An article I wrote for Dynamic Women of Faith. Please visit their website to read other inspiring articles written by amazing women who are on a mission to do good for God!
Holiday Party Outfits
Top Ten Tips for keeping it classy!
Tis the season for holiday parties — and the stress of what to wear to them. Sometimes those bells you hear aren’t the Salvation Army, but warning bells of panic that accompany that alarmed feeling of making a fashion faux pas.
The goal? Dress festive but not tacky. You don’t want to be so over-blingy that you look like a garish Christmas tree, and you don’t want to don the same outfit you’d wear to the grocery store. Fashion is fun, which matches the joy of the Christmas season!
Here are some basic tips:
- There’s no need to dress in anything outlandish or revealing. To keep it classy and dignified, avoid low cut tops, and make sure your kneecaps and upper arms are covered. To be comfortable all night, don’t wear anything tight, clingy, or sheer. No need to have the discomfort of tugging, pulling, and ‘wondering’ all night long.
- The “Little Black Dress” (LBD) is always de rigueur (as long as it isn’t too “L”). This simple, black dress can be dressed up or down for any occasion and ought to be a staple in every wardrobe. However, if you have a unembellished jewel tone dress that you can bedeck, that is also perfectly acceptable–and sometimes preferable.
- Have you noticed that many dresses are either strapless, short sleeved, or capped sleeved? (And let’s face it–cap sleeves only look good on arms that are skinny and need a cap sleeve to make their arms look fuller). Faux fur wraps are chic and affordable. Boleros are a nice option. Or, you can search your closet, fabric store, or thrift store for an inexpensive wrap in lace, organza, or some other elegant fabric. Wrapped and flung artfully over your shoulders, you’ll look like Audrey Hepburn or Maureen O’Hara.
- Holiday fashions are all about sparkly accessories! Find a clutch purse in gold, or a silver satin, or something glittery. Yes, I know they’re small, but seriously–for a few hours, what do you really need to carry in it? Plus it has the added advantage of giving your hands something to do in awkward moments at your husband’s office Christmas party.
- Next, statement earrings. This is where cheap, costume jewelry comes in. Look for earrings with tons of smaller stones set in gold or silver plated metal, as they look better than earrings with a few very large ‘gems’. It’s an added bonus if you can find a bracelet to match. Slim earrings longer than chin-length will flatter a round face. Square faces can handle tear-drop (but nothing geometric). Classic Tear-drops and round stones soften the chin of a heart-shaped face, and oval faces have their pick of just about anything.
- If you can’t find earrings and a bracelet you like, consider a statement necklace. But don’t do all three together!
- Splurge on some fun shoes, although a holiday party may be the only night of the year you wear them (unless you have a wedding coming up). You can also attach sparkly clip-on earrings to your shoes to decorate them–either on the toe or the back of the heel. Yes, the back of the heel! Trust me, it looks spectacular! But be warned: it may rub your Achilles all night. So plan ahead. If you’ll be seated most of the time, consider the heel application.
- Hair: the key here is to wear your hair differently than you normally do. Up or down. Curls or straight. It all works! A small glitzy hairpiece or a bit of sparkle hair spray can be fun, too. Just don’t overdo it or you’ll look like Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games.
- Makeup is where some people panic. The easiest thing to do is wear a strong lip color with a soft eye color application. If you’re going with a strong, smokey eye, then balance it with a gentle lip color. For blush, a bronzer is best. Ditch the bright cheek color, unless you want to look like the Nutcracker King.
- Don’t overdo the perfume. Fun fact: if someone has been wearing the same perfume daily for more than a few weeks, they can’t smell it anymore. That’s why they tend to over-apply it. (Have you ever been on the leading edge of a cloud of perfume of “smelled someone coming”?) If you wear any perfume at all, remember only one spritz is required–use it to dab your wrists and neck. Or, use the old trick of spraying it in the air and walking through it.
If you’re attending your husband’s office party, there are a few more things to remember: Don’t wear anything that lights up or requires a battery, no bells (which lose their cuteness after a few minutes and rapidly become annoying), and no costumes. Save the Mrs. Claus hat or elf-ears for a family gathering.
Most of all, wear a smile that radiates the joyful and peaceful holiday spirit of the Christ child. He is, after all, the reason for the Season. Merry Christmas!
Colleen is the founder of Total Image Institute, and author of the International Bestseller Dressing with Dignity. Join Colleen’s mailing list for more fashion tips, video instructions, live events, and more.