The Proper Party Animal

It is the season. The season for evergreen trees and sparkling ornaments. The season for giving and getting. The season for lots and lots of chocolate. It is also the season for lots and lots of parties. Family parties, caroling parties, office parties and tree trimming parties. That's a lot of dresses! Here are some tips to look your holiday best no matter where you're going.

Office Space

For a work holiday party, err on the conservative side and stay away from anything that might be considered risque. I think we can all agree that flashing your boss is not the way to spread holiday cheer. Go for something simple but sophisticated, such as a slinky pencil skirt and a ruffled top, or a little black dress with tasteful embellishments. Also, don't be afraid to experiment with color and texture. Shoes and jewelry can add just the right amount of pop and uniqueness. If you are going with bold colors in your clothes, though, keep your jewelry in a supporting role rather than center stage. Finally, try not to confess your undying love for that co-worker you've been crushing on in front of everyone, and the evening should be a success!

In the neighborhood

For a neighborhood party with friends you have a lot more leeway with your wardrobe. Don't be afraid to mix unexpected items, such as a lace over-lay top with a bright skirt and a patterned clutch or shoes. If you opt for pants, they don't have to be boring or overly dressy. Pants in a fancier fabric, such as velvet or satin, are sleek and chic, and comfortable to boot.

Fancy Pants

If you are attending a party at a country club, or at the home of a client or business contact, easy elegance is the order of the day. Wearing a dress will help you feel more pulled together. Spice it up with a patent belt around the waist, or a shiny clutch. Fancy jewelry, such as a large statement necklace or a sparkling brooch will add the perfect polish, and keep all eyes on you for all the right reasons.

Forget The Faux Pas

It will be pretty hard to go wrong if you follow the tips we've already talked about but, just in case, here are some things to be sure to avoid, no matter what the occassion.

1. Wearing too much glitz. Beading and metallics are exactly what the season ordered, but use them sparingly and well. Too much shine can overwhelm anyone, especially if you put it in places you don't necessarily want to highlight. For example, our busty friends shouldn't wear a sweater with extensive embellishment in the chest area. Don't say I didn't warn you.

2. Showing too much skin. Thigh-high miniskirts and dresses cut down to the belly button look great on the runway, but are basically impossible to pull off in real life, so let's not even try, shall we? Not only is it possible to look sexy and still leave something to the imagination, you'll look your best when you do. The secret is to wear things that make a suggestion rather than an outright statement. A lace camisole hints at great cleavage (again with the bustiness), a simple slit in a skirt gives a glimpse of great gams, and a cap sleeved dress is the perfect way to show off toned arms.

3. Getting caught with nothing to wear. There is nothing worse than getting an invitation to the perfect holiday party and not having the perfect thing to wear. By keeping a few dressy basics in your closet, you'll be ready for even the most last-minute of invitations.

4. Making it too complicated. Even the most organized woman can get overwhelmed during the holiday season, coordinating travel, baking, parties and presents with the perfect holiday wardrobe on top. Instead of trying to match separates, go with a simple black dress this season, and change it up with different accessories and shoes. Throw on a luxurious wrap for a dressy party, or a pair of flats and a chunky beaded necklace for a more casual affair. You'll feel like you're wearing a different dress every time, and so will everyone else.

5. Being under or over dressed. There's nothing worse than showing up in jeans when everyone else is in velvet, or wearing a party dress when everyone else is in business clothes. And you're not alone if you can't decipher vague descriptions like "business casual" or "cocktail attire," so when in doubt call your host and ask what would be best.

Are you a party animal?
What ensemble puts the happy in your holidays?


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