Everyone looks forward to all the holiday parties and festivities. No matter what you celebrate, there is always a reason to celebrate this time of year. There are so many options of what to wear to the different events you have going on it can make you dizzy. But hopefully this short guide will help you make wardrobe decisions that make you look your best. I am going to break down the holiday parties and events into three categories, casual, business and dressy. Each one will have options that can carry your through the season.
Casual Holiday Dressing
This category includes everything from getting together for a drink with friends, to parties with your children and just those invitations that say come as you are. When I think about casual holiday dressing the first place my mind goes is what kind of top or jacket and accessories can I wear with my jeans to make the look extra special. One of the easiest way to make your jeans look extra ordinary this season is to pair them with either a sequin or velvet top or jacket. This stunning starry sequin knit t-shirt is by Vince Camuto and you can find it at Nordstrom. Pair this with either velvet booties or flats. These booties are from Lucky Brand and would be great if you want to take this look out during the day. Or take the look up a notch with a dressy pair of slides, these are Badgley Mischka from Nordstrom. Any dressy shoe would be fantastic especially in a navy velvet or pop of silver. Or find something like this J. Crew sequin star flat that just brings everything back into each other. This flat would be fantastic to take your jeans and sequin tee to a casual party or even out for a casual holiday dinner.
We also talked about velvet. Velvet is the fabric that is super trendy this season so it is easy to find everywhere.Ann Taylor has this fabulous belted Velvet blazer that you can wear casually with dark denim or dress it up more over black dresses and skirts. This is a great piece to wear everywhere for the holiday season. Ann Taylor also has a fantastic velvet t-shirt. 2 colors, navy and burgundy, and it will work both casually and dressy. It’s a great piece to wear with black and dark jeans for just going out for lunch or a casual holiday drink. I bought a velvet t-shirt for fall and find I wear it everywhere!
For you casual holiday looks try and keep your shoes to the same feel. Wear patterned or velvet boots and shoes, but keep the look comfortable. A cute velvet mule ( also from AT) or any velvet loafer with a bow, this one is from AT but they are literally everywhere will make your casual look dressy and feminine. Or stick with a booties like these. Look for a comfortable block heel and a print that will work with denim bottoms. These are from Charles David at Nordstrom. Anthropologie is a great place to find casual yet dressy booties. These are Embroidered Velvet booties from Vanessa Wu, and they are fabulous!
I will do handbags at the end because all the dressy handbags and clutches go with all 3 categories.
Holiday Dressing for the Office
By far the most complicated holiday dressing is what to wear for your office holiday party or your partner’s party. You want to look festive, but not overdone and definitely classy. Office parties run the gamut of big fancy holiday bashes to small get togethers at either a bar or in the office itself. Even though this is the season of the Maximalist, with office holiday dressing it is always better to be slightly underdressed than over dressed. The best fabric to use for office party dressing is lace and/or velvet.
I just picked up these fabulous pants from AT they are ankle length with a lace hem. I have black lace pants from last year ( that I wear everywhere) but I thought these would be great to wear to a holiday dinner or casual evening. Pair pants like these with a Tuxedo bib tie shell ( also AT) and you look stylish and sophisticated. This top you can wear back to your jeans for casual or even under a jacket to the office. It will look fantastic under that velvet belted jacket above with dark denim. A lace bell sleeve dress is also a great look for an office party that is at a hotel or restaurant. It is dressy without being over the top. This dress is from AT and also comes in a wonderful evergreen shade if you want to mix it up. If you are so inclined, a great pair velvet ankle pants can take you to any office party. These are from Halogen at Nordstrom. Pair them with a sparkly holiday bell sleeve sweater from Vince Camuto and it’s perfect for a more casual holiday office party. Dress up the velvet pantswith a sleeveless sparkle halter blouse also by Vince Camuto for the office party that is in a restaurant. And if you want to try and take the pants more formal look for a velvet tuxedo or embellished jacket like this one from Catherine Maladrino, also at Nordstrom, and you can wear it like a nouveau tuxedo look.
Sometimes for an office party you already have a velvet skirt or lace bottom and you just need a dressy piece to wear on top. Ann Taylor has you covered. For the more casual office get together stick with a ruffle blouse like this fabulous tie neck ruffle blouse. This fabulous red will work with everything, denim, velvet, lace and sequins. If you need something a little more dressy for a big office holiday bash then go forthe red top above with a ruffle cuff pant ( either in red or black) to make a classy holiday statement. Or just add either a sequin puff tee to your own bottoms or a mixed sequin and chiffon pleated shirt with any black or white top you already own. For the office dress down sequins if you are wearing them. But they are huge this season so it’s great to wear them.
Since office parties of every kind seem to be standing parties. Make sure you have shoes or boots that are comfortable. I love the look above with the velvet pants with the patterned loafers, that will work with almost all your looks with those pants. Or choose a flat velvet bow loafer like above. Any great mule will work. If you are doing all solid colors in velvet or lace with pants this Tory Burch mule will be perfect. A dressy loafer also works really well with any pant, this one is by Cecelia Pepper at Nordstrom. For dresses and skirts you may want a shoe or bootie with a heel. Stay with a block heel for comfort.This block heel ankle strap pump is from Franco Sarto and it comes in this print and 3 solid colors, great with a lace dress or a go for a solid black with the sequin and chiffon skirt above. Louise et Cie is doing a printed or black velvet Mary Jane and it would be great with ankle pants or a dress. Peep toes and sandals are still very much in style and a great pair in velvet can be worn with everything above. These are from Stuart Weitzman and come in a ton of colors including black patent and velvet, so they would work with everything. The block heel isn’t too high, because you will be standing all night and need to be able to.
Dressy and Formal Holiday Occasions
Every once in a while you get invited to a black tie or formal holiday party. Here is where you can pull out all the stops. Glam yourself up with a great velvet, sequin or lace (or combination of all of it). Dresses and Jumpsuits are going very glam this holiday!
One of the best places to find all this glam and not break the bank is WhitehouseBlackmarket. They have a great collection of dresses and jumpsuits that work.This fabulous high low sleeveless fit and flare Jacquard dress can go anywhere. Or wear a fabulous sequin shift dress, this type of dress works and works. They also have it with sleeves if you prefer. WHBM also has a hunter green lace gown from Carmen Marc Valvo that can take you to any black tie occasion. A great jumpsuit looks fresh and modern. This Velvet Halter jumpsuit will work for any formal occasion. Or go for one with a beaded top like this one. It’s from Monique Lhuillier. WHBM has such an extensive selection of gowns, dresses and jumpsuits if you look online you will find what you are looking for.
For a formal affair you shoes need to be formal as well. A fabulous lace pump like this one from Sam Edelman at Nordstrom will work on every level. You can also go back to the block heel sandal above, especially with the jumpsuits or long gowns. If you dress is shorter make sure your shoes fit the look. Pom poms are big and these from Sam Edelman are perfect! AT has a great pair of velvet and sequin pumps that will look super with all the above looks as well.
You can go a little lower with your heel, but if you are going flat make sure they are sequin or very dressy. Nordstrom online has an excellent selection of holiday shoes. Check them out!
For holiday bags, the same rules apply. Velvet, lace and sequins are what is a called for in every category. Nothing beats a sequined minaudiere. This one is from Nordstrom. WHBM also has a great selection of sequin and velvet clutches. And you can’t go wrong with a velvet bow clutch, this one is from AT. Again Nordstrom had a fabulous collection of holiday clutches online and I suggest you take a look. That one perfect holiday bag can work for every look. Or if you are lucky enough to have some vintage ones or ones you have collected over the years, you can keep pulling out the same dressy bags. A great dressy clutch will never go out of style!
So I hope that I have helped you navigate your holiday party scene. I am just an email away if you need help. Email me at Suethefashionista@gmail.com with all your holiday dressing questions. Or if you need help in person, I am working for a couple more weeks before I break so let me know.
Next week we will go over holiday make up looks. I am going to the Beauty Bar this week to get all the info. And in two weeks Shoshana Lewis, our jewelry specialist will have a special blog about all the new looks. But if you can’t wait she is having a pop up boutique on November 29 and 30 in Vancouver. It’s at Designer Collective on 33rd and Mackenzie and I strongly encourage you to check it out. It will be Shosh designs and a few others who all have great stuff for you or holiday gifting. If you live in Vancouver I hope to see you there!
Until next time…