The holidays are the perfect time to pull out your best cocktail attire. Christmas pageants, office parties, Christmas weddings, New Year’s Eve – it’s called “the most wonderful time of the year” for a reason, and it’s not just because of candy canes and eggnog.
So how can you “go glam” without going over budget – especially if you don’t really need a lot of special occasion clothing? By thinking smart and trying to get the most out of your cocktail attire. Your goal should be to find great pieces that stop traffic yet can also be worn more than once and more than one way. Don’t spend a lot on something you only wear once. Spend moderately on pieces you can wear many times. Or, get extra mileage from your existing holiday wardrobe by wearing it in different ways.
The easiest way to do that is with color.
Crisp, cold air calls for strong jewel tones. Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, Diamonds. These are the colors of the season – along with black, white, silver, and gold – and you’ll look festive and clever by incorporating them into your ensembles. Adjust color intensity to your skin tone, as needed.
Courtesy of BrandiGirlBlog.com,
A GREAT color palette site
Here are some creative ways to go about it:
Little Black Dress (LBD)
Opt for a simple, classic style that suits your figure.
Then, change the look of it for different occasions, like add red shoes and red lipstick for the office holiday party…
…or a pink satin jacket for New Years’ Eve.
Sapphire Cocktail Dress
A great alternative to the LBD, a sapphire (or other dark blue) cocktail dress is perfect three seasons a year. Pair it with black, flesh tone, or metallic shoes, and add coordinating accessories.
Red Cocktail Dress
A bit bold, but certainly festive. Just don’t overdo it. Pair it with black, winter white, or metallic accessories to keep the focus on the dress.
Emerald Green Cocktail Dress
Another bold color, emerald green can be elegant if you pair it with black, metallic, or other eye-catching accessories. Just skip the red accents this time of year – you don’t want to look like an elf.
Winter White Cocktail Suit
Not a fan of cocktail dresses? Try a head-turning winter white cocktail suit instead. Go monochromatic, head-to-toe white, or add pops of holiday color with your lipstick, jewelry, or other accessories.
Lacy White Top
The great thing about evening pieces is that you can mix-and-match them in a variety of ways. For example, pair a lacy white top with a black skirt or pants for a holiday party at a friend’s house…
Or, go all out by pairing it with a sapphire or ruby colored taffeta skirt for a Christmas ball or holiday evening wedding. You’re only limited by your imagination.
Metallic Sequined Evening Top
Nothing says par-t-a-a-y like metallic sequins. Wear them with skirts, pants, or even under a business suit for an easy evening look.
See how easy this is?
Again, using the holiday color palette as your guide, think about what’s appropriate for various situations, and then mix and match to get the most out of your cocktail pieces.
Notice how I recycled various clothing and accessory elements in these examples, just as you should when you dress. It’s the only way to get the most out of this (usually) little-worn part of your wardrobe.
Cocktail Attire Accessories
So what cocktail accessories should you have on hand? Here’s what I’ve found suits most women:
- A metallic evening bag (silver or gold, whichever suits your skin tone best)
- A pearl clutch
- Metallic heeled sandals
- Statement jewelry (can be rhinestone)
- Evening jacket or cape
Again, you don’t need a lot, and you certainly don’t need to spend a lot. You just need versatile pieces that work with a variety of outfits.
So when’s the best time to shop for cocktail attire?
Right after the new year, when stores are trying to get rid of their remaining holiday inventory. But you can still score some good deals throughout the season – just check your favorite department store website or follow them on Facebook to get notified of sales in your news feed.
So what’s the bottom line?
Demand as much from your cocktail attire as you do the rest of your wardrobe. Buy pieces you can mix and match for versatility, and use the colors of the season for styling inspiration. With a little imagination, you’ll be surprised by how many looks you can create.
Diana Pemberton-Sikes is an image consultant and author of Signature Style Blueprint, an ecourse that shows women how to create a signature style that suits their budget, body shape, and clothing personality. Get Signature Style Blueprint today.