How To Decipher Holiday Party Dress Codes
I’ve received a lot of questions recently regarding how to dress for various holiday parties so I saw this as a great opportunity for a blog post. With dress codes such as semi-formal, cocktail, black tie, holiday attire and dressy casual, it can get a little confusing. If you’re like me, it’s hard enough trying to figure out what to wear on a day-to-day basis. Now you have to decipher a dress code on an invitation. Well, I’m here to help so you can focus on on all the other holiday “things”.
I found all images on Pinterest. I have to say it was pretty challenging to find menswear examples – even on Google! Fellas, I did what I could with what I had to work with.
Black Tie (Formal): For the ladies, a tea-length or floor-length gown is the way to go. Add a faux fur stole or jacket for extra glamour. Keep jewelry to a minimum with a dramatic necklace or earrings – but not both. A pearl or heirloom necklace or drop earrings will suffice. Stay away from real “costumey” jewelry. If you don’t have a nice evening bag, you’ll want to purchase or borrow one for this event. Simplicity is key for this look; think old Hollywood glamour. Nothing too clingy or revealing – keep it modest. Just pretend you’re going to the Oscars.
For the guys, a tuxedo with a black bow tie is in order. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have a tuxedo,you can get away with a dark suit.
Semi-Formal or Cocktail: For the ladies, you can’t go wrong with a little black dress (LBD) or something in a jewel tone. Choose fabrics in lace,chiffon or velvet to elevate your look. Don’t feel like wearing a dress? You’re in luck! With this dress code you can also wear a dressy jumpsuit or separates such as brocade cigarette pants and a beaded or satin shell. If you wear a dress, you have a bit more leeway as far a length goes but you still want to keep it modest. Choose a dress that hits about 2 inches above the knee. You can wear a bit more jewelry with this look but keep it to one or two pieces.
Last but not least, don’t forget the shoes! The fancier the better – a dainty heel in gold or silver is a solid bet. However, you can’t go wrong with a black or nude pump or strappy dress sandals.
For the guys, you’ll wear a well-fitted dark suit with a white shirt & dark tie. Oxfords are a good bet for shoes, just make sure they’re in great condition and have a respectable shine.
Festive, Holiday Attire, Dress To Impress: For the ladies, think sophisticated bling and a vibrant dress. A jacquard skirt and silky blouse or a chic jumpsuit will work, as well. Festive colors and sparkly details are perfect for this occasion – think statement pieces like a sparkly clutch, red heels, or a sequin dress. Just don’t wear all them together or you could end up on the “what not to wear” list. For instance, if wearing a LBD, wear metallic, rhinestone or beaded heels and layer on a bit of gold or silver jewelry. Wearing a sequin dress? Skip the jewelry altogether, aside from a pair of diamond stud earrings, and keep the shoes sexy but simple in a black or nude hue. If you’re concerned about getting cold, you can get away with pairing opaque tights and booties with most of these looks.
For the guys, you’ve got a lot more options for this event. You can wear a classic suit with a fun tie. By fun, I don’t necessarily mean candy cane or Christmas tree patterned. A tie in a festive holiday color(s) or pattern (think stripes or tartan) works great. You can also pair gray flannel trousers with a green or red cashmere sweater or opt for colored corduroys with an open-collar shirt and tweed sport jacket.
Casual Chic or Dressy Casual: For the ladies, think jeans in a dark rinse with a bow or ruffled blouse and pair of booties. Colored denim works, as well, but stay away from destroyed, faded or light rinse denim. To take it a step further, add a blazer and some statement earrings or necklace. A pair of tailored pants paired with a blouse or cardigan and a trendy jumpsuit ( I love jumpsuits – so versatile!) will also work.
For the guys, no suits or ties this time! Opt for a tailored oxford shirt with flat-front chinos or dark wash denim – no light rinse or destroyed denim. You can also pair the denim with a nice sweater.
If you’re still uncertain about what to wear, a surefire way to eliminate any confusion is to simply ask the host of the party what he or she is wearing. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, here are a few other ideas:
- Is this an annual event? If so, check online for photos from previous years to get an idea of what the guests are wearing. This is my favorite tried and true formula.
- Compare notes with friends. Find out what they’re wearing and decide to dress similarly.
- Pay attention to the invitation. If it’s engraved, letter pressed or embossed on nice card stock, that’s a strong indicator that the host has spent considerable time and money on the event so take that as a cue to put some extra effort into your wardrobe.
- General rule of thumb – if it’s after 5pm you’ll need to take your look up a notch. Daytime parties are generally more low-key.
- Scope out the location. A party held at someones house is typically more relaxed than a party held at a venue. The same goes for parties held outdoors as opposed to an indoor function.
If you’re still uncertain, go the extra mile. Being overdressed shows you put in an effort, whereas being under-dressed can come across as disrespectful. Happy Holidays!
Fall 2018 Style Inspiration
Here are some of my favorite fall looks from the Greensboro Fashion Week Local Boutiques/National Brands show held at Koury Aviation last month. I can’t recall the names of all the boutiques/brands that were represented but you can find similar styles online or at your favorite boutique or department store. The two retailers that stood out to me at this show and which are included in this post are Wrangler and Kriegsman Boutique and Luxury Outerwear.
How I Styled A Clearance Skirt For A VIP Event
I had the pleasure of attending the recent Kitty & Rhodes Le’ Fleur SS18 Show as a VIP guest which meant my outfit needed to be on point. The show had a garden party theme so I really wanted to wear a flity dress in a floral pattern. However, my closet is filled with mostly black and/or casual dresses which meant I had some shopping to do.
I tried my go-to Rent The Runway, but they were out of the styles that I liked for the specific date I needed. I couldn’t find what I was looking for at a price I was willing to pay after scouring the mall and several of my favorite online stores, so I had resorted to wearing a black halter dress I already owned with some colorful accessories. However, the night before the show I went to the mall to have my nails done and just happened to come through the JC Penney entrance. They had all their dresses marked 60% off the already reduced price so I decided to give it one more shot and it paid off!
I found a gorgeous skirt on the clearance rack that had been part of a formal halter/skirt combo originally priced at $139. The halter was missing so the skirt had been discounted; after all was said and done I paid only $17!! It was exactly what I was looking for. I paired it with an Express gathered halter top, Bandolino two-piece sandals, and jewelry I already had in my closet. I tucked a rose stem I bought at Hobby Lobby for $3.99 in my chignon and viola!
Kitty & Rhodes designer, Jasmine Rhodes, is one of my favorite local designers. Her clothes are not only beautiful but they translate well from runway to real life – and I love that they’re so colorful and fun! Not only is she a talented designer but also an accomplished model and photographer. I’ve included some of my favorites from her summer 2018 collection below.
Check out my Instagram story titled ‘Kitty & Rhodes’ for live footage from the runway.
Who Likes Paying Full-Price?
If you had the choice of paying retail price for new clothes and/or accessories or saving up to 90% off retail on gently-used, sometimes never worn name brand & designer clothes and accessories, which would you choose? If you said “Yes” to 90% off and are okay with new-to-you, stylish clothes, shoes and accessories then let me introduce you to Style Encore. I’m sure many of you already shop here or have at least heard of them, but for those of you who may not be aware, I feel it’s my civic duty to let you know!
If you like saving money or are on a budget AND want to keep your wardrobe “fresh”, this is the place to go. It’s my go-to when I’m looking for something in particular but don’t want to drop a lot of $$$. Everything is neatly organized by style, color and size so it’s very easy to shop. Plus, they have a great mix of name brand (White House Black Market, Loft, Limited, etc.) and designer (Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade,etc.) clothes, shoes and accessories to choose from.
Recently I purchased a beautiful pair of filigree earrings for $5 when I found myself in a pinch just two hours before a big event. Nothing like having the perfect dress and shoes only to realize you forgot the earrings!! I’ve since worn them several times to work and out on the town.
Yesterday I went in looking specifically for a dress for an upcoming event. I didn’t find “the” dress BUT I did find a gorgeous White House Black Market jacket that would normally retail upwards of $100 for just $19!! Because it’s one of those pieces that I will wear over and over, I went ahead and bought it rather than regret not buying it later. Then I inquired about a cute clutch I had seen a couple of weeks ago with the off-chance that it still might be available. Guess what?? It was AND it had been moved to clearance!! What I would have paid $11 for two weeks ago I took home for $5. Yep, yesterday was a good day.
So…. if you want to update your wardrobe on the cheap, head over to your local Style Encore OR if you have new or gently-used, current style clothing that you no longer want or need they’ll pay cash on the spot if it fits their current needs -learn more here: About Selling To Style Encore
I Have Nothing To Wear!!
How many times have you found yourself standing in front of your closet thinking to yourself, “I have nothing to wear!” Meanwhile, there’s a closet full of clothes staring back at you. This happens to me daily. Basically, every time I have somewhere to be I am faced with the dilemma of what to wear. And each time I find myself gravitating to the same five or so outfits.
I was sick and tired of the daily struggle but couldn’t justify buying any more clothes when I had a closet full of them. So, I decided to take inventory of my closet this past weekend. First, I pulled out every piece of clothing that I hadn’t worn in a year or more. The pieces I knew I would never wear again went directly into the Goodwill pile. Next, I began trying on the remaining items one one by one. If it was too small or too large to be taken in, it went to Goodwill. However, I did hold onto a few key pieces; I’ve learned the hard way to always keep a few items, primarily pants, a size smaller and a size larger so you’ll always have clothes that fit well if you gain or lose a few pounds.
There were a few items I completely forgot I had that were buried behind clothes that were taking up prime real estate in my closet. I found a cute dress that my sister gave me about three years ago. It’s really cute but I never wear it because I feel like it washes me out. I paired it with my jean jacket and some gold jewelry and now I have a cute outfit that will take me from day to night. It will look really cute with some pink heels and a colorful bag, which I can justify buying now that I’ve let some stuff go.
Then there’s the denim pencil skirt I found that fits like a dream! Paired it with a shimmery tank top, hoop earrings, silver bangle bracelets and heels for a subtle, sexy look for my next night out! The tank top is a bit too sheer for the office, but just about any blouse I have will go nicely for a wear-to-work look.
Finally, I found a skirt that I really liked but never wear because I just didn’t care for the style. I held onto it and plan to take it to my tailor to see if it can be re-purposed into a pencil skirt. If so, that will run me about $15. You can’t buy a quality skirt for that unless you get lucky and find one on sale.
It took me about an hour to sort through everything and reorganize my closet. Now I have a much better idea of what I own and realized I actually DO have clothes to wear – at least a few more than what I thought I did. I’ll sort through my dresser soon where I’m sure to find a few long forgotten items and another bag full of clothes that I can donate so someone who can use them. There are so many organizations that can use the clothes you no longer want or need. Remember your local church, Goodwill, Rescue Mission, Dress For Success, or other charitable organization when giving.
Casual Chic Date Night Outfit
I love simple, classic pieces in neutral colors that I can dress up or down simply by adding a couple of trendy accessories. The majority of my wardrobe consists of basic, seasonless pieces that I can mix and match and will take me effortlessly from day to night. I generally stay away from extremely trendy pieces but will update my looks with a few on trend accessories. From time to time I’ll buy a top, shoes or bag in a pretty, bright hue to add a pop of color.
I put this look together with wardrobe staples I’ve had for a couple of years and I’ve gotten miles of wear out of them. I like designer pieces and the quality that comes along with them. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune on your clothes and accessories to find good quality items. If I really like something and happen to catch it on sale, I’ll purchase two so I can get more wear out of my favorite pieces. I’m also careful to wash my clothes using the gentle cycle and/or dry clean my items to keep them looking their best.
All of the items shown are from season’s past except for the tote bag. However, I’ve found similar pieces at various price points and shared my affiliate links below.
Sun Hats – More Than Just A Fashion Statement
I love hats! I wear them a lot and not just because they’re fashionable but because they serve a purpose. A baseball cap is great to toss on when you don’t feel like fixing your hair or perfect for the gym to help keep the sweat out of your eyes. In the summer I like to wear sun hats to protect my color and shield my face from the sun. Besides, there’s something about a floppy sun hat that adds instant style to your outfit – whether you’re by the pool,sightseeing or running errands – just throw on a floppy sun hat for an instant touch of glam! I bought this Nicole Marciano Sun Hat hat last year and I wear it all. the. time. I’ve placed links to similar styles I found at various price points below. I was able to find the exact style I’m wearing in my pic on Poshmark if you’re not opposed to buying gently used items. They’re a great resource for buying and selling new and gently used clothing and accessories.
The Chambray Shirt – A Wardrobe Staple
A chambray shirt is a great piece to have in your closet because there are so many different ways you can style it and it can be worn year-round. The possibilities are endless -pair it with colored denim (don’t be afraid of denim-on-denim looks, either 😉), worn tied around your waist, tied up over a strappy maxi dress or worn under a sweater for a layered look.
The denim jeans I’ve paired with this look are super lightweight and perfect for warmer weather. I’ve had the shirt, shoes and tote for a couple of years but I’ve included links to similar styles below. All items are on sale this weekend. 🛍my affiliate links below!
Old Navy Relaxed Chambray Shirt: https://bit.ly/2IKJC1z
Crown and Ivy Denim Jeans: https://bit.ly/2ILoBb9
Kim Rogers Simion Shoe: https://bit.ly/2IOFSMo
Kensie Stannis Hobo Bag: https://bit.ly/2IMxdOM
Modani Dakota Scoop Double Handle Shoulder Bag: https://bit.ly/2INcfv1
Make An Entrance In This Simple But Sexy Dress
I’m in love with this floral high slit maxi dress from Express!! I finally got around to styling it… please disregard the extremely wrinkled comforter on my bed 😂😂 I tried to save $$ by washing at home rather than taking it to the dry cleaner. Lesson learned.
Anyway, back to the dress…did I mention that I absolutely 💕 it? I accessorized it with a gold bracelet and gold leaf drop earrings. This dress looks great on it’s own or paired with a denim jacket or cropped white cardigan. Add a straw hat & tote and you’re good for a day of shopping or sightseeing. Wear with sandals for a casual look or instantly up the glam factor with a pair of 4″ strappy heels.
This style will take you from day to night and is also available in petite & plus sizes. Right now it’s 40% off PLUS use code 4152 at checkout to get an additional 15% off 😉 PLUS, get free shipping on purchases of $50 or more! Shop my affiliate link here: http://shopstyle.it/l/H1Gz