch here..
Try the same look with a slip dress or satiny skirt and a soft sweater that has that fluffy holiday look.
If you don’t have that, the brilliant AllSaints has created a 2 in 1 dress, the Darla Tiana – a 90’s look slip dress with a wool/yak sweater to top it off when you want. It comes in three colors- a black, red/rust and a soft grey. Brilliant!
They also make this Rosetta dress with a bit more sparkle and a shorter sweater in gold and silver..
And Nordstrom has it’s own version of the AllSaints dress and it’s on sale now too..SO pretty. I love the versatility of these 2 in 1 dresses.
AllSaints has over twenty versions of the 2 in 1 Dress , another below, The Maren, and all are great for this kind of occasion! Just use accessories to make it elegant or casual wear for everyday. The options with these make them a good investment for your wardrobe.
If you already own a soft pretty sweater, Anthro has a few good bias slip dresses here in a pretty copper, and a leopard print.
More inspiration from the cute account Street Style Global on Instagram…
Other sources for satin skirts are Shopbop, which has a pretty bias cut skirt. and J.Crew has one also here.
The Sparkly Top + Jeans and Pretty Sandals or Heels
Do you have a Christmas exchange party with friends, or a holiday lunch out or maybe you’re inviting few friends over? Right now we are all trying to keep gathering small and when hosting at home, the easiest holiday look is a sequin top. Everyone should have one in their closet! This year I grabbed this one shoulder number that caught my eye. I paired it with jeans and my sparkly slides. This is a very California Christmas look as you all know we are so casual here. I paired it with my Valentino slides that have some sparkle.
I can’t find the exact same top anymore, but this below middle is similar same brand.. You can get these shirts for a song at Marshalls and similar places. The $300 ones aren’t that different and for the amount of wears, it makes sense to get a more affordable one. Buy one and you’ll always have something fun to wear when the occasion happens. At the very least you can feel cute at home while you watch the ball drop on TV on NYE. (That’s usually what happens here !) Below left they also have a pretty version in plus size and this one right from Marshalls is adorbs too.
The denim I am wearing is by AYR and made in LA, a very small company. You can choose your inseam and finishes and I LOVE how they feel and fit. They hold you in a bit, but aren’t too tight. They have to be the most flattering pair of jeans I have ever had. Being short, I like that I could choose the length and I chose the 25 at 5’4. They are called The Pop and have a raggedy edge in the Bomba wash I bought. Other options and finished hems are available. I want a white pair next!
The Black Suit or Jacket with a Bare Look Underneath + Fab Earrings
Another look I wore all through the 1990’s was a black jacket with a camisole or just buttoned up with no top under and skinny pants. It’s almost a suit look, but you add great earrings, or a cool pin and voila you are up for drinks, dinner (or dancing-as if that was happening anymore.) I think this look is uber chic.
I wore some dark plaid trousers, my hair up, chandelier earrings and matte black booties here..
Do you have some chandelier or dangly earrings? I have many pairs I have bought over the years and honestly some are 30 plus years old like the pearl drops that I bought in college and wear on the to pic. They were YSL and $20 on sale. Still my favorites! I love these Waterfall Sparklers, left , the Sparkle Drops middle that come in three colors, and both the baguette drops – all J.Crew.
If you don’t have a black blazer J.Crew has this wonderful stretch velvet option..And the classic, Regent Blazer.
I couldn’t find dark plaid pants, but I did find a source for a plaid circle wool skirt, which reminds me of my mom 1974 Christmas..I was so inspired by this look from Instagrammer Benedetta Magri? This is fun and chic…
The Black Dress + Your Own Cool Spin
Lastly when you have a more formal event, something for work that’s pretty upscale or party where you just aren’t sure what to do, the black dress is ALWAYS a good idea! I have three that I adore and have worn over. One is a silk shirt dress from L’Agence, another is an Elizabeth & James black A line in crepe, and a black silk sheath from Ramy Brook. All three dresses were an initial investment of around $300+ but they still look new and stylish and are the stalwarts of my closet. If you don’t have at least one flattering and well made black dress, and you have an event, this is the time to get one!
Below I’m in my favorite crepe dress left (so forgiving) and my Ramy Brook silk which can go all seasons.
I love black crepe as it is usually lined and skims the body. Ralph Lauren makes this classic left, and this one from Caroline Rose is a modern take on the classic.
Other classics sure to last are this Emporio Armani Drape Waist Knit Dress and this Theory Crepe Sheath.
The nice thing about the black dress is you can put your own spin on it with large earrings, elegant chains or a cocktail ring. Try a rhinestone pin in your hair and add a bag in a bright color or with stones. The possibilities are endless and you will always look smart. Don’t discount black booties which can make a simple black dress feel a bit more punk and cool. If you need black clothes inspiration, watch the Cruella movie. It’s amazing and fun.
Whatever you do, enjoy dressing up. After the past years, any chance to seems like a treat to me! Add some flair and think of this..which my grandmother would agree..
I kind of love that..Please go see what the style genius’s Cindy and Sarah have on their blogs..
Cindy Hattersley Design
Sarah London Style
Are you going to any work parties? Here in California, I know those things are largely not happening during this pandemic. I have a few plans with small groups of vaccinated pals and some meet ups with close friends for coffee and catch up outside. What about you?
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