Party season is still going strong, whether your agenda is filled with casual family gatherings or you're ending the year with a blowout New Year's Eve bash - so that means that you still need to figure out what to wear! At a recent event at Bloomingdale's, I demonstrated how to take a few winter wardrobe staples and outfit them for any holiday occasion. So if you didn’t think that you could wear the same dress to a family brunch and a cocktail party, or if you had no idea that one blazer could take you from bar night to dancing the night away, read on…
THE SWEATER DRESS
I’ve already extolled the virtues of a sweater dress as a Thanksgiving go-to – but my admiration doesn’t end in November. You can wear the same super-versatile cold weather essential to a myriad of festive events throughout December, too! A solid sweater-knit dress is that ever-dependable occasion-transcending base to your outfit – wear it with boots on the weekend, with a classic blazer to work, or with heels out to dinner. And during the holidays, it’s no less of a closet chameleon.
If you’re looking to move beyond jeans as a wardrobe workhorse, this Karen Millen sweater dress is a no-brainer. With boots and tights, it’s just as warm and a bit more comfortable than your favorite denim – with a major hit of color and style. Layer it with a cozy cardigan (yes, you can wear a cardigan over a sweater dress), your favorite M. Gemi knee-high boots and a plaid scarf that ties it all together.
The holidays are typified by large gatherings, but sometimes dinner for two is a needed break from the fray. When you want to dress up a bit (but not shift into cocktail party mode), keep it simple – an edgy Karine Sultan necklace and Donald J Pliner killer booties pack enough punch that you don’t need much else. And if your weather isn’t wintry frigid – up the glam factor with a shearling vest!
NEW YEAR’S SOIRÉE
If you didn’t already know it, gold and silver are the go-with-everything neutrals of nighttime dressing - so kick it up a notch or two for New Year’s Eve by focusing on metallic sparkle and shine. An attention-getting (but not too statement-y) necklace is a must-have in your jewelry box, a simple Clare Vivier silver clutch works with any color dress, and a M. Gemi sparkle heel can be your one piece of festive footwear. And why not add a fur jacket? This is one night when over-the-top is just right…
THE VELVET BLAZER
Velvet is majorly on trend this season – but it’s a perennial staple for any fall/winter wardrobe. And the good news is that even though it’s very of-the-moment, a classic blazer shape will never go out of style. So if you’re shopping for a velvet third piece this season, keep the silhouette timeless, the details minimal, and skip the black in favor of just-as-wearable navy (or forest green or burgundy).
Heading out to drinks with the crowd? Then elevate a jeans and t-shirt look with your velvet blazer! Shine adds a feminine touch to menswear-influenced loafers, and your leather wrap bracelet works with almost anything. And when you’re picking out earrings, go for these Chloe & Isabel fringed stunners because, well…why not?
If you think a dress is your only choice for a fancy dinner party, then think again. Separates are equally appropriate, sometimes more versatile, and often more comfortable for a sit-down evening. Classic black gets amped up with the subtle textures of a Ted Baker sheer-trimmed top and lacy skirt, while an acrylic bracelet and crystal-trimmed SJP heels add sedate shine.
DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY
A navy velvet blazer is not only a showpiece on it’s own, it’s also a stylish cover-up for a sexy slip dress. I actually built this outfit around an amazing multi-color Milly bag that I found right before my Bloomingdale’s event – because yes, one piece can inspire your party outfit! Play up the navy and pink color combo with a Kate Spade jeweled necklace and shiny heels, and head out the door for a fun evening!
When you’re in a jeans mood, you can still raise the style factor by not wearing your go-to blue jeans – go for black, and pick an elevated material. There are fun ones out there in corduroy and velvet, and I’ve seen many choices recently in coated denim, too. Coated jeans are ones that have a slick or waxy finish, often in a cotton or cotton-blend fabric. And since they sometimes look like faux-leather, you can achieve an edgy look without the investment in (or challenges that come along with) real leather pants.
Since the holidays are the season to sparkle, crank up jeans and a sweater with shine! A tongue-in-cheek sequined sweater and shiny silver boots may be a little outside of your everyday, but for a casual holiday party, they’re perfect! Then add some color to your neutral look with red eyeglass frames – they go with more than you think, trust me.
You probably always wear jeans for an evening with the girls – but do you wear them this way? Use black coated denim as a neutral start, then take your color inspiration from LK Bennett floral velvet booties. Pull out shades of red with a ruffle top and resin bracelets, and shades of pink with Kate Spade drop earrings and a fuchsia jacket – and then let your hair down for a much needed night with good friends.
NIGHT ON THE TOWN
So it’s New Year’s Eve, and you have fun plans – but you don’t want to cinch yourself into anything tight or fussy. Then grab this outfit that I created at Bloomingdale’s: a Vince metallic cami, a shaped but not overly fitted Tahari velvet jacket, and your black coated jeans. Get your shine on with a pair of statement-making heels, look-at-me earrings, and a not-so-subtle clutch. You’ll be ready for anything, especially for welcoming the New Year in style.