Hostess with the Most-est

Even though there is no snow on the ground around here (and fingers crossed it stays that way), I think it is safe to say the holiday season is well underway. My Christmas tree is up. How about yours? (And does anyone have a spare Nativity scene? I need one. Call me!)

With the holiday season, of course, come holiday parties. Wasail, cookies and mistletoe aren't hard to pull together, but what to wear when you are the hostess? Here are a few ideas.

For an at-home celebration with family and close friends, such as Christmas dinner, focus on function over form.

Look for relaxed shapes in fabrics that celebrate the season, such as velour pants or cashmere tunics.

Don't dress up while you're cooking. (My mom was sure glad she followed this rule on Thanksgiving when she took the turkey out of the oven and the juice spilled everywhere. Literally. Beware. That could be you.) Instead, save time during your meal prep to change into your holiday outfit. Once you're changed, you should still wear an apron while you assemble and serve dinner to protect your holiday duds from spills.

Also avoid anything with droopy sleeves or long belt ties that might drop into serving bowls and plates. People would rather look at your clothes than eat them.

If you are hostessing a larger party with a dressier bent, such as a holiday cocktail party, keep in mind the rules we have already talked about, but go for a more formal ensemble.

Look, for example, for a dress that is elegant but not too bare. You want to look special but not let anyone get a look at anything special (if you see what I mean) when you bend over to serve an appetizer. Now, don't be afraid to show off your curves, but also be sure that whatever you wear leaves plenty of room to move. You'll be doing a lot of hugging ansd greeting, after all.

Also, choose a pair of shoes you can stand in comfortably for the entire party. Your guests can take a load off whenever they want, but you'll be milling around, hustling back and forth to the kitchen and maybe even outrunning overly-zealous guests who want to catch you under the mistletoe. If you don't want to be a cripple the next morning, comfy shoes are a must. If you'll be sitting down for most of the night, think about a pair of flirty feathery slippers instead of traditional shoes.

You can also opt for pants and a top instead of a dress. Tops and bottoms made from luxe fabrics such as velvet, satin or cashmere work especially well for semi-formal parties. If your party is casual, you can even mix jeans with a dressier blouse or sweater.

Also remember, as the hostess it's your job to let your guests, and your party shine. While as a guest you might want to spice things up with a unique piece of jewelry or a bold patterned shirt, less is more for the hostess with the most-est.

Are you a party animal?
Tell us about your favorite hostess ensemble.


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