If you’ve been shopping lately, you know by the sound of Christmas music playing in every store that the winter holidays are coming on faster than ever. It’s never too early to start building up your holiday wardrobe, filling it with fun and exciting pieces that you can at least wear once or twice before all those extra holiday calories start to take hold. There might be no set rules for a holiday wardrobe, but some pieces never go out of style – and some were never in style in the first place.
Don’t: Little Black Dress
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that there’s no bad occasion for the Little Black Dress. The holidays are a great time to get a little creative and make a few waves. If you’re wearing the same LBD that you wore to someone’s 4th of July party, you probably aren’t going to be the most interesting person in the room. If you insist on wearing this standby, at least jazz it up with some bright, bold accessories and/or red shoes!
Do: Little Red Dress
This is the LBD’s daring, holiday-themed cousin. A Little Red Dress can be just as flattering as its black counterpart – without being the boring staple that needs to stay home in your closet. This is the fun, fashionable, chic alternative to your greatest asset.
Don’t: Go Too Revealing
You may think that the holidays are a great time to show off your greatest assets, but tread cautiously. If your holiday event is work-related, keep it classy. A hint of cleavage should be enough. Remember, you don’t want to be stuck constantly adjusting your outfit or risk exposing yourself after a couple glasses of eggnog in case you forget to sit like a lady.
Do: Go All-out
The holidays are a time for creativity, fun, and delight. This is the time of year that you can get away with wilder accessories than normal, as long as they’re accenting something simple and clean. Stick to one striking, attention-grabbing item per outfit.
Don’t: Red & Green
As seasonal as these colors are, they make a hideous pair. Every year, both men and women make the mistake of dressing for the season in red and green. These colors are opposites on the color wheel. They’re actually the two most clashing colors you can find outside of purple and orange. You’ll be getting plenty of attention, but not the kind you really want.
Do: Color Block
If you want to go seasonal with simple prints and solids, choose a classy combination. Red and white (or black) is a festive, warm combination. Or choose green and white (or black) for errands around town. The holidays are a great time to ignore the “No White After Labor Day” rule, so take advantage of the most wonderful time of the year.
If there is one accessory to avoid at all costs, it is the humble, treacherous bow. No matter what part of your body a designer thinks you should have a bow dangling from, reject it as vehemently as you can. Bows tend to be placed on the most unflattering parts of women’s outfits. If you find an outfit with bows across the chest, shoulders, or hips, put it back on the rack – or burn it.
Do: Ugly Sweater
You can get away with one tongue-in-cheek item, and your ugly sweater should do the trick. A Fair Isle pattern of dancing reindeer, a jolly Santa in tacky colors, or a large poofy snowman might be just what you need to enliven your wardrobe, at least for one day out of the year. However, you have to be careful when choosing to accent this way. Under no circumstances should you wear the ugly sweater with jeans or ugly sweatpants. However, throwing that monstrosity on over chic slacks with a pair of high pumps will get the holiday spirit flowing, as long as you remember to style your hair and makeup. Ugly is cute as an accessory, not as a lifestyle.
Don’t: Accent With Jewelry
Leave the shiny ornaments on the tree, for the most part. Jangly bells and hollow trees make great dressing for trees, but don’t look nearly as clever dangling from your body. Stick to simple silver, gold, and platinum hoops and studs for the ears, and don’t wear any more bangles than normal. Too many rings can turn a great sale into an assault crime if you aren’t careful.
Do: Accent With A Scarf
There’s no better time of year to wrap your neck and face in softness than just after the first snowfall. Avoid the rough sparkly fabric and opt instead for classic lambswool or a luxurious merino. A striking, color-saturated scarf can add drama and vibrancy to an otherwise pedestrian outfit. You can also use a colorful scarf as that one bold accessory for an otherwise bland outfit.
Once you’re properly outfitted for the season, don’t be afraid to stroll the streets looking for windows to shop. Fashion may change with the seasons, but a great holiday outfit will last you for many winters to come.