November 10, 2017
A question as old as time – WHAT WILL I WEAR FOR THE HOLIDAYS?
Okay, maybe not that old, but it’s still something that many of us wonder about!
It doesn’t have to be terribly complicated, if you can isolate a color that you’re happy to wear more than once, and you can assemble just 4 pieces of clothing…
My working thesis here is that you can start with just 1 skirt or pair of pants, which are in a fabric that immediately elevates the dressiness quotient of anything from a silk blouse to a sweatshirt. Add in a cardigan with some sort of festive flair, and then a couple of tops. (and yes, you might very well have some of these things already in your closet!)
The cardigan can be pulled on over a tee shirt and jeans to shift the entire look of what you’re wearing. Your 2 tops might be as simple as a tee shirt in the right color, or as fabulous as an ornate embroidered tunic.
As well as being useful to wear with your existing wardrobe, the 4 pieces on their own have some great potential:
You don’t have to have long hair to wear a hair ornament or headband…
Your colors don’t have to match to death – as long as they blend beautifully you’ll be fine…
If you’re manning the doors at an open house, 2 sweaters might not be excessive!
I love looking at holiday clothes – would you like to see these in more colors?
Yes please, give us more color options. Maja
Yes please, maybe some silver grey options and berry reds. Sharon, U.K.
Agreed, silver! It's my favourite holiday metallic. (The rest of the year, too!)
Yes please, more colors!
Some great advice received a few years back about choosing items that you are most comfortable in everyday (your uniform) and then finding those same items in luxurious fabrics has made holiday dressing a breeze. Velvet jeans with a silk top, elegant trousers with a metallic turtleneck, LBD with a sparkly cardigan, pencil skirt with a lace top. Same concept with footwear and evening bag. And for occasions that call for just a hint of festive, a column of smart casual neutral pieces with one standout statement accessory. I use to dread deciding what to wear to parties and events – now it's as simple as grab and go!
yes to this! Velvet jeans + a silk top = my holiday go-to outfit. I have velvet jeans in black and in hot pink (my favorites). – nancyo
Katie C says
Lena, this is life-changing advice! (Well, maybe not on a par with world peace, but still pretty valuable.) ;-) Between these tips from you and Janice (whom I will always think of as Vivienne, even though I know that's someone else), I am now excited to create holiday outfits. Wheee! :-D
Janice Riggs says
That advice might have been here!
I think I'm going to revisit this post again this year…
Yup – the advice DID come from The Vivienne Files! :) And that's the exact post – thank you for pointing it out. It was fun to go back and read the post again. And it would be fun to see your take on it for this holiday season!
I've seen several navy velvet tops around this year. Maybe something along those lines?
I'd love to see plum or a deep, rich purple
Yes, please. I'm all about the hunter green with silver accessories at the holiday times, but would enjoy inspiration from any colour you are struck by. Please consider a holiday capsule (or two or three!) that are more casual, too, as most of so many holiday gatherings are outdoors, involve cooking, or are family-style affairs rather than dressier occasions…but we still want to look polished and attractive. : )
Deb from Vancouver says
Love the gold ensemble!
Christine Moon says
I think you're clairvoyant, Janice!! How did you know that I struggle horribly with holiday appropriate wear? My holiday dressing sore spot is a smidgeon less dressy than this, but I can manage with a simple plan like this!! I would love to see some more colors – thank you!!! Chris from Indy.
Yes, please! I'd love to see some green, purple and silver/pewter items, for more casual holiday get-togethers.
Lynn Carroll says
I also like red for the holidays- and silver,too!
Kathy Donaldson says
How about silver with burgundy and grey?
yes, please more colors for those of us who cannot wear black
I add my same vote for this request ! I adore posh fabrics ! They make me feel glamorous, whether or not anyone else thinks so !
Thank you, Ma'am! :) Love that tunic!!!
Yes, how about dove (taupe-ish) grey with cranberry-colored accents?
Karen S. says
Yes! I'd love to see these in more colors :) … Love your blog (I enjoy the beautiful outfits/capsules that you put together and the lovely stories you give the characters with them)! Would you ever consider doing a more casual wardrobe based on the Start with Art Vernal Yellow piece? I loved that one!
Janice Riggs says
On the list!
Kay dancingbrushpainting.blogspot.com says
More colors? Yes, please!
And thank you for including the goldy brown in this first pass. ?
I have done the neutral pants (or skirt) and "nice top that can be worn other times" thing more years than I can count. And I'm feeling, Enough. I wanted a look that's not so obviously practical. Then I flipped some price tags and chickened out. So, I split the difference and bought a a vintage embroidered silk kimono (hip length) by Emanuelle Khanh. Consignment and vintage shops are great places to look for a special piece.
I have been collecting black velvet pieces from Eileen Fisher over the last two years and just bought the last Oscar dela Renta gold sweater in your post above to set it all off! Thank you!!!
And now have bought the green pleated skirt just for fun!
Gail Finke says
I used to buy numerous "holiday" pieces that I never wore — because my holiday events are almost all family events, so anything too fancy or thin did not get worn. Four pieces is really about right, even with one being a "Christmas sweater" (not necessarily a tacky one, but one that is so holiday-themed it's only good for a few wearings a year). Last year I wore mine with a t-shirt (invisible under it) or with a turtleneck, and with jeans, nicer pants, and a skirt. Got me through family events, holiday at work, and office Christmas party, and I had worn it the year before as well. I liked it and it fit well, but two years was enough so I bought another one for this year — a little more goofy this time, as I have a really nice black sweater with vaguely snowflake-like white embroidery for anything fancier. Those two sweaters and a vintage wool kilt were my only holiday pieces and I no longer have all kinds of things I store only to never wear anyway! Well, I still have one lovely shirt that I might wear… someday… or maybe it will finally go to Goodwill after I don' wear it yet again, ha ha~
Janice Riggs says
Sometimes it makes sense to hang onto something – it's all so very personal… If I hold onto something it vanishes into a storage bin, but another woman might have a different experience. It makes life interesting, eh?
I love to dress elegantly on a regular basis. Dressing for holiday parties is no exception. Yet, I don’t keep a great deal but I do keep much more than I think most of you here would. I’m working on doing more with less but I will never be a minimal wardrobe lady. I just can not see me enjoying being so minimal. Where is the fun? But, I do see the benefit in a wardrobe of the best quality lady like/soft classic wardrobe that is made up of my neutrals and accent colors.