The holidays are here, and so are the party invitations. Work parties, family parties, New Year’s Eve parties. Joy. Don’t get me wrong, this is one of the best seasons for family, friends and most of all, fashion, but who has time to find a new outfit for every soirée? And really, who wants to?
Luckily, your closet already holds the key to creating multiple looks without having to buy dress, after dress. This season’s trends make it easy to transform a single dress into endless (and effortless) looks for all of your holiday social events. If you have a LBD (little black dress), you’re already on your way to becoming a master of disguise.
THE WORK PARTY: The goal here is stepping up your everyday look while staying you. There’s no worse feeling than a “Wow, I didn’t even recognize her!” moment; as if you show up to work every day in a Hefty bag. Thanks, Janice.
The work party is an opportunity to turn up the glam a little on your personal style. Starting with our LBD neutral canvas, a simple way to begin the transformation is adding a black, opaque tight, or sheer black tights (I know, the 80s, but trust me, they’re back and will look great). This will immediately take the entire look up a level in sophistication; a velvety black tight adds the perfect amount of richness.
Next up, accessories. The jewelry that is out right now is fantastic. Elegant pieces such as long gold tassel necklaces or a colorful collar piece are incredible options. If you’re on the traditional side, try a long strand of opera pearls or layer a few short strands together; classic, yet updated. Be bold in your choice but also make it feel like you. If you choose to wear earrings or bracelets, make sure they don’t take away from our necklace moment; keep them simple.
Simple is the key for shoes too; black heels or a pointed ankle boot will finish off this look perfectly. Grab a metallic small bag or clutch, and you’re ready to own the office.
THE FRIENDS & FAMILY PARTY: This is the party you can let your hair down at, and in that spirit, we’re keeping it comfy. Friends and family are the ones who won’t judge when we show up in our standard holiday uniform of black-pants-and-tunic, but we can do better than that this year.
The best part about cold-weather fashion is the layering: chunky knit cardigans, capes, coats, and my favorite, vests. Vests are the perfect way to add style to a look without making it feel heavy or cluttered. With so many styles to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong here. Anything knit with a waterfall front or print would look fab with the LBD. To dress it up, try a knee-length gray duster, a waist-long suede vest, or a fun textured faux-fur. If you want to add shape, try a belted wrap vest. Tie the vest at the waist for an exaggerated cinched look. What I love about vests is their versatility. You can throw them on over a blouse and dark jeans for dinner, over a long sleeved shirt and yoga pants to run errands, and even use them as a blazer substitute for work; just a great piece for any wardrobe.
Because our LBD now has a layering piece, keep necklaces simple and long. The vest creates a nice moment for long pendants, earrings or bracelets; a set of mixed bangles would be fun or a statement cocktail ring. If you have a favorite pair of tall boots, try them with this look. Tights are optional, do whatever makes you most comfortable. When we feel good, we look good, and feeling good with friends and family is what the holidays are all about.
THE NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY: Bring. It. On. Most people run out of steam (and party outfits) by this point in the season and end up buying some sequined top they’ll never wear again. Not you, by now you’re a style pro. The NYE party is our last hoorah of the winter social circuit; time to put that LBD to work for one final affair.
Anything goes when it comes to accessorizing for this party, feel free to bling; consider this our Elizabeth Taylor moment and pull out the big stuff. Whether it’s a pair of glittering chandelier earrings, layers of long sparkling necklaces, or stacked brilliant bangles- it all works. Our LBD creates the perfect backdrop for show-stopping statement pieces. Nothing will look like too much and now is the perfect time to add some trend colors like golden olive greens, plummy ports, or warm auburn rust shades.
Add a waist-length tuxedo jacket to mix it up. The tuxedo jacket is the fancier sister of the blazer; always guaranteed to add style and texture with her satin shawl collar and a single button. After the clock strikes midnight and we return to real life, you can pair the tux jacket with a polka dot button-down shirt and jeans or wear with a striped T-shirt and black cropped pants.
When it comes to legs, try a fun patterned tight like small dots or black tartan plaid. Add an unexpected twist to the look, play up your shoes with a berry-colored, velvet block heel, or a pair of colorful brocade ankle boots. These statement shoes always look great with jeans and casual outfits. Finish off your final look of 2017 with a sequined or metallic bag. Wear that lip color you’ve always felt was too bold; ring in the new year feeling great and with style!
Creating new looks doesn’t always mean buying 30 new pieces. It’s important to have a good wardrobe of staples and basics; these are the foundation for any style. Add in seasonal trends by layering pieces and accessories, which is what we’ve done with the LBD.
Throughout all of these style tips for the holidays, remember to keep your look feeling like you, but don’t be afraid to try something different. Break away from the safe choices this season and explore fashion on your terms. The dress has been chosen, and the accessories have been laid out, time to exhale and cocktail!
Angie Harrison received a BS degree in fashion merchandising from Western Michigan University, and after merchandising for a large retailer, went on to start Angela Harrison Style; a personal, print, and film wardrobe styling service. Her experience has led her to build a loyal client list of people from all backgrounds and professions. Angie has also worked in wardrobe on local and national tv commercials and has started a visual merchandising branch of AHStyle, providing styling and merchandising expertise to Michigan