I’ve already posted several holiday party looks, and I’m sure I’ll post a few more. But let’s face it, we all attend a vastly different variety of parties this time of year. That’s why I thought it would be good to pause the stream of holiday party posts to share with you how to put together your own holiday party look. ‘Cause look gals, you can do this just as easily as I can with just a few important steps.
You Can Put Together Your Own Holiday Party Look
Honestly, I didn’t even know many people were actually invited to formal or semi-formal Christmas parties anymore. But it turns out many of you do attend sit-down dinners, corporate galas and other glitzy, glamorous parties.
Then again, for many of my readers, I know that your holiday gatherings consists more of cookie swaps, progressive dinners, casual gatherings of friends or maybe Sunday School parties. But there are also concerts, recitals, Nutcracker performances, Christmas Eve worship services, plays and Christmas Teas. Factor in the occasional Christmas brunch, coffee date, book club gift swap, caroling party or city square tree lighting, and we’ve got quite the diverse list of gatherings and events for which to dress.
There’s no way I could tell you what to wear for every occasion. But if you’ll follow these 13 steps (I promise, they’re easy!!), you can put together your own holiday party look with confidence and pizzazz.
#1 – Decide to Celebrate
Look, this is the month to wear something a little more festive…each time you step out. You don’t have to wait for the big party. You can choose to celebrate Christmas each time you meet a friend for coffee, go gift shopping or attend a holiday performance…even if it’s your grandchild’s 3rd grade holiday concert!
But especially for those true Christmas or New Year’s events, determine to do something different. Opt for something colorful instead of your usual LBD. Or select to wear a skirt instead of slacks again. And even though other gals may be wearing jeans, you can go with velvet, glittery or floral brocade pants instead.
#2 – Consider the Occasion
Okay, so you’ve decided to turn an event into a party by decking out a little more. You still need to keep the occasion in mind. Is it low-key and casual? Or maybe family oriented and wholesome? Are you attending something for which you’ve purchased a ticket or reserved a table? Will there be a meal or cocktails or just hot cocoa and cookies? For that matter, is there a dress code?
It’s definitely the season to turn up the dial regardless of the event. But there’s also no need to blatantly overdress. So keep the occasion in mind as you put together your look.
#3 – Shop Your Closet
I count my holiday apparel as investment clothing. I invest in it one year and maybe wear it once or twice, but I expect to wear it at least several more years. So certainly consider wearing something glittery or velvety from previous holiday seasons, if you have it in your closet.
Or you may simply have a small piece of the equation in your wardrobe from previous holidays. Maybe a glittery brooch or strappy silver sandals or a velvet clutch. Go ahead and pull those pieces out so you can consider them as you shop for other components.
#4 – Choose Where to Sparkle
As you shop your closet, online or in the stores, select one “wowsa” piece. For a more casual affair, the wow piece may be a bright red skirt or pair of cords. For a glitzy occasion you may opt for a sequined top or a lacy skirt.
This shiny, velvety, sequined, pearlized, metallic, colorful or furry selection is the piece around which you’ll build the rest of your look. Everything else will hinge on it.
Depending on the event, any one of the following could be a wowsa piece:
#5 – Pick Your Color Palette
Depending on what you chose in step #4, you may have already taken care of this step. But even if your wowsa piece is a bright red dress, you’ll still have to decide what other colors you’ll combine with it. Maybe you’ll go red and gold or red and black or even red and green.
And remember, you don’t have to go with traditional Christmas red or green. Right now some of the hottest, trendiest colors for Christmas party looks include bright pink, deep turquoise, cobalt blue, plum or even mustard yellow. There’s also winter white, silver, gold, black and animal print.
Choose a color palette that looks beautiful on you, but also one that makes you feel especially pretty and festive.
#6 – Don’t Sacrifice Comfort
You still want to feel comfortable and at ease, even if the event is a little on the stuffy side. So choose your selections early enough so that you can wear them around the house for at least a little while with the tags still on. Make sure you can sit, walk and even dance in your apparel.
#7 – Remember Shapewear and Appropriate Undergarments
If your selection will fit close to the body, you may need shapewear. But regardless, you definitely need the right undergarments. Well in advance, try your outfit on to see if you need a particular bra, slip or shapewear. And if you feel like you need to wear pantyhose, go right ahead. Yes, it is still perfectly appropriate and stylish to wear hose. Just either wear very sheer nude or sheer black (if your dress and/or shoes are black). I suggest these hose. Also, only wear closed toe shoes with hosiery of any kind.
Of course, if the event is less formal, you may need tights. I’ve had good luck with these.
#8 – Put Your Hands Out…and Do the Hokey-Pokey!
Don’t forget to add a festive touch to your nails. Especially if you’re going to a formal affair, get a manicure. But throughout the holidays, it’s a great time to keep you nails looking nice and festive. You might find a shade or two you like in OPI’s new Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms collection. Or if you’d rather go with something more subtle, that’s perfectly fine. Maybe simply pick a shimmery polish rather than your normal cream shade.
#9 – Put on Your Glamour Face
I don’t normally wear any shimmery or glittery eye shadow or blush. But a glitzy, candlelit event might be a good time to glam up a little. You’ll also want to line your lips, deepen your lipstick and add some shimmery gloss. Add a third coat of mascara and consider adding some contours with a swipe of bronzing blush in the hollow of your cheeks, on the sides of your nose and under your chin. You’ll find great tutorials on YouTube.
#10 – Razzle Dazzle
Now it’s time to add some razzle dazzle. But just a little. Most holiday party clothing already has a little bit of glitter or glam in it, right? So tis the season to accessorize beautifully and brightly, but ever so lightly with the jewelry, scarves and hair accessories.
If your top or the neckline of your dress already has some shine, raise the eye to your face by adding some sparkling earrings…only. Well, you can add a coordinating or complimenting bracelet, if you choose. But skip the necklace.
If the neckline is rather plain and begs for a little attention, you might want to add a pretty brooch or necklace. But you don’t have to. If you do add a brooch or necklace, then add only small and less dramatic earrings.
Look, go big on the one or two pieces of jewelry you do add. Choose pieces with lots of color or shine or razzle dazzle. But then stop. Remember, you still have shoes and handbags to select.
#11 – Step Out with Confidence
Carry the festive look from head to toe. Make sure your shoes don’t dampen the party, but add a little sparkle instead. You can wear some gold flats like I wore here with even the simplest party look. But for a dressy occasion, choose velvety pumps, strappy heels or at least pointy toe flats or lower heeled shoes.
#12 – Pack Light but Pretty
Select a pretty, festive bag to carry your essentials – lipstick, i.d., breath mints, credit card, cell phone and maybe lotion. A clutch is always a classier option, and you’ll find beautiful ones in brocade, velvet, sequins or other festive fabrics. But you could also choose a small convertible clutch that includes a shoulder strap, if that would be easier for you. Especially when you’re attending a cocktail party or buffet where you may need to stand while you eat or drink, you may want to select a bag with a strap.
#13 – Wrap It Up with a Bow
Let’s not forget, it is winter. So unless you live in a very warm climate, you’ll probably need either a full coat or at least a wrap. Do your best to choose something that doesn’t detract from the beautiful festive look you’ve put together. But do wear as much warmth as you need, at least to get from the car to the warmth of the building.
You could ask around to see if a friend has something you could borrow. Or you could go ahead and invest in a simple, elegant but beautiful wrap that you can wear for other special occasions in the future.
You can find the holiday looks I’ve already posted (featured in the cover graphic at the top of the post) here:
- Holiday Party Look on a Budget
- What to Wear to a Christmas Cookie Swap
- Holiday Fashion Accessories for This Year and Years to Come
- What to Wear to a Casual Christmas Gathering
- and there are more to come!
I hope you enjoyed this post. You might want to pin it to one of your Pinterest boards for future reference. And I’d love it if you shared this post on your Facebook feed. I’ve used some affiliate links in this post, and when you shop through them and purchase something I potentially earn a commission. Thank you so much for shopping through Dressed for My Day.
If you’re new to my website, I hope you’ll take the time to look around a little. See if this is a site you’d like to visit often. If you subscribe to the Dressed for My Day community, I can send you an email each time I post a new post or just once a week, if you’d prefer. And you’ll be registered for a chance to win a $25 gift card, which I give to one lucky subscriber each month. And if you do subscribe, stick around because in January that gift card amount is going up to $50! You can find out more about subscribing to Dressed for My Day here.
Blessed for My Day
While I’m all for getting all dressed up to celebrate the holidays, I find that just the opposite is needed for my heart. To truly celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I need to calm my heart and focus my mind. A reader recently suggested the Christmas Advent readings you can get from SheReadsTruth.com. You can receive them in your email inbox or read them daily on the site in the link I’ve provided. While I normally use the First 5 app for my daily Bible reading and devotional (and still am), I’m enjoying these advent readings in preparation for the celebration of Emmanuel.
What are you doing to prepare your heart to celebrate fully the birth of our Savior?
Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. ~ Psalm 95:6-7