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Festive Outfits Without Looking Like A Christmas Tree

December 13, 2015

By Sally McGraw, alreadypretty.com

I'd say the two times of year when people fret most about their outfits are wedding season and the winter holiday season. The holidays are particularly stressful because this time of year offers so many different occasions for which you'll need special outfits: The office party, the charity gala, the ugly sweater contest, the kids' holiday concert, the big meal at your in-laws'. Since dressy party attire gets plenty of airtime, I want to focus on the middle-of-the-road holiday occasions and offer some styling ideas. If you're anything like me, the very thought of wearing head-to-toe holiday colors - be they red and green, silver and blue, or red, green and black - holds virtually no appeal. Luckily, there are lots of other ways to create festive holiday outfits.


If you're old school, you may feel like sequins, lamé, and other shiny textures should only be worn after dark ... but I'm here to tell you that incorporating them into daytime outfits is a practice sanctioned by fashion editors everywhere. For day, however, you'll want to balance any high-sparkle garments with considerably more casual attire. Think a sequined blazer, plain tee, jeans and pumps, or a cashmere sweater, sparkly skirt, tights and ankle boots. A full-on sequined dress can be toned down with a jacket and sleek boots, but I'd suggest going for a smaller sparkly piece if the occasion is relatively casual.


In summer, maxi skirts read as beachy and Boho, but if you can track down a cold weather-friendly maxi in heavy jersey, ponte, or even silk, it can be the perfect centerpiece for a moderately dressy holiday outfit. There's something about a floor-sweeping skirt that oozes elegance, especially if said skirt is in a dark solid color and has some nice weight to it. Team your skirt with a sweater shell and cropped jacket, blouse and belt, or short-ish pullover sweater. (You want to do shorter tops with skirts for balanced proportions. If you opt for a longer top, consider tucking and belting.) Two great things about winter maxis: You can secretly wear long underwear and tall boots underneath them, and many styles offer pajama-level comfort in a considerably dressier package.


Did you know that a bright, chunky bib necklace has the power to elevate any outfit? OK, it might not look fabulous with a sweatsuit or nurse's scrubs, but its powers work on virtually all other ensembles. If you're headed to a holiday gathering that's casual but a step above jeans and a plain sweater, just add a statement necklace. In fact, a statement necklace will be perfect with your jeans and plain sweater! Or try it with a cozy sweater dress and boots, a cardigan, tee, and slacks, or a tunic and leggings. Quick tip, if you opt for a button-front shirt and jeans, button the shirt all the way up and wear the necklace like a tie.

Of course, if you LOVE putting on your Santa hat or dreidel-themed sweatshirt, by all means, do! But if you're constantly searching for festive-but-relaxed holiday outfit ideas, I hope some of these will serve you well this season. Happy holidays!