November 22, 2021
It’s getting to be that time of year when you might want to look festive, but not get really DRESSED UP… For those of us who will be celebrating the holidays with only 3 or 4 people in our household, something colorful but not “over the top” might be just the ticket!
I’m a big fan of thermal fabric tee shirts and tops – the texture is casual, but the depth of color in the weave makes them just a bit more interesting than a plain tee shirt…
If it’s already quite cool where you are, it’s worth considering a turtleneck! (I really wanted to make certain that all of the fans of navy were aware of this top – it’s so OBVIOUS to make a dotted turtleneck, isn’t it?)
You don’t have to wear red and green to be festive; stick with your favorite colors!
And don’t forget that red and/or green can be used as accents for almost any color in your wardrobe:
Someone recently asked me about a Weekly Timeless Wardrobe for autumn that could be mostly neutral, with just a couple of tops for accent. For the upcoming holidays, this wee wardrobe could get you a long way; that sequined skirt, with a black sweater, could cover a LOT of winter holiday ground… Accessories would be key here!
This would also be a great wardrobe for traveling around the holiday season; between the velvet pants, the black dress, and the sequins, you could dress up for anything. But you’re still well-covered for normal activities too…
Are you even THINKING about the holidays yet? We actually put up our absurdly gorgeous, blinding expensive tree over the weekend. The nights are so long right now, why not take advantage?
p.s. Six years ago, I went to a really lavish party sponsored by the French American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago – I fretted for days over what I was going to wear to a “business elegant” function!
I like your approach to festive clothing’s – pops of colour versus overtly signalling the season. It’s the sartorial equivalent to avoiding Santa, snowman and snowflake decorations in favour of switching out some solid-toned cushions, throws and candles.
We have a Christmas tree for the first time since we got married, and it came complete with lights. We aren’t putting anything else on the tree; lights on a beautiful tree are quite enough for me!
This approach is exactly how I create a holiday wardrobe. My accent colors are burgundy, rose, and purple but I keep a handful of red items that I pull out this time of year. A sweater, turtleneck, festive plaid shirt, and a few coordinating scarves (one with a holiday theme – I couldn’t help myself!) do the trick. I love having a small but festive capsule for the season.
I do the same thing! I have a red turtleneck, LLBean red plaid flannel shirt, red t shirt and a Christmas tee that I reserve for after Thanksgiving
This is such a real-life way to look smart. One of my favorite holiday tricks is to use basic pieces in more luxury fabrics, using a rotation of holiday accessories: wreath earrings, silk scarf in green/red, several brooches (holiday cat, rhinestone snowflake, holly leaf) to be festive. I even restrung my grandmother’s faceted, red glass beads adding crystal rondelles to get a bit of holiday sparkle.
This is absolutely the best and most useful fashion blog on the net.
Oh, and doing my usual checking to see which other colors are available for items I like, I found the LL Bean waffle henley comes in some beautiful, saturated colors. Naturally, it’s difficult to decide which to buy.
Talbots is full of beautiful winter pieces & accessories this time of year. (I visited the store last week and just loved so much of what I saw.)
And, the Boden ponte shirt dress also comes in that olive/sage that is lovely on some of my fellow TVF fans. You can take a dress like that from a sporty casual look to cocktails & concerts with the right accessories.
Beth T says
I like velvet and sparkles too everyday at this time of year. Purple, burgundy, soft pink, sapphire blue, sky blue, silver grey and ivory. Silver, pearls and sparkly gems. Velvet, satin, faux fur, shimmer thread and sequins.
Maybe it’s because I work in a middle school, but I like quirky at the holidays. Particularly the last week of school before break. Sweaters with a holiday theme, or maybe just festive – like the red one with Scottish terriers wearing plaid coats, or the red one with a pug on it that’s wearing a green bow tie. We don’t go anywhere I would have to dress up, but I do have velvet pants I can wear w/above sweaters, and a collection of five mini top hats I rotate through. If I had to dress up it would be the velvet pants with a turtleneck – black or red – and a jacket I have with a black/green/red/turquoise plaid. Add in my sparkling Christmas tree brooch. That’s my go to.
I prefer just a few things for the holidays. Very few overtly Christmas, like a single red T. As a minimalist I don’t like to keep too many things that are just for so short a time, although seeing other people wear holiday garb is very cheery. I do have some wine or burgundy that can be used all winter. As for decorating, my neighbors across the street put up their decoration two weeks ago. As it gets dark so early, I am really enjoying the cheeriness of it.
I have holiday capsule wardrobe. This year I added a black velvet wrap top that I can wear with jeans, plaid pants or anything dressier. Velvet I can wear all winter past Christmas like to the theater or out to a nice restaurant. I once saw an outfit on Pinterest that was festive but understated that I could wear to work everyday. I wear a lot of black and I would wear only two red or holiday items, either a red scarf and bag or shoes. I alternated red with plaid and would mix things up that way. I usually just went for a touch of red or plaid and mixed them up. The scarf and bag combo was my favorite. If I wore a red top or cardigan then that would be the only festive item. It was so much fun to dress this way. I have a red crossbody bag and a beautiful Burberry black plaid tote bag that I would use. I would also use a black faux fur crossbody to add texture. Of course I wear red accessories other times of the year with navy or jeans.
For decorating we have a large prelit tree out of a Victorian Christmas…no ‘theme’ here! It’s 45 years of inherited, purchased, gifted, found ornaments and takes three days to put up. The front entry is done up and a few collections sprinkled through out the house. Last year we dealt not only with Covid but with a heart breaking family situation and I had no motivation to decorate. Not seeing my grandsons when they lived but a mile away was gutting both of us. My husband stepped forward saying the French equivalent of ‘screw it’ and said let’s decorate for US. So we did…#2 son helped and we entertained one guest ( a very close friend who lives alone) we gleaned what enjoyment we could from that Christmas..thinking of my 95 year old father so far away, eating Christmas dinner alone in his retirement suite did not help make spirits bright either. We packed it all up in the New Year and prayed never to experience the like again.
This year…the fences have been (mostly) mended, the kids will be here along with a new baby, their great grandfather will travel the 400 miles to see them ( two for the first time) food will be cooked and eaten and joy will reign.( and probably a little enjoyable mayhem)
The point of this essay is NEVER underplay a holiday…you never know when you’ll get to celebrate again. Don’t poo poo those who pull out the stops, indulge in ‘ugly’ sweaters, seemingly garish holiday jewels or decor… life is a celebration and what you show up wearing is never as important as the fact you just showed up.
Thank you Janice! Hugs back to you too. I just read a proverb that ‘No optimism is authentic unless we have visited the depths of despair.’ If so, after the past 22 months our collective optimism will shine very bright this Holiday season.
Your blog was often the high point of my day when navigating those depths. I found optimism and more than a little escape (I am not the only reader to acknowledge this:) What you put out to the world is very much appreciated.
Wise words! Here’s wishing you a great holiday! Everyone else, too, for that matter!
Orr Linda says
Red is my favorite color- I am mystified as to why a simple red garment is considered off limits away from Christmas. Years ago I wore a Kelly green and white checked cotton skirt with a white blouse and someone asked me why I was dressed for Christmas!?
Be your own festive anytime any place!
It has been a very bad week here in Wisconsin… we need some joy!
Happy Thanksgiving to all and especially to Janice! She brings such joy all year!!!❤️
When I first saw your ‘three different approaches’ for dressing during the holidays mini series in November 2017, I was sold on assembling a four to five piece capsule with matching colour accessories (shoes, bags, scarves & jewellery) to take me through the holiday season. I bought two or three items in the January sales each year and have now completed my ‘holiday capsule’ in midnight blue and silver/light grey – thank you Janice for the inspiration.
I do love patterns and colourful things and am looking forward to being a bit dressier for Xmas.
I think I *finally* have this wardrobe malarkey sussed out. If I make the main items in my wardrobe neutral I can add the colour on top. I think I have traditionally done it the other way round and struggled to put together a versatile wardrobe. I just went for a short hotel stay and I took a light grey dress and a dark grey dress and could switch my two colourful cardigans between them. I wore them over jeans in the day and tights in the evening and that was all I needed! THANK YOU JANICE!