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Okay, so last week I shared my thoughts on wearing what you already own for this year’s holiday parties. I also mentioned that if you truly have absolutely nothing hanging in your that’s party worthy...I’d give you some suggestions on what to buy to get you through this festive season.
Alright, let's do this so you can find the perfect piece and head out to those soirées in style!
I believe there are two ways to handle shopping for a special occasion outfit.
1. Invest in something fabulous that you will love wearing for many years.
Little black dress. Statement heels. Incredible cashmere sweater.
2. Find a piece or two that won’t break the bank to carry you through.
Sparkly top. Velvet blouse. Fancy skirt.
I’m fine with both options. Sometimes it comes down to budget and sometimes it’s all about what you find when you’re shopping.
I usually end up spying a snazzy piece at a super price (I’m a really good shopper:-) so I don’t need to invest heavily in special occasion stuff. Plus, my lifestyle doesn’t require much formal clothing...so a few ‘wow’ items are plenty to see me through the season of sparkle.
If you choose to go with a high-quality, investment piece, here are some guidelines:
Buy classic shapes.
Black and ivory are always smart colors choices.
Insist on comfort.
Make sure it sparks real joy!
Here’s my personal holiday outfitting story...
I have three sparkly, fun garments in my closet.
A shimmery pewter/gold tank that I’ve had for three years and continue to wear every holiday season. I love it. It brings me joy. It could be considered an investment piece because I’m still wearing it several years after purchase, but since it was under $20, it was hardly an ‘investment’.
The other two items, I purchased in the last six weeks, each for under $20. They are...a pale pink, sparkly t-shirt and a black tulle skirt with gold glitter. The skirt I’m guessing I’ll wear for several years. The pink t-shirt? Honestly, it's scratchy. Not sure how many times I'll really wear it. I fell for the shape and color...not such a good shopper after all:-)
All three pieces coordinate with almost everything in my closet...from denim to camo cargo pants to navy or black blazers.
Best of all, they feel like me.
They're similar to my regular clothes, but with some dazzle.
A little bit goes a long way.
This top is similar to my shimmery tank. It's from Urban Outfitters, but tops like this are available in lots of stores right now.
Here's my black tulle glitter skirt.
I freaked my kids out a bit when I purchased this skirt, It's from the girl's department in Target. I bought a large. Fits like a women's size 4. I wore it to work at Anthropologie on Black Friday with a red plaid flannel shirt, pearls and booties...can't wait to wear it again:-)
Last minute party invitation? No time to really shop?
It's not too late.
There's still time for you to score something amazing to wear to that upcoming holiday gathering!
So, make a beeline for your nearest store. From Target & H&M to Forever 21 & J. Crew...there's a 'wow' piece waiting for you.
Don't over think it.
Go basic, but elevated.
Seek out a silhouette that you already love and then pick the fancy version.
If you sparkle isn't your thing...opt for velvet. I haven’t purchased a velvet piece yet this season. I’d really like to add one to my wardrobe. This luxurious fabric is super on-trend right now so there are lots of choices at every price point. I really like this one...
I hope this helps you find the perfect holiday piece...so that you can ultimately build an amazing outfit! Don't stress. Take a deep breath and remember, it's about enjoying time spent with family and friends.
I'm going to spend the final week before Christmas helping lots of customers at Anthropologie in Boulder;-) and celebrating a birthday. Then I plan to recharge with my husband and kids before the start of 2017! I'll be back in January with new content and course options....covering topics like decluttering, wardrobe building, living simply, staying present and finding joy.
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Thank you so much for reading.
Wishing you the very happiest of holidays.
P.S. Off topic...my husband has been in the wine business for decades.
I'm often asked to share his favorites. So, I'm considering a quick post prior to 12/31 to share Matthew's picks for sparkling wines...let me know if there's any interest. Thanks!
December means parties. Invitations are rolling in for holiday events. The mere thought of having to get ‘dressed up’ often starts an unfortunate chain of events that goes something like this...
Look in closet.
Panic over not having anything to wear.
Pop into a store with only 15 minutes and no plan.
Buy a few pieces that might work.
Back home, become overwhelmed with options or lack thereof.
Change outfits at least ten times before leaving for the event wearing items you already owned before the panicked shopping trip.
Annoying errands to return the impulse party outfit purchases.
There is a better way.
Unless it's a super formal affair, you probably have a few appropriate, stylish holiday outfits hanging in your very own closet...right now.
Let's find them.
Five ways to make your jeans or black pants work for this year’s holiday parties.
1. The base.
Pick your darkest, straightest/skinniest, best-fitting jeans. Or your most flattering black pants. These can be slim cigarette style, classic trouser shape or wide-leg, fluid pants. The idea is to use what you have.
2. The specifics.
Consider the event. Is is inside? Outside? Are you usually warm or cold at winter parties. Will you be standing? Sitting for a long dinner? Comfort is key, start there. The better you feel, the better you'll look!
3. Select your favorite piece.
Maybe it’s a luxurious cashmere sweater. Or a sparkly scarf that brings out your eyes. Or a killer pair of heels. Or a dynamite statement necklace. Use this piece to begin building an amazing holiday ensemble.
4. Consider your comfort zone...and then step outside.
Now’s the time to mix it up. If you usually wear structured pieces, pull out that slinky blouse you never wear because it’s too sheer. If you’re in a turtleneck everyday, reach for that deep v-neck sweater in the back of your closet.
5. Play dress-up.
Gather your options. Music, optional. Start trying things on. Make outfits and swap pieces until you smile big when you look in the mirror. You’ll know when you find the outfit. It should be a bit daring, but still feel like you...only gussied up in honor of the season!
Want some ideas?
Remember, it's all in the details.
Dark skinny jeans with a pale cashmere sweater...that just might slip off your shoulder, sparkly earrings, a red lip and booties.
Black trousers, silk or lace camisole, velvet or satin blazer and a simple shoe...heel or flat.
Dark jeans, white blouse, sexy heels and a great necklace.
Black pants, sleek fitting t-shirt or simple sweater and a fabulous, shimmery scarf.
A sliver of shoulder is sexy at any age.
Basic black with shiny red accents is always on trend.
A little sparkle can go a long way.
Use the WOW factor to your advantage.
In my experience, a woman almost always has something fantastic in her current wardrobe that she can wear to a holiday party.
Racing out to buy something new often backfires because you don't have a real plan.
You grab something that’s on sale but not amazing.
You pick something elaborate that you’ll never wear again.
Or you head home empty-handed having wasted precious time and energy. (You could have been taking a bubble bath or a nap:-)
Keep this in mind...
Simplicity is elegant. And real point of any soirée is to spend time with your friends and loved ones.
This season, start with what you have.
You just might surprise yourself.
If you really, really can’t find anything in your closet to wear…sit tight.
Next week, I’ll share what to buy when you have absolutely no other choice but to shop for a holiday outfit!
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Wishing you a slow and happy December. Spend time doing something you love...this crazy season is over in a blink. Don't miss it.
Thank you for reading. Comments or questions? Yes, please! email@example.com
Have wonderful week.
My first experience with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was in July of 2015. I read Marie Kondo’s book and immediately began purging and tidying every corner of our home. Her methods, clearly defined and simple to employ, made complete sense to me. She was definitely speaking my language (even though she really wasn’t since she speaks Japanese and I speak English:-). I enjoyed the process and loved the results.
Last weekend, my family and I decorated our home for the holidays. My oldest is a senior in high school, so we are all acutely aware that this might be our final holiday season with all five of us living under the same roof. My children requested that we go ‘all out’ with the decorating. Which for us is still fairly tame but, I felt the desire to oblige and make this December a little more special than years past.
So, we adopted an elfin spirit.
We carefully hung lights on the tree in our front yard...something we very rarely do.
We picked out a beautiful Fraser Fir tree, we dragged out all of the boxes marked 'Christmas' and began to decorate the tree and our home.
Then something interesting happened.
We realized that we have lots of ornaments and holiday stuff that we don’t really like.
You're probably wondering...
Didn't she KonMari her Christmas stuff?
Yes, I did go through our holiday boxes during my initial KonMari event. I purged quite a bit and the pieces I kept sparked joy at the time.
Yet, as we unwrapped the trinkets and treasures from our collection, each of us realized that some of the items don’t actually feel like us anymore.
Our family has changed and our aesthetic has changed. And that’s okay. We realized that we'd like to make some changes so that our holiday style feels more authentic.
I've decided to approach this holiday season with the KonMari principles in mind. Keeping the joy factor at the forefront as I shop and decorate.
How to apply the KonMari Method to decorating and gift-giving:
1. Does it spark joy?
Ask this vital question of everything in your holiday boxes. Take the time to really listen to the response you feel when you hold each piece. Holiday items are usually sentimental and only make an appearance once a year. We tend to settle for what we have because it’s a busy season and we just want to cross the decorating off of the list. This can result in a house full of decorations that don’t spark joy.
2. Create a vision.
Decide what you want your holiday decorating vibe to be. If all of your decorations are rustic country and you really like mid-century modern, it’s time to re-evaluate. Create a Pinterest board or tear images out of magazines. Find the look that represents your ideal holiday home. This helps to reveal what’s missing from your current collection.
In doing this myself, I realized two things were missing from our home: the glow of candles and twinkly lights and a warm neutral color pallette. In my mind, the holidays are sparkly and warm but in our home, the only lights were on the tree. And our holiday decorations were very traditional with lots of red and green. Those pieces seemed out of place in our relatively modern, natural home.
3. Buy one or two items that you absolutely love!
Make sure you are over the moon for anything new. Don’t settle. You can begin to build an amazing collection slowly and deliberately. This year, I added this incredible tree. I smile every time I glance at it. And, a dear friend recently shared her love of these candles. They are so incredible! My birthday is in a few weeks and I’m hoping for one or two of these:-)
If necessary, wait until the after-season sales when you can grab great holiday pieces at incredible prices.
4. Give the people what they want.
Will they really love it? Ask for a list. Don’t give junk. Don’t get lured into buying a bunch of little gifts that are essentially junk. More is not better. One desired item of good quality is much better than several low quality items.
Consider life after the holidays. Will your gift stand the test of time...or will it be purged because it doesn’t spark joy?
Sometimes I think my kids would love to have this or that...but when I really ponder the item, I usually realize that it’s not really what they truly want or need...it's just more stuff to buy, wrap, open and then store in our home.
5. Stick to a list and a budget.
Make a list before you shop and adhere to the list. Remember, it’s the job of the retailers and marketers to make you want (and think you need) everything! You don’t. Tune it all out.
And...pay cash. Super tight budget? Give experiences and time together. Bake something simple. Write a letter or a poem. Print a special photo and pop it into a dollar store frame. You’ll love January with no credit card bills.
Note: I’ve done Christmas on the smallest imaginable budget. I sold things and returned things in order to buy a few gifts for my children. It was the first year I spent only cash. What a relief to face January without the dread of credit card statements. It was a loooong time coming, but Christmas is a cash-only holiday for us now. If you'd like more info on how to make this happen, please email me directly:-)
4. All wrapped up
I love to wrap gifts. I love beautiful papers and ribbons and bows. In the past, I’ve been known to hoard all things gift wrap, but I’ve changed my ways. And I feel so much lighter without bins of unused gift wrap and gift boxes waiting for ‘someday’. I do keep a small shower caddy stocked with scissors, a few ribbons, a roll of tape and some white tissue paper. I buy wrapping paper as I need it and I request boxes when I make a gift purchase.
This season, only buy what you’ll use. In the KonMari Method, there's no storing what you might need ‘someday’. Start fresh each year.
I wish you a slow moving, joy-filled, wonderful month. Consider what matters most to you and schedule everything else around that:-)
I’m making an effort to spend more time with my family this season. I realize that next year will feel very different with my daughter away at university.
It’s incredibly true...
The days are long, but the years are fast.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll also be devoting time to creating new content for the blog, YouTube channel and The Together Act Academy. I’m very excited for the new year! I have some fun fresh ideas that I can't wait to share with you.
Something on your mind?
If you have a question, there's a good chance that someone else is wondering the same thing also.
So, ask away!
Topics you'd like me to explore? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. I'd love to include your ideas in future posts.
Finally, thank you for being here. I am humbled and honored that you allow me into your inbox each week.
Take time to really be present this holiday season.