The truth be told, many women stress daily about dressing. If you are a repeat reader you know that I spend my writing hours trying to de-stress the situations. I give advice on closet editing, building wardrobes, how to accessorize, how to dress by body proportion, how to accentuate the assets and disguise the liabilities, what the best undergarments to buy are and what shoes can comfortably carry you through the work week – to name a few.
Thoughts overheard on the subject include:
- I’ll just wear one of the black dresses in my closet.
- I don’t have the budget to go all out.
- Seriously, I am not going to buy something I will only wear once.
- I’ll shop consignment for someone else’s old glittery schmock.
- I plan to just polish my shoes and wear light up earrings.
- I will just arrive late and say I didn’t have time to change from my office uniform.
- I just won’t go to the party.
What gives here?
Could millions of women really have gone to a ‘mean’ girl party in the past having left with an injured ego?
Here is the 3-step program to convert you from a holiday introvert to a holiday extrovert (well maybe not a total extrovert, always monitor your distance from the bar.)
- Plan to go and plan ahead
I recently wrote about What Women Want As Holiday Gifts (Missed it? Be sure to circle back and read it – you’ll be glad you did.) The bottom line was that experiences trump – period. Yes we can fill our house with stuff, but ladies, some of our best memories are made outside of the house! Tis the season to get out and about, to answer yes to formal or casual invitations, to frolic about and to create your own seasonal soirees so you can toast the holidays with friends, co-workers and family.
- Plan to dress for the occasion
If you are headed on vacation, you probably are swimsuit shopping a month before. If you know it is going to snow, you no doubt have your eyes peeled for a boot sale. But somehow, we women always seem to be surprised by the holiday suddenly being here. Why? Because we are generally not even on the bottom of our list! Newsflash, the holiday season generally starts right about now – mid December and culminates on New Years Eve. The holiday season can be a whirlwind of errands – shopping, wrapping, cleaning, baking, decorating, and more shopping, all of this on top of a 40 hour work week. I repeat, plan ahead (let’s say October for you personally) to dress for the occasions.
- Plan to be the most confident woman in the room
How you ask? First repeat after me:
- This is not rocket science.
- I can do this.
- I can rock a room.
Let’s begin –
Regardless of how much you would prefer to be snoozing next to a crackling fire in your themed PJ’s, instead gather up your remaining energy, march on over to your closet and pull together a few looks that will turn you into a festive fashionista. Bulky holiday themed sweaters need not apply. Wrote about those disasters last year –
Are You Wearing That Ugly Christmas Sweater Intentionally?
If you have some of these key items in your wardrobe, consider yourself good to go. If not, then perhaps in the midst of your shopping for everyone else on your list, you can pick up a few party savers for yourself.
The Little Black Dress
Let’s state the obvious first and get it over with. Most every woman has that great LBD, one that you don’t wear to work once a week and one that accentuates your body (where it deserves accentuating) and forgives and conceals those areas that need it. Have some fun with old faithful for the holidays, add a belt in exotic faux skin, paired with high black boots, or play off your gorgeous gams with a sexy (and oh so appropriate) red velvet heel. Your jewelry can be a simple bold cuff or a statement necklace.
The Metallic Evening Shoe
When darting from the office to a post work holiday gathering, simply switching up your sensible black pumps to a flirty pair of metallic shoes will turn your basic black pantsuit or demure black pencil skirt, into a glam statement of confidence. Your options are endless – booties, block heels, sequined pumps, adorned flats and more, it all reads more festive in silver or gold.
The Sequined Tank
Nothing says “Happy New Year” quite like sequins. (OK maybe champagne does…) The beauty of a sequined tank is that it flatters women of most any shape and age. Pair it with skinny jeans and heels, a pair of dark tailored men’s trousers or a skirt. Cropped jackets, tuxedo style blazers and denim jackets all work to down play the arms (if needed) and keep you warm.
Make it bold and make it yours. A string of pearls, although always a classic, does not a strong impression make. Take any outfit (jeans and a T?) and give it instant party cred by donning a big, boldly cut, chunky cocktail ring. Festive emerald in celebration of the season perhaps? The epic chandelier earring, with gemstones or faux jewels could also do the trick.
Leather has for years been a go-to holiday staple in my own closet. Pair up some butter soft black leather pants with a cashmere sweater and high heels for a party look that is almost as comfortable as the aforementioned themed pajamas. A leather pencil skirt with a fabulous blouse, opaque tights and pumps can also be a reliable staple. One of the best things about leather, you won’t have to waste time ironing!
For holidays it should be anything BUT the basic work button down. Try something with ruffles, tuxedo style, big cuffs, taffeta, sheer, halter… the options are endless! Choose a style that complements your figure then pair it with skinny or trouser jeans, menswear pants, black skirts, leather pants, even ball gown skirts!
Leave the oversized hobo bag at work. For holiday parties, keep your must carry essentials to a minimum (lipstick, debit card, breath mints) so they can fit in this undersized accessory. Let the statement come from its art and craftsmanship, choose one jewel encrusted or slim and trimmed in satin. For once, bigger is not necessarily better.
Fashionably fun leg coverings
I’m hesitant to use the term “hose” lest is conjures up images of nurses in their white panty hose and my own nightmare memories of baggy elephant legs after my sheer nylons lost their stretch. Today’s options are much more fashion forward, even while being flashbacks in their own right. Fishnets in either black, monochromatic or flesh toned will add instant sex appeal to any dress or skirt. Opaque tights in black or unexpected bold colors will keep the winter chill off of your legs while acting as a punctuation mark to your outfit.
It is the holidays after all so celebrate with one of its hallmark colors. Bold red lips make an entrance (but be sure to balance it with a subtle eye). If you can’t pull off the red lips then opt for candy apple red nail polish. Break up your black ensemble with a red belt or scarf. However you decide to incorporate the shade of the season remember, a small dose goes a long way.
Modern Evening Wrap
And by modern I mean, “not a shawl”. Your wrap could have sleeves built in, be a shrug or sheer jacket. Ideally, it is something so unique that it stands on its own while complementing your look. One made of silk in brighter colors with metallic threads add a festive note. Take off the black work blazer, replace it with an unexpected topper and you will keep yourself warm while turning heads.
If you have any of the above articles already in your closet, you are ready to rock the holiday parties effortlessly. If you are lacking these evening basics, just remember while shopping for others, you also have been very good this year and deserve a little something in your stocking… why wait until December 25th?
Enjoy this fabulous holiday – you crazy fashionista!