Category Archives: Fashion

Festive Fashion for Christmas and New Year’s

Just about every year, I look online for holiday dresses and separates that are fashionable yet affordable and create a little fashion show on Cool Yule Blog, just for fun.

Here are some of the things I consider when making my choices.

  • I look at plus size clothing, because, like me, nearly 70% of American women wear a size 14 or larger.
  • I think about how the clothes will wear in real-life situations. For example, if you go to the see The Nutcracker in a theater, it could be chilly, and you might want a dress with a sleeve. And, if you go to a party, a mini-dress or bodycon dress might feel awkward when rising from a low sofa or kneeling to pick up your purse. Some clothes are great for casual parties, while others are better for networking receptions.
  • I look for simple cuts and necklines that will look well with special necklaces or earrings women like to wear during the holidays.
  • I search for clothes that I think would be flattering when worn and easy to wear.

Here are some of the looks I picked out.

A Trio of Red Dresses for After Five

For the Christmas party with relatives and friends, dinner or theater, I like the look of a longer dress with sleeves, that is pretty but not overtly sexy. Here are three red dresses I really like because they aren’t frumpy but they still are comfortable to wear. The solid red dresses are from Forever 21 and are less than $50. The one with the high-lo hem would be great if your legs are your best feature or you want to show off some shoes. I have “cankles” so I’m partial to the full-length style. The patterned chiffon dress is from Macy’s and is $62.50. I like how the pattern is shot through with gold metallic accents to make it a great choice for an after-five dress.

Professional Holiday Polish in Red or Black Velvet 

I love the look of these relaxed fit velvet trousers with long-sleeved blouses from Torrid. It’s a classy but subtle look. I could see these working well for an office holiday party or other function where you’d want to look festive but not wear anything to tight, glittery or revealing.

A Classy look in Royal Purple Velvet.

Just about everyone looks well in purple. These separates are great for women who find it difficult to get a just-right fit from a one piece dress. The skirt from Avenue ($40) has the look of a dress when paired with the matching tunic (less than $20). Just add a jeweled brooch or statement necklace for the after-work holiday party or networking event.

A Young and Flirty Look in Blue

I always like a color other than black for the holidays. The pattern of these affordable velvet separates and dress from appealed to me.The side ruching on that dress is gorgeous! The corset cuts, of course, are better for younger women but those pants could be appropriate for any age, maybe with a wrap or eyelash sweater.

Two Glittery Looks for New Year’s Eve, One Fancy, One Casual. 

This metallic, plisse chiffon dress from Macy’s for $97.30 is what I would pick for myself if I had a date for a big night out on New Year’s Eve… you know, a fancy dinner out or one of those big hotel parties with multiple bands, DJs, hors d’oeuvres and dancing. The thing is, with these midi dresses, you really need a maxi coat, but you might not want to spend a fortune because you wouldn’t wear it every day (probably). And a puffer coat would be too casual. So this sherpa maxi coat might work just to keep you warm from the car to coat check (Amazon, $72).

But what if your New Year’s Eve plans are more casual? For a home evening, outdoor festival or party with friends, I love the look of this wine-colored metallic tunic ($13.80 from Avenue! Also comes in black with gold thread) with wet look leggings. Flattering and easy to wear while still being really festive, and the color stands out.

So, what did you think of my choices? What will you wear this holiday season?



The prettiest dresses of the holiday season

According to this article, most women spend twice as much time planning what they’re going to wear at a party as the time they actually spend at the party! Wow! Well, maybe I can shave some time off that 8 hours.

Every year, I like to go online and find the prettiest dresses for holiday parties and celebrations. Here are my picks for 2021, for prices ranging from $16 to $200.

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What to wear for a socially distanced holiday

It’s beginning to look a lot like a socially distanced Christmas!

I know it’s hard…but is not looking your best going to make you feel better?

I’ve thought of a few scenarios and some pieces to suit. Fortunately, they can all be ordered on-line, so you don’t have to go inside any stores. And they also make great gifts!

The Socially Distant Meet-Up

Maybe you are planning to gather with one or two loved ones not in your household…. outside…six…ten…or twelve feet apart, for brief periods. Like a grandmother I talked to who said her family holds weekly dinners in her driveway (everyone bringing his or her own meal), just to be able to see each other. Wearing masks. NOT shouting or singing because that would spread the corona virus. Just…drinking each other in. Maybe listening to some Christmas music together. That might be about as good…and as close…as it gets this year.

What to wear for that?

Well, the first thing you are going to need before you even walk out the door is a mask. Here are some nice looking masks for $8.99 each from Etsy.

it’s going to be chilly, most likely. The trend I am seeing this winter is thigh-length or knee length cloth coats with lapels. What we used to call “car” coats, worn with trousers or other full length pants. It’s a polished look that keeps you warm. I love this Donatella plaid version with the assymetrical buttons ($90).

Zoom Call Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties and Christmas Movie Watch Parties

On Zoom calls, the top half of you matters 🙂  This $20 “ugly” Holiday Time sweater (Walmart) is sure to bring a smile and it won’t break the bank, which is what you want in an item like this.

Outdoor activities

Buffalo plaid is everywhere. It’s on everything! And it’s on this soft, over-sized scarft, too, which is just what you need to look warm and cheerful when you’re delivering cookies to the neighbors or driving around and looking at Christmas lights.  $15: It comes in black and white, too! Plus, free delivery!


Snuggling up to watch Christmas movies

One thing you kind of have to watch out for is being TOO cutesy at the holidays — you know what I  mean, licensed patterns, sweaters or t’s with sayings, pajamas that look like animal costumes, with ears and tails and everything. These pieces can look childish or matronly, even.

Pick a touchable, fuzzy sweater, instead. Here’s an at-home movie date night look (Macy’s, on sale today for $20). I like the added shine of earrings. It also comes in dusty rose.


Zoom-friendly Christmas Morning Pyjamas

The trendiest look I am seeing in women’s PJs this year is the knit jogger bottom with contrast, tie waist band. They look comfortable while still being discreet and not too tight.

Here are some plush, black velour ones with a doggie print ($10)

Top with a fleecy pajama pullover (Target). You could wear this all day long and it provides a decent amount of coverage in case you are Zooming Christmas breakfast with loved ones. On your own? Select clothing that is soft, like chenille and plush. The fabric “touches” you back, making your feel less lonely when human contact is scarce. This one comes in cream, soot black and pink. $25

Safer at Home New Year’s Eve

I think it’s fun to wear something special on New Year’s Eve, even if you are by yourself at home. You want to shine a little, like your optimism for the new year! This look fits the bill with comfy jeans (or joggers or leggings) and a sparkly t. Anthropologie $98. (Too pricey? Macy’s is has a DKNY sequin t-shirt (small sequins) in lots of colors on sale today for $25.73.)

I also love this INC silver sweater with rhinestone buttons and it’s new, modified balloon sleeves. It’s on sale today at Macy’s for $36.48.

I hope you found something you like! What are you wearing for the holidays?

What are you wearing New Year’s Eve?

Fortunately, if you don’t know what you’re wearing for New Year’s Eve, you have a whole weekend to scour your closet, borrow stuff or go shopping! New Year’s Eve is Tuesday and there’s bound to be some great stuff on sale. But check your closet first. Those bills aren’t going to pay themselves 🙂

Let’s break it down by occasion, depending on your plans.

Cozy Night at Home or Small Gathering with Friends or Family.

The look: casual, comfortable and festive. Yay! Minimum planning and spending involved! But since it’s the last day of the year, and you want to ring in the new year on a great note, I would dress up your casual look just a little with a little sparkle. Maybe wear a glittery sweater with skinny jeans or black leggings, like this gray/metallic one from Torrid, put some Scunci rhinestone barrettes or a velvet scrunchie in your hair, and wear a little eyeshadow or lip shimmer.

Outdoor Evening New Year’s Eve Festival

The look: casual, warm and festive. So if you’re going to one of the great outdoor New Year’s festivals, the good news is the temperature is not forecast to drop below 30 and it’s not forecast to rain! There also will be a light, southerly wind. So it will not feel bitterly cold outside, but it will definitely be coat weather. You’ll probably be most comfortable in pants, jeans or leggings, a sweater, comfortable shoes or boots, and a warm coat. Here is a cute look from JCPenney. Is your coat kind of blah for evening? What about a packable down coat with some shine to it? Wear a nice sweater or top underneath to look good for indoor events or a meal out. You could add a glittery knit hat and some shimmery lip gloss and stay warm and look festive. Add a light-up necklace from the party store, leave the backpack at home but carry a small bag or wristlet for essentials.

Play/Concert/Fancy Dinner Date (with possible dancing)

The look: sophisticated, elegant and romantic. Since you will be probably be driving or taking Lyft, you could get away with heels and a dress or another after-five look that makes you feel great. In other words, of course you will need a coat, but warmth isn’t a real factor because you will be indoors the whole time. I would steer away from solid black, red, white and green, if you are dining out or going to the theater, as well as sequins. I also would counsel against a very short look because you will be sitting down a lot and you want to look classy. I like this Anthropologie burn out velvet dress that comes in Womens and Women’s Plus sizes for a New Year’s Eve at the Kennedy Center or a nice restaurant. If you spill some sauce on this, it won’t show the way it would on a solid color dress. It has shine and movement, which is nice for dancing.

I have a makeup tip that I’ve mentioned before. Rimmel makes a terrific eyeliner in metallic gold or silver. It can be very subtle if you apply it that way. You don’t have to put it all around your eye to really enhance your eyes.

Big New Year’s Eve Party or Gala (definitely with dancing)

The look: fun, stylish, flirty. Maybe you are going out with a group of friends to a big party, like the ones at the hotels in the area or the Reagan building. It helps to know the theme of the event when planning your outfit. Factor in that you’ll likely be wearing a party hat or tiara at some point in the evening.  I would say, wear anything but solid black. It just fades into the background, it doesn’t look that amazing in photos and it makes you hard to find in a crowd. Maybe choose a metallic, like rose gold, silver, gold or a gray or blush tone. If your shoulders and arms will be bare, dust them with some metallic highlighting powder for a subtle sheen. I really like this Julia Jordan dress from Macy’s. It’s midi length, which is really in right now. It will look beautiful whether you’re sitting, standing or dancing. And it’s classy. It looks like it would be easy to wear.

The important thing is the bag. You will need to keep your bag with you, but you also will want to dance. You don’t want to ask someone to watch your purse all night and you won’t be able to relax if you just leave it on a table. Maybe you’ve come up with a good solution to this dilemma. I found a cute solution for 3 DOLLARS at Target. It’s a small, rosy pink metallic cross body. Big enough to hold your IDs, some cash and your phone. If you can’t find it, try Forever 21 and WalMart for festive but affordable, small crossbody bags and wristlets.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, and whatever you wear, have fun this New Year’s Eve!

Black Friday Deal Dresses to Wear for Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Do you need an amazing dress for Christmas or New Year’s Eve? Well, the time to shop is now. Many dresses I saw were half of today online and in stores. I bought a green velvet dress last night from for $10!

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Holiday Party Dress Ideas

I cruised the web looking for the most adorable holiday dresses I could find.  Here are some of my Cool Yule picks for this year, from Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Dots, Wet Seal, and JCPenney. It’s like an online fashion show! Which one is your favorite?

blue lace wet seal 35

I’m showing the rear view of this fantastic $35 blue lace plus-size dress from Wet Seal because I think it makes the dress really special. The front is a modest scoop neck, and with the sleeves, this is an holiday office party appropriate choice, but it still stands out in that fabulous royal blue color. Classy but still vroom vroom!

This flirty red plus-size dress from Nordstrom was almost sold out online the last time I checked, but you may be able to find it in stores. A great antidote to the little LBD in a feel-good color and easy-to-wear cut make it a winner at just $88.

This flirty red plus-size dress from Nordstrom was almost sold out online the last time I checked, but you may be able to find it in stores. A great antidote to the little LBD in a feel-good color and easy-to-wear cut make it a winner at just $88.

This luxurious looking gold lace dress from JCPenney was actually quite a bit more pretty in the store than it shows in this photo, IMHO. It's one of the few longer dresses this season, too, for those who prefer that look.

This luxurious looking gold lace dress from JCPenney was actually quite a bit more pretty in the store than it shows in this photo, IMHO. It’s one of the few longer dresses this season, too, for those who prefer that look. This would be a lovely dress for that photo-op by the Christmas tree.

Nordstrom has some of the hottest dresses in plus sizes. This well reviewed sequin dress is $168. I love the not quite black color - universally flattering.

Nordstrom has some of the hottest dresses in plus sizes. This well reviewed sequin dress is $168. I love the not quite black color – universally flattering.

Okay, no Christmas tree will compete with you in this red sequin number. Check out the back on this dress! You'll turn heads, that's for sure. It's $188 from Nordstrom.

Okay, no Christmas tree will compete with you in this red sequin number. Check out the back on this dress! You’ll turn heads, that’s for sure. It’s $188 from Nordstrom.

The metallic touches in this simple dress make it a classy choice from Anthropologie, $168

The metallic touches in this simple but elegant dress make it a classy choice from Anthropologie, $168. This is the dress you want for the after-five holiday party or networking event, don’t you agree?

This is the dress you want to wear to the Kennedy Center to see the Nutcracker ballet, am I right? The copper lace is gorgeous. It's $228 from Anthropologie

This is the dress you want to wear to the Kennedy Center to see the Nutcracker ballet, am I right? The copper lace is gorgeous. It’s $228 from Anthropologie

dots dress 16

This adorable black chiffon cocktail dress from Dots is only $16! Love the sequin detailing at the shoulders.

dots dress 22

This show-stopper from Dots will only set you back $22. If you’ve got the body for this dress, flaunt it! I can see this on New Year’s Eve on the dance floor.

jcpenney emerald dresss 31 99 _80

Tired of LBDs? This well-reviewed dress in emerald from JCPenney is marked down to $32 from $80 this weekend. I bought the black version and I love it! It’s a flattering fit if you’ve got curves.

Tulle is a hot trend this winter. This is a classy number and it's only $30 at Wet Seal. Pair it with a soft cardigan if you feel chilly.

Tulle is a hot trend this winter. This is a classy number and it’s only $30 at Wet Seal. Pair it with a soft cardigan if you feel chilly, or check out their website for an edgier look with black tights and a blazer.

A Gold Mine of Holiday Dresses in Gold, from $17 to $258

This knockout dress from Anthropologie will set you back $258 but you’re sure to be wearing one of the most memorable dresses in the room!

For the holiday and New Year’s Eve, it seems a shame to me to play it safe and go with a little black dress, when you could really shine at your holiday party or big night out.

Metallic fabrics and sequins are the big fashion look of the holiday season this year, but why stay with safe black?  Gold is flattering to many skin tones and it looks great next to a Christmas tree in holiday photographs!

Here are a bevy of glittering gold dresses for every budget.  Click on the dress photo to order.

Prefer long sleeves in winter? Here’s a gold sequin dress from Coldwater Creek for $200

This gold and polyester lurex dress has a pretty cut and is a steal from Wal-Mart for $17.88 plus .98 shipping!

A gold sequin Michael Kors wrap dress is $150 at Macy’s.

This gold sequin number from Dress Barn retails for $62.

When it has to be a RED dress: my holiday red dress picks

Nothing beats the attention-getting power of a red dress, and there’s no better time than the holidays to wear one.  Hear are five red dresses to consider for your holiday parties and nights out this year…these are selling out fast online, so don’t wait until December!

If you have a fair complexion, a deep red might be more flattering than a bright red.  This dress is festive but low-key enough for business and office events.  Snap it up from Dillards in limited sizes left for $36.


What a beautiful red satin dress from Dress Barn.  Love the twist detail!  This one is $70.

Here’s a frankly romantic dress with print roses and ruffles that you would want to pull out again for Valentine’s Day night out.  This one is from White House | Black Market and retails for $140.

Another great dress from Dress Barn, with just a hint of sequins at the hip…at $42, you can’t beat the price!


If you can wear junior sizing, then you might like this $40 JCPenney dress.


Bargain Fashion Finds for Holiday 2010

Only $24!! Dots Red Sequin Dress (S, M, L, XL) stores only

What to wear…what to wear?

Like you, I want to look festive (and feel comfortable) during the holidays, and probably like you 🙂 I’m on a budget. A TIGHT budget! Many times, it makes sense to invest in quality pieces.  But for the holidays,  you may only wear these items once or a few times.  So, I think it’s worthwhile saving some money.

I fell in love with lots of the festive “Glisten Up” items at Talbots and other chic items I saw at stores this year, but all were too expensive for me.  I did find some great alternatives, however…

  • For that chic holiday party after 5: Instead of Talbots black velveteen ankle pants ($79.50), buy Walmart’s flat front, fitted black velveteen leggings: $12. These fit like ankle pants, not skin tight.  You save: $67.50.  Pretty good, considering how often you will actually wear them!
  • I also saw a fabulous sequin scarf in the accessories section at Wal-Mart in silver, black, or rose, and it was about $10.  Sorry, Talbots, it looks and wears almost like your $69 sequin scarf Save $59 smackers right there… I almost bought it.  Wish I had!
  • Need to dress up your suit for the office Christmas party?  Instead of Talbots sequined tank top ($69.50), choose Target’s Xhiliaration sequin tank top in colors like blush, black, or gold, in stores, $12-$17.  You save:  up to $57.50. I think I’d top this with one of the many soft cardigans they had in matching colors for under $20.  With a longer fine-gauge cardigan, that top would also be a great look with jeans and heels.
  • There was a fantastic lace pencil skirt offered by Talbots for $159.  Loved it.  Black lace over copper silk.  So gorgeous.  But it’s a dream.  Now the lace Covington skirt at Sears? That’s a reality.  Black lace over white satin.  On sale for $20.  You save $139.
  • White coat (Wal-Mart $20), mittens ($3) and hat ($3)

    You need a warm coat for going to see the National Christmas Tree downtown. Wouldn’t winter white be so chic instead of predictable black?  Yes, it would!  Instead of Lands End lightweight down jacket in white ($59), choose Walmart’s white, quilted junior parka, $18 (in plus sizes for $20).  You save: $41. This is a great looking coat that is actually nice and warm for most DC days.  I added a cute seasonal hat for just $3!

  • For me, New Year’s Eve is all about shine, and it’s the one night you can pull off a sequined dress.  It’s hard to beat the glam of Talbot’s tank-style sequin dress, but let’s face it — that’s a one-time only dress.  You will look fabulous for one night for $299, and then you can’t really wear it again.  I loved it, I really did, but opted for sleeves, and an A-Line cut and got a red version that kind of looks like sequins online from Dress Barn.  Hey, it fits!  It’s down to $25, now, online, if you happen to wear a size 14W.   I’m wearing mine to the One Party with a black jet necklace.  Dress Barn’s also got a great sleeveless black sequin dress with a really fabulous cut (I tried it on) for $49, online and in stores.  And, if you’ve got the figure for it, all eyes will be on you in this red sleeveless sequin, v-necked tank dress from Dots for just $24! (sizes S, M, and L).  There’s a Dot’s store in Alexandria, VA.  Buy one of these glittery numbers and save between $225 and $274!  
  • Accessories can add up, unless you know where to look.  The dollar section at Target is a great place to buy little seasonal accessories.  I bought a black jet necklace there for $1 last year that I’m wearing to a party.  This year, I bought a pair of sequined headbands — you get 2 for a dollar — one in dark red and one in black.  Or go for green tinsels and red “lights” for a dollar.  Again, since these aren’t everyday pieces, quality is not really an issue, but price is!

The fashions at Talbots and other stores are incredibly lovely, but if you haven’t got the moolah, use those looks for inspiration and find bargains elsewhere (like Target, Sears, and Wal-Mart).  I don’t think hardly anyone will notice the difference…it seems like most holiday party settings are pretty dark, anyway.

What are you wearing for the holidays?  What trends have you seen?  Have you found any bargains?  Feel free to share them in the comments.

5 Cool Yule Tips for Saving Money on Beauty this Holiday

Dress from Dress Barn; necklace from Claire’s.

The recession changed the way I spend money.  I thought I would share some money-saving beauty tips with you.

  1. Do your own nails. You know, the look is for shorter nails, which is great because they are low-maintenance and easy to shape and lacquer yourself.  Thanks to the recession, I have saved a small fortune since I gave up salon manicures and pedicures.  Polish your nails with a trendy shade from Sephora for less than $5 a bottle (look for the small bottles), like a sophisticated silvery grey, or try a sexy Christmas red glistened with gold lustre; like my favorite Revlon shade, “Frankly Scarlet” (just under $5 bottle).
  2. Shop smart for holiday dresses. If you absolutely must have something new this season for your holiday parties, and you usually shop at Ann Taylor or Macy’s for dresses, consider budget-friendly shopping alternatives.  I purchased one of the prettiest cocktail dresses I own, a teal satin number, from Wal-Mart! I also found a great sleeveless top. The dress was — brand new, not on sale — $18, I kid you not.  The top was $15. So, if you’re on a recession budget, keep an open mind about discount stores. Dress Barn has some of the prettiest dresses I have seen anywhere this season. That’s just my personal taste, perhaps, but they really are nice, and they also have plus size versions. The dresses at Dress Barn top off, when they’re not on sale, at about $79, which is about half what you’d pay at a higher-end department store. But there are also plenty of great dresses at Dress Barn for $39 and $49. There is no reason to buy more when you might only wear the dress a few times or maybe even once.
  3. Shop smart for jewelry, accessories and evening bags. Costume jewelry can get pretty pricey.  Because I don’t have pierced ears, I have long been a fan of Claire’s for their clip earrings.  It’s really not just for kids!  I have received many compliments on the jewelry I have purchased there.  I once saw the identical scarf sold elsewhere for more than $20 in department stores for less than $15 at Claire’s.  And everyone was wearing that style scarf this fall. Target should be your destination for unique and gorgeous evening handbags for fantastic prices.  The look this year is not too matchy-matchy; go for a contrasting bright color, or skip matching your bag and shoes.
  4. Festive shoes for less. The most comfortable pair of black satin evening heels I wear that everybody goes crazy for was bought at Payless on sale for less than $20.  I also have a pair of silver flats I bought there that really kick up jeans that I snagged for less than $15.
  5. Scent and sparkle. Bath and Body Works often has a terrific deals on lightly scented, sparkly moisturizers; $5 a tube.  My favorite is Warm Vanilla Sugar.  I think a little lustre on your shouders, cheeks, and decolletage is really delightful during the holidays. I also like the their scented body sprays (3 for $10), which I find less cloying than expensive perfumes.