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How to Put Together Beautiful Holiday Looks

November 21, 2019

Hi gals! Friday I’ll have up my first holiday look of the season. It feels a little late, and in fact, my holiday looks are going up later than they did last year. But it is what it is! So while I’m preparing to purchase a few special things to create even more festive looks for the holiday season, I thought I’d write a quick post letting you in on my step-by-step method for putting together these special outfits. Let me tell you, one step at a time, how I put together beautiful holiday looks.

Remember, my style goal for 2019 has been to curate a wardrobe that works for me, one built upon a foundation of beautiful wardrobe essentials that help me pull together classic but modern outfits. So I don’t want to throw out my hard work in that area just because the holidays are upon us. Instead, I want to tap into that functional wardrobe before I purchase anything new for Christmas gatherings or New Years Eve parties.

Plus, I happen to know that some of our favorite stores are running great sales presently or very soon in which they’re featuring some beautiful, festive pieces. And I want us to be prepared to shop those sales wisely so that we’re able to stretch our dollars and multiply the usefulness of the holiday styles we buy.

So I’m using photos from last year’s holiday looks in this post for a little inspiration. But I’m mainly just sharing with you the few basic steps I take to put together the holiday looks that I’ll be wearing this Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

What to Wear to a Christmas Cookie Swap
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Step 1 – Specify the holiday events and gatherings you’ll be attending and the looks you’ll want to wear to them.

As I peruse sale catalogs filled with luxurious velvet dresses and sequined tops, it’s easy for me to get sucked into creating outfits I’ll never actually wear. Sure, I’d love to have reason to wear the most sparkly outfits. But my reality says that I’ll look more suited to my environment if I stick to jeans and sweater combinations or maybe dress slacks paired with a festive but multifunctional blouse.

Here’s an example of my list and notes:

  • Thanksgiving Dinner Out (at a nice restaurant) – outfit: comfortable!!! slacks + pretty top or skirt + pretty top
  • Church choir Christmas Cantata – outfit: special Sunday-like combo, maybe a dress or dress slacks + blouse or skirt + top
  • Church ladies’ Christmas Cookie Swap – outfit: jeans + festive top or other pants + festive top
  • Church Small Group Christmas Party – outfit: slacks + festive top or jeans + festive top
  • Christmas Eve Service – outfit: slacks + cozy, festive sweater + boots
  • Christmas performance (Nutcracker, Handel’s Messiah, A Christmas Carol, etc.) – outfit: dressy and festive – elegant skirt + festive top or elegant slacks + festive top
  • Hosting a Christmas Coffee for friends – outfit: something simple but festive, relaxed and easy, not fussy, but still pretty and special, something with flats
What to Wear to a Casual Christmas Gathering
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Step 2 – Pull out all the wardrobe essentials from your closet that will function well in the outfits you’ve decided you need.

When I look through my closet the wardrobe essentials I consider using in holiday outfits include: (most of these links go to the exact items I own; others are similar)

Velvet Jeans + Lace Top for Holiday Party
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Step 3 – Assemble together all the festive pieces you already own.

Remember that gold clutch you bought last year? What about the blingy Christmas brooch or silk scarf? Don’t forget the velvet jeans, lacy skirt, dazzling earrings, velveteen blazer, Christmas plaid ballet flats or novelty tee. Those things are still beautiful, but you can style them differently this year. Just pull them all out so you can see them.

I’m pulling out:

Holiday Fashion Accessories

Step 4 – Research retail catalogs and websites and Pinterest for inspiration for current holiday looks.

I take time to look through Pinterest with key words like “holiday looks” and “Christmas party outfits.” I specifically watch for looks that include some of the wardrobe essentials that I have in my closet. This is key, gals! Build looks on the pieces you already own.

Also, I’ll be perusing the websites and catalogs (when applicable) of my favorite retailers like…(where possible, I’ve linked you to partywear!!)

Again, I’m looking for outfits I can create using at least one of the wardrobe essentials in my closet. I’m also looking for fresh ways to use the glittery, velvety and sparkly things I already own.

Holiday Party Look on a Budget
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Step 5 – Keep it simple!

I can get overstimulated by all the sparkle and twinkle. Ha! Before I know it I’m sucked into creating costumes rather than simple, elegant looks that wear well and feel and look like me.

I suggest pausing a little between the previous steps and Step 6 to really think about the wearability of what you’re planning to purchase and put together. You’ll look more comfortable and at ease in your holiday outfit if you keep it real and keep it simple. Select and compose outfits that translate well for you, staying true to your personal style aesthetic.

Step 6 – Look for new pieces that will combine beautifully with what you already own to create multiple outfits for your unique holiday events and gatherings.

I like to select a few new holiday party pieces each year, but I want them to…

  • fit into my personal style aesthetic
  • work with my wardrobe essential neutrals
  • work with or at least not against my signature colors
  • work for multiple outfits and settings
  • feel current and modern, but also classic (so I can continue to wear them for several years)
Holiday Event Outfit on a Budget

Pay special attention to color. This year I’m seeing a lot of jewel tones in holiday clothing and accessories. That’s good news because jewel tones will continue to work well for most of us even after the Christmas season has come and gone. Also, jewel tones can pair nicely with wardrobe essential neutrals like brown, black and grey. Finally, you can pair jewel tones with the year’s hottest fabrics like animal print, suede, leather, corduroy and of course denim.

I’ve created a shopping widget of some of my favorite pieces that I’ve seen in some of the stores listed above. (Disclaimer: If you purchase something while shopping these links, I potentially earn a commission, but at no cost to you.)

Step 7 – Engineer beautiful outfits for your unique events and gatherings that reflect your personal style.

Look, all you really need for any event you’re attending is a little extra sparkle. (If you go back over the steps above you’ll see that the first letter of each step spells out SPARKLE. I just couldn’t resist! Ha!) You don’t need to look like a Christmas tree or like you came out of one of the catalogs you visited during your research. You want to look like you…with a little extra sparkle.

So stick with the style formula you love to wear. For instance…

If you like to wear…

  • jeans + sweater
  • a dress
  • a skirt + blouse
  • neutral slacks + blouse
  • jeans + turtleneck
  • slacks + blazer
  • jeans + shirt
  • jeans + cashmere
  • pants + top + top layer

then just add…

  • metallic shoes or belt
  • velvet or colored pumps
  • silk blouse + earrings
  • sparkly jewelry + shoes
  • velvet or plaid blazer
  • Christmas brooch
  • Christmas plaid
  • Christmas silk scarf
  • special cardigan or blazer
What to Wear to a Holiday Performance

Or…go all out! But only if that’s true to your personal style essence. Especially if you have a truly unique and special event to attend this Christmas season…a corporate Christmas party, a charity gala, a wedding or engagement party. Pull out all the stops and invest in pieces you can wear for years down the road.


I hope today’s post has helped you begin thinking about how you will put together beautiful holiday looks for your unique gatherings and events. I’ll definitely be sharing a few curated looks in the next couple of weeks. But now you know the formula!

By the way, many of the stores I mentioned above are hosting pre-black Friday shopping events in the next few days. For instance, I know that Talbots is hosting Black Friday Preview Days for their Talbots Credit Cardholders Monday, November 25 – Wednesday, November 27. On those days, credit cardholders will receive 50% off one item each day, all day. Plus the rest of your purchase is 40% off all day…as long as you use your card. Then Friday, November 29, all shoppers will get 50% off one item until noon and 40% off the entire store all day.

PLUS, you can already get 40% off your purchase at Banana Republic (and an extra 20% off pants). And Loft is giving you 40% off tops and sweaters, just through today. So watch for sales gals. They’re out there!

So now through next week is definitely the best time to shop for holiday looks. I doubt the prices will be as low again.

Alrighty! Let me know if you have any questions about today’s post. And if you found it helpful, I hope you’ll use the share buttons below to save it to Pinterest and share it on Facebook. Thanks so much dear gal!

Blessed for My Day

As we count our blessings and name them one by one, let’s not forget simply to praise God for who He is. Let’s be women who are thankful that God is good even when things don’t feel especially good in our lives. Let’s be people who trust God’s character and tell Him so even when don’t understand what He’s doing…or not doing. And let’s be those confess our love for Him even on the hardest days.

And you know what? It’s not enough to feel those things. At least I’ve found that to be true. I need to confess them…verbally, orally. I need to speak them out loud into the deafening silence, say them when my heart doesn’t feel them and proclaim them with gusto when my spirit is weak. That’s when God draws me closer and reminds me that what I have spoken is truer than I know. And then I’m fortified to press on.

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! ~ Psalm 95:1-2

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xoxo, Kay
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8 thoughts on “How to Put Together Beautiful Holiday Looks

  1. Great post!!! I’m struggling with trying to decide what to wear for several events. This post really helped to remind me to stay true to my personal style essence. I have some great ideas now. Thank you!!

  2. These are terrific ideas. My 27 year old daughter has asked me to help her put together a “look” for a very formal event she will be attending in January. These steps will help to keep her from overspending and prevent her from having a one time only look. Thank you!

  3. Thank you Kay, for this very realistic and helpful list. I so appreciate your approach to writing your blog posts!

  4. Kay,
    This was such a helpful post! I really liked the “if you like to wear” and ‘just add” section! I was struggling with so many options. This helped me to narrow down my focus! Thank you so much! I so enjoy your daily devotionals too! Thank you for all you do!