Attending a special party or performance this holiday season? It’s time to show off a little bit! You know, Washington, DC is a conservative town in many ways. Even at the Kennedy Center, many women tend to dress down. I go to plenty of after-five networking functions and I notice that some women look like they didn’t want to be perceived as trying too hard. Well, ladies, it’s time to turn that around. There is nothing unprofessional or show-offy about looking fantastic! Here are some fashion tips to help you shine for the holidays.
Turn Heads with Sassy Leg Wear
Fancy hosiery is one inexpensive way to update and accessorize a simple holiday outfit. The holidays are one time when you can really pull off patterned leg wear, which is great because that is one of the hot looks this season, and anyone of any age or size can wear them. Choose patterned leggings for a more casual (and warmer) look, or go for lace, sparkly or patterned stockings or tights to dress up your look for holiday parties. I’m gravitating toward the lace styles this year. One very hot look this season is bright color tights — hot pink and magenta, even. (I saw this look in More Magazine, so it’s not just for young women.) Try them with black or charcoal grey dresses or skirts. Another head-turning look are printed tights in floral and animal patterns. There is a wide range of prices on these, starting at $7 and up.
Rethink the Little Black Dress
It’s hard to beat the little black dress for easy sophistication. Go to any holiday party and you’re sure to see ubiquitous black skirts or trousers topped with festive blouses and sweaters. Even black blazers. Black is a no-brainer. But it’s so predictable!
Check out this picture featuring two women in Lane Bryant silk holiday dresses. Which woman would you remember? Which would you notice from across the room? Sure, black is classy and elegant, but you only go around once! Might as well have fun.
Black can be flattering if worn strategically. Otherwise, black can make you look tired, or less than festive. If you choose to wear black close to your face, for example, a solid black blazer or top, consider adding contrasting jewelry or hair accessories, in pearl or bright jewel tones, to bring color and light to your face. For example, I have a very simple black dress that has a v-neck line, but I like to wear a statement necklace with enormous peridot green stones with it.
Pay a bit more attention to your makeup than usual when you wear black, particularly mascara, eye liner, and brows. If you’re older than forty, bright red or dark lipstick with black can be a bit harsh, so consider a more subtle lip shade, with a little shine, and accent your eyes. And of course, the best accessory is a smile 🙂
This adorable dress is available from Target for $31.99
If you really want to stand out at the party, however, why not go for color this year? I’ve seen some lovely dresses at Target and Dress Barn in deep purple, deep teal, and cranberry red. Or try something unexpected and complexion-flattering, like chocolate brown, pewter, sage green, or champagne matte satin — all very chic and sophisticated looks that can look festive when accessorized with the right jewelry and perhaps warmed up with a soft cardigan sweater with three-quarter sleeves (to show off a pretty bracelet).
Check out this flattering, empire-style Target dress which is available in women’s sizes up to 16 for only $31.99!
Would you ever look back at basic black after rocking this fabulous dress from Dress Barn?
What to Do About Shoes?
Shoes are where a lot of people give up. There is always the compromise between comfort and style, especially if you are traveling on Metro to a downtown event, or the weather is bad. But people do look at your shoes.
Most work day shoes, such as a simple leather pump or plain flat, as comfortable as they are, cannot stand up to the glitz and luxe of holiday fabrics. You really have to buy a dressy shoe to look your best, but there are comfortable and affordable holiday shoes to be had.
Consider another color for dressy shoes instead of black. Shoes close to the color of your complexion (think satin pumps, metallic sandals) will make your legs look longer. Check out these lovely champagne colored slippers (they’re on sale at JCPenney this week for $39.99). Now imagine them with some champagne sheer hose, with an emerald or teal dress. That could be an elegant look. Or these little red numbers, which look as comfortable as they are pretty ($55, from JCPenney). Couldn’t you dance the night away in those?
But black is great, I agree. If you choose black pumps, consider wearing black patterned or sheer hose to extend the leg.
Casual Looks for the Holidays
Hey, every day can’t be a party (I wish!) But every day can be a little more fun in the cotton holiday t-shirts I have seen at Wal-Mart and Target for only $5 each. Why not wear one to the gym the next time you work out, or layer one with a sweater the next time you go shopping or ice-skating?
The ANA and Worthington brands at JCPenney have some great, updated, and affordable looks for casual get-togethers that are wearable for women of any age. Consider these looks, my darlings, instead of those holiday santa or applique sweaters. Reindeer sweaters are cute, perhaps, but this holiday, let’s all go for HOT instead of cute. Here’s a very good reason to donate those cute sweaters to Goodwill and embrace your fabulous hotness while still looking festive. I love this gorgeous charcoal gray sweater from JCPenney, less than $40. It’s hip and it has the most subtle touch of Lurex for little holiday sparkle. Wouldn’t this be smashing with boots and jeans, or leggings? Or you could wear it for dinner out.