Until now, I only rarely wore anything metallic, and never a dress like this. But because I am so comfortable in knit and sweater dresses, this wasn’t a real “reach” for me… And it is a really cool dress!
We’re going out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner, so I can wear this with opaque tights and low-heel dress shoes, and be both comfortable and dressy. Perfect solution!
That got me thinking about you, of course. Maybe, the answer to finding the perfect holiday outfit is as simple as looking in your closet. What’s your favorite style, or signature garment? Is a version of that piece available in a “festive” fabric? It’s just that easy – holiday-ready, but still in silhouettes or pieces that you know you love. No “costume” feeling, and no discomfort…
Let’s start with my favorites, knit dresses. If you already have something like the grey dress hanging in your closet, there are LOTS of other options available in knit dresses, kicked up a few notches for evening wear.
When you’re looking for this kind of garment, look for these keywords: sequined, beaded, embellished, ornamented, jacquard, velvet, metallic or brocade.
If you always wear button-front shirts, finding a shirt in a gorgeous dressy fabric is a very straightforward way to dress up; you can even wear your dressy shirt with the pants and skirts you already own! Add a pair of earrings, or a fancy shoe, and you’re finished.
Jeans? Black velvet jeans are everywhere! But don’t miss the chance to look at the jacquards, brocades, and satins that are available, too.
If there’s one dressy garment that I think almost everyone should own, it’s a cardigan. It can instantly change the dressy level of a simple tee shirt and pants, or anything else you wear with it.
And if you’re a blazer person, that is a wonderful option. I’m particularly taken with the J. Crew sequined tweed…
Tee shirts? Heck yes!
If you live in pants that aren’t jeans, you have lots of choices for dressing up your daily look. And I have to point out how very easy it would be to make a pair of pants like this – there are lots of people giving sewing lessons these days; they would love to help you.
The idea of a dressy sweatshirt really appeals to the iconoclast in me – it’s the perfect thing to wear when you have NO IDEA how dressy an event will be. If everybody’s casual, you’re wearing a sweatshirt. If everybody is really decked out – you’re wearing sequins, beads, or some other dressy element. Plus the comfort level… sigh…
for what it’s worth, a sweatshirt with a logo in sequins doesn’t really feel festive to me – I feel more like I’m a billboard, rather than a woman dressing for fun!
If, like me, you live in black sweaters, a sweater with a touch of embellishment is easy to find, and changes everything.
And if you are most comfortable in tunics, you have tons of choices. Never forget that our friend Eileen Fisher makes DOZENS of tunics in luscious fabrics…
If you’re really at a loss for finding something amazing for the upcoming seasonal parties, don’t forget to browse some of the deep discount sites like yoox, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Saks Off 5th, or the Outnet.
You might find something of which you could only have dreamed, marked down to a price you can stand! Plus, they’re a great source of ideas, and occasionally a good laugh…
Have you got holiday clothing sorted out? With my new dress, and my old sequined black sweater, I’m pretty certain that I’m covered (literally and figuratively) for anything my holiday season throws at me!
From Margie in Toronto – great ideas Janice! There is nothing more wrong than feeling uncomfortable in a new outfit – you never really enjoy yourself if you are fussing about a fabric or fit or a look that just isn't you!
mcm - Mary says
Deciding what to wear is always my downfall. Even going out for a casual lunch with my girlfriends requires 30 minutes of indecision while standing in my closet staring mindlessly at my clothes. So you can imagine what happens when I have a dressy event!
The concept of wearing my favorite styles in a more festive fabric is brilliant. No longer will I feel like a little girl (although of a certain age) playing dress-up in an uncomfortable outfit. My go-to fabric for an evening out is velvet and I regularly wear a velvet shell with an unstructured velvet cardigan – definitely comfortable.
However that only works in winter so I'll have to look for a few pieces that will transcend the seasons – that short gold cardigan might work.
Thanks for providing another way to look at creating an outfit.
One trick that works for me is to keep a little notebook in my closet where I jot down my pairings – tops, pants, dress, jacket, shoes, bag, jewelry etc. If I were more industrious I could take a photo.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Janice – and all who tune into this blog.
Mary – mcm
Madame Là-bas says
Excellent suggestions! You sent me straight to my closet for my brocade pants and black cardigan. I'm planning to visit Ireland and Britain next year and will certainly visit The House of Fraser.
So many festive ideas here! Thanks so much.
Hit it out of the ball park!! This is brilliant, especially for people who like casual, sporty type clothes and look and feel very awkward in anything more tailored or fitted.
Deb from Vancouver
Susan Bybee says
I bought a black sweater with embellishments. I'm covered! Bring on the holidays!
Thank you! This post made it all click together for me. I've slowly come to the realization that I'm a uniform dresser. Beautiful examples.
What a brilliant idea! One of my favorite festive garments ever was a pair of cream satin palazzo pants I actually made myself back in college. They looked very festive, but they felt like wearing PJs!
Thank you for these brilliant ideas. I just got a pair of velveteen jeans in a greenish teal. I live in tee shirts, so I'll look for something colorful and festive to go with the new pants. And I can dress them up in pumps. Oh thanks so much! Janice Collins , Washington DC
A great post, and very helpful to many. I usually pick a "fancy" skirt, made by me, with a cashmere pullover or a silk shirt. For the Millennium Eve back in 1999 I made a long gray taffeta skirt with pockets and wore it with a black pullover to host a dinner party.
You lost your fashion challenged photographer friend with the patterned pants. Another topic for us to discuss at lunch. Great looking dress!
Terrific post, Janice! Thanks for the ideas.
Other good sources for holiday wear: off-price retailers like Marshall's, and consignment shops. I don't pay full price for items with such limited wear.
The Biba dress you chose is simply divine. In fact…I just might faint over it.
Laura Kaye says
This is brilliant!! Thank you!
Great post!! Such a simple philosophy..stick with what you love! Thanks for the great advice Janice! That dress you chose is very chic!
This is genius!
Satin shirts or tops and embellished cardigans in lighter colours can be worn all year round. In summer they lift an outfit and in winter they stand out when everyone else is trying to look bold and dramatic.