A frequent concern for many of us this time of year is how to take our normal, everyday clothes, and make them “party-worthy”. I don’t like to buy a whole new outfit for a party – I’d much rather figure out a way to elevate the things I already own through the purchase of one strategic item.There are a couple of different ways to do this; today I’m going to explore the possibilities inherent in a cardigan with some sort of beaded, embroidered or metallic detailing. If you don’t want to buy a new sweater, this is a great opportunity to do something crafty – I’ve seen some amazing sweaters dressed up with ribbon embroidery, or hand beading, done by the sweater owner. In one case, the initial embroidery was done to conceal a tiny hole, and eventually transformed the sweater into a one-of-a-kind gem.
- The Embellished Cardigans:
- The Caramel and Black Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
- The Caramel and Black Starting From Scratch Wardrobe Accessories
From this wardrobe, I chose a few of the simplest garments and slid the cardigan over them. There wasn’t a simple gold bracelet in this wardrobe, but the addition of that, or a gold necklace, would be idea.
- The Black and Grey Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
- The Black and Grey Starting From Scratch Wardrobe Accessories
This might be the easiest wardrobe to dress up, given the general dressiness associated with black. Red earrings, or a bracelet, might go well here too..
- The Brown and Beige Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
- The Brown and Beige Starting From Scratch Wardrobe Accessories
These are colors that aren’t usually associated with the winter holidays, but they’re YOUR colors, so you wear them because they’re right for you – who wants to blend it? A few sequins are all it takes to make this wardrobe perfectly suitable for all sorts of festive activities. Stuck in the kitchen until the last minute? Hang your cardigan in a corner somewhere, and when you whip off your apron, you slip on your cardigan, and it’s instant party time!
- The Khaki and Olive Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
- The Khaki and Olive Starting From Scratch Wardrobe Accessories
At first glance, this wardrobe doesn’t look very “holiday” either, but these colors shine when paired with deep red. The cardigan can go from quite dressy, over your best beige dress, or can be relaxed enough to go to a pub for an after-work party, with trousers and a blouse.
- The Navy and Beige Starting from Scratch Wardrobe
- The Navy and Beige Starting From Scratch Wardrobe Accessories
If you’re mostly a sporty sort of person, don’t forget the power of a little bit of metallic thrown into an otherwise quite casual pattern! And don’t forget that a dress you already own is almost certainly more than appropriate for a winter holiday party – even though the weather is cold, the parties are usually over-heated. Your mid-weight dress from warmer weather can get another airing in these environments and be both appropriate and comfortable.
- The Grey and Navy Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
- The Grey and Navy Starting From Scratch Wardrobe Accessories
A little more metallic – which jazzes up monochromatic grey very well! A tweed skirt becomes much more festive when paired with something that shimmers in the light… Again, your best dress, with beautiful jewelry, might be all that’s required. As much as we are pressured to buy new things – better things – DIFFERENT things – for this time of year, don’t forget to take a step back and consider the possibility that you have everything you need already, and that you just have to be confident enough to wear something that someone might recognize. After all, that says more about them than it say about you.
I have a few other ideas of how we can dress up these wardrobes for the holidays – do you want to see these suggestions? Let me know!
This is a great post Janice! Love how you've dressed up these different wardrobes. I'd love to see your other suggestions for dressing up the holidays too. Also, I want to let you know there are no links to any of the cardigans. At least not on my computer. I'm loving that first gray cardigan for my particular wardrobe.
Janice Riggs says
Oooh, thanks for letting me know – those just weren't broken – they'd reverted back to my original text notes! I love computers…
This is wonderful! Who doesn't love a sparkly cardigan? Also love that deep, rich color.
cheryl :) says
Fantastic. I love bling and how one item can dress up and enhance what you already own.
You do such beautiful work, Janice. The black and grey with red and blue accents is totally me!
That is my favorite too! The fancy cardigan is a great idea! Thanks Janice!
Janice, even though it says that I am following your posts on Bloglovin, they're not coming in anymore. Has something changed ? I don't want to miss any of your posts –you are my wardrobe guru ! Hugs !
I have been following your blog daily for at least two years and thought it time to tell you how much I enjoy it. I admire you for keeping it fresh and informative over time. I would love to learn your other ideas for dressing up our wardrobes.Perhaps your ideas will entail shoes? When I was in Paris last month the sales person in Agnès B stressed that comfortable, beautiful shoes are an investment that
changes the whole feeling of an outfit. I was buying a dress and not shoes there. I find Agnès B clothing simple and low key enough that this is true. She is a designer I learned about on your blog!
hostess of the humble bungalow says
I love these embellished cardigans. I own two vintage versions and am looking for another in a classic black.
I am wondering if you have ever visited the famous Ikrams in Chicago? I'll bet she has wonderful and outrageously expensive things to dress up a wardrobe. I am a firm believer in the impact of a great chandelier earning or necklace.
Deb from Vancouver
I meant earring!
more ideas for dressing up an everyday wardrobe would be really welcome… I tend to either have very workaday clothing, with a few "party" clothes, and until I read your post today hadn't thought of using a decorative cardigan, which is somewhere in between those two extremes… Am now considering making an Alabama Chanin style cardigan in the more decorated/beaded style for just such an effect. Thank you so much for what you do here – though my personal style is quite different than the clothing you show here, I learn a LOT from how you combine colors, shapes, and the general principals of wardrobing. Your writing and blog posts are the best and most accessible explanations I have found anywhere
Hi! I've discovered your blog this past summer and loved it so much I devoted time to reading all your posts from day one (I love your new menus btw, makes searching your blog so much easier!). By doing that I got a good understanding of what a nice yet minimalist wardrobe might look like (something my dear auntie had desperately tried to teach me since I was a teenager… Never too late to learn!).
You see I always loved bright colors and crazy patterns and hated looking dull and dark. So over the years I bought a lot of pretty items that either weren't very practical or didn't match each other well. I didn't know how to work that out so I usually ended up wearing jeans and sneakers with my favorite t-shirt and whatever sweater I could find. It wasn't great, but doing better seemed too complicated. Add to that the fact that I had to move a lot in the past five years so I've been going into some pretty intense decluttering.
And now thanks to you I realize that dark colors and plain solid clothes are perfectly acceptable, in fact, they're exactly what I need to be able to wear more daring clothes in a pretty way. I'm also starting to learn the power of accessories.
I keep reading your blog daily, I think you do a great job sharing something you love and know well with us, thanks!
I particularly love this article about dressing up your ordinary clothes with one statement garment, nice! I'm curious to see what you come up with next. Fancy thighs maybe??
Sorry this comment is so long, I've put off writing to you for quite a while! I have one request for you : I wonder if you could do an article about incorporating hats, gloves and scarf into our basic wardrobe? I'm in need of those but I still haven't bought anything cause I don't have a plan yet. (Shop with a plan, shop with a plan!)
PS: Sorry if my English is a bit off. I'm actually a Frenchwoman with no innate sense of fashion :-p
What great timing! I just remembered that we will be attending my husband's office Christmas party, but since I am a Project 333 convert, I am determined to use what's in my current capsule instead of buying something.
I will be adding my pearl necklace and leopard ballet flats to a long-sleeve black V-neck sweater and beige mini-wale corduroy pencil skirt, all of which are in my current capsule. I had decided on this before your post, but was feeling a little nervous about it, since I will more than likely be underdressed, but your post has confirmed my decision. This is who I am, and that says more than going out and buying a one-time outfit. :-)
Janice,the links for the brown and beige accessories show incorrectly (as garments). I'm keen to know where to find the scarf,top left.
Janice Riggs says
I think the links are repaired, but those items are from a few months ago, and might very well no longer be available. But I think the link for the scarf still works. If not, go to Boticca.com, and look for a designer called Radical Chic – the scarf is called Leonardo!