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Because it’s never too early to start thinking about your festive party outfits.
I wish I had listened to some key holiday dressing tips when I was younger. It might’ve saved me from ripping my dress.
Quick story: Years ago, I attended a fancy festive dinner at a steak house. I was stuffed to the brim with meat, bread and potatoes when something tickled my nose and I sneezed. RIP! The entire left side of my torso popped out of my dress. Was I mortified? Of course. Did I wear my coat for the rest of night after claiming to “have a chill”? You betcha. Do I have regrets? Only that I wore a fragile vintage frock with a tightly fitting bodice to a food-oriented event. (The prime rib was 100 per cent worth an unexpected trip to the tailor)!
Holiday outfits are a tricky beast to tame. For most of us, it’s the one time of year we have an excuse to dress up and we want to make every occasion count. We may not have control over our opinionated families or whether gifts arrive on time, but we can control the amount of sparkles we wear on a given night.
However, with so many brands flooding our feeds with sequins, shimmer and other shiny clothing options, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. Below, we’ve rounded up a few editor-approved holiday dressing tips that are both fashionable and functional. And yes, one of them does involve food.
Ask your host about the *vibe*
There is a big difference between a casual cocktail among colleagues and a charity gala. Don’t be afraid to ask the host if there’s an unofficial dress code (there usually is) and choose the vibe of your outfit from there. When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a going out top and trendy trousers.
Evaluate the guest list
Consider who will be at your holiday party. Will you be doing shots with your friends or sipping wine beside your boss? As such, one of our holiday dressing tips is to wear clothes that show the level of skin you’re comfortable with. It might be better to save the micro mini for a wild night out and opt for a midi-dress with a boatneck for your corporate function. This one from Reformation is our current fave.
Consider whether you’ll be standing or seated most of the night
To sit, or not to sit, that is the question. Will you be trapped at a dinner table for three hours or will you be strategically leaning on walls while mingling? If the former, dare to wear your highest heels — you’ll only need to walk in them from the car to the venue and back. If it’s the latter, do your feet a favour and opt for flamboyant flats like these embellished Jeffrey Campbell ones.
Remember: waistbands are overrated
Holiday dressing tip number four: Who needs a waistband? There’s a time to be strapped into a corset-like contraption and there’s a time to eat — and they rarely happen at the same event. So if you have plans to dive deep into a food coma, may we introduce you to the viral Hill House ‘Nap’ dress, which features stretchy fabric and smocking at the waist.
Yes, it will be warm inside the venue
Repeat after me: It will be warmer than you think! Sure, it may be -10ºC outside but inside is a whole different story. If you know you run hot, abandon all ideas of a sweater dress and opt for something sleeveless. We love the look of the velvet straps on this Alice + Olivia number.
When it comes to accessories, texture is your friend
Another one of our holiday dressing tips is to play with textured accessories. Think lace, velvet, pleats, metallics, pearls, appliqués, feathers, embroideries and more! Not only are they great conversation starters, but by simply swapping your purse, you can be an outfitter repeater and everyone will be too blinded by your bag to notice.
Sequins can be sophisticated
It’s totally normal to feel intimidated by sequins. When done right, you can look like a young Liza Minnelli at Studio 54. When done wrong, you can look like an old Liza Minnelli in Sex & The City 2 (love you, Liza!). Pro tip: Stick to a single colour to avoid veering into cosplay territory. We love this monochromatic matching set from Mango.
Play with proportions
Baggy, wide-leg pants? Wear them with a tight top. Oversized button-down shirt? Pair it with short shorts. While this holiday dressing tip isn’t just for festive fêtes, it’s an easy way to look effortlessly stylish. Bonus points for pairing black and white with red, à la Valentino.
Put a bow on it
Let’s be honest: Your presence is a present in itself. Why not remind people by wrapping yourself like a literal gift? When wearing bows, think in extremes. Smaller ones are better in excess whereas bigger ones are enough of a statement on their own. These magenta party shoes by Naturalizer are the finishing flourish to any outfit.
When in doubt, wear red
Red may have been the It colour of the fall but it will always be a holiday staple. Another one of our holiday dressing tips? Don’t be afraid of the spotlight and opt for a streamlined silhouette as seen on this dress by Magda Butrym. The only downside to choosing the festive statement colour? People might notice if you leave the party early.
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