Holiday Party Style Guide

December 12, 2008

The holiday season is a time of joy and excitement, but it also can be a time of stress! Work life, social life, family life all seem to be jam packed!!! Oftentimes, we’re just trying to check off our ‘to do’ list and follow through with our commitments. Hopefully, this Holiday Party Style Guide will bring some ease (and cheer) to your hectic holiday season.


It is not uncommon to have to work the midnight oil during the final months of each year and yet we want to or feel compelled to attend (or at least stop-by) several holiday parties. Going straight from work seems to be the best time management option. But figuring out what to wear that is convenient for the work day and yet appropriate for the party can be a challenge. One simple solution is to create a one-color silhouette. Not like this, but the way in which designer Tomas Maier brilliantly demonstrates for Bottega Veneta’s Fall/Winter Collection. The colors are sophisticated and the cut of the dresses are clean, simple and extremely figure flattering. Plus the jersey material is wrinkle-free and comfortable. These ensembles already look festive yet not over done. Perfect to wear from day to evening!

Bottega Veneta – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Bottega Veneta – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Bottega Veneta – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Another effortless solution to go from corporate to cocktail would be to wear a long casual cardigan sweater or sweater vest over an evening dress as designer’s Vera Wang and Diane von Furstenberg display below. Wear the sweater or vest during the day to tone-down the dress and make it look less formal; and then take it off for the party. Presto! You’re all set to go!

Vera Wang Lavender Label – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Diane von Furstenberg – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira


To continue along with the idea of creating uncomplicated and hassle-free holiday party attire so that you can be more relaxed and merrier, try simply adding one special piece to an outfit. No matter whether you make it the top or the bottom, one distinctive piece really CAN make a difference to your whole look. But be sure to keep the opposing half super simple. Here are some samples of fun and flirty blouses that add instant glamour.

Oscar de la Renta – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Tuleh – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Doo.Ri – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Or try keeping your top a solid color in a form-fitting simple shape while all the glitz is displayed on the bottom half of the body. And, no, this will not make your backside or thighs look larger, as long as, the shape of the skirt is figure flattering. Below are some suggestions.

Isaac Mizrahi – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Lela Rose – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Oscar de la Renta – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira


It is so easy to forget about what to wear over our outfits to complete our holiday look. Oftentimes, we’re running out the door and we grab whatever is closest within our reach. When possible, take an additional moment to figure out what outerwear would look best with your holiday outfit. Make sure it works cohesively with your ensemble and doesn’t take away or distract from it. Coats with classic cuts in complimentary solid colors are the most versatile. However, sometimes it is a great idea to have the coat be the “Wow!” factor in your holiday look. This is ideal for those of you that already have that special coat you got on sale two winters ago and never found a thing to wear with it or this would also be an ideal option if you are going straight from the office to a party. Instant glam!

Tuleh – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Celine – FW08 – Style – Daniele Oberrauch

Barbara Tfank – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Bill Blass – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira


The color black is not my first recommendation when creating a holiday outfit for a multitude of reasons which will be discussed in future posts, however, it is a fact that many women already have a lot of black pieces in their closet and/or they feel most comfortable buying black colored clothing on their own. The idea here is try to reduce your stress so using what you already have and trying to demonstrate ways to make it look more festive is a goal. Two keys to successfully wearing black to a party are to have the items fit extremely well (get them tailored when necessary) and to have them be unique and uncommon. So many party-goers will already be wearing black at least your ensemble could be distinct and uber figure flattering. You’re worth it!

Lanvin – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Isaac Mizrahi – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

MaxMara – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Valentino – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Vera Wang – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Luca Luca – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira


Red can be a challenging color to wear. But it does reflect holiday cheer in an instant. Choosing a shade of red that highlights your skin tone is a surefire way to triumph. Deeper and darker shades of red flatter most women’s skin tone the best as Bryan Bradley of Tuleh beautifully demonstrates below. Apple red, fire truck red, cranberry, maroon…have fun with it but choose wisely.

Tuleh – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Giambattista Valli – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Missoni – FW08 – Style – Marcio Madeira


The bag, the jewelry, the shoes – selecting the final touches can make or break a holiday outfit. But don’t fret! Simply make sure that any and all accessories are adding value to an outfit and only choose those that do so. Sometimes this requires more bold accessories like a sexy and flirty shoe because the clothing is more minimal while other times a basic black pump with black opaque tights will do the trick because the clothing already has enough pizzazz to it.

This same value-added philosophy holds true for all accessories including hair, makeup and nails. When you’re in a crunch for time and you’re trying to get out the door in a hurry, the simplest way to make sure your look is complete is to choose uncomplicated solutions with great results. To add a little oomph to your hair try perhaps something as simple and fast as parting your hair a different way. If it is always parted in the middle, try parting it on the side; or if it is always parted on the right side, try parting it on the left side. You may be surprised at the positive difference this can make. Fellow guests will know something is different with you buy won’t be able to quite put their finger on it.

Also, try an easy makeup trick to brighten up your complexion. Add a few strokes of shimmer to highlight cheekbones and eyes (before applying powder) and you’re good to go! Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown supply wonderful products for this type of makeup technique. Another way to add the finishing touch to your holiday look is to perhaps paint your nails a lovely dark rich magenta or deep raspberry shade; or keep the nails clear, cleaned and buffed. Choose whichever option is easiest and best compliments your holiday season attire.

Bottega Veneta – FW08 – Style – Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

Valentino – FW08 – Style – Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

Tuleh – FW08 – Style – Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

Donna Karan – FW08 – Style – Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

Valentino – FW08 – Style – Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

The goal with the Holiday Party Style Guide was to hopefully eliminate (or at least lessen) one more area of potential stress to your already hectic holidays. Remember simple is most often better. But do try to add some sparkle to your holiday party outfits to make them extra special, whether it be through the use of color or by highlighting the top half of your body or the bottom half. Or if all else falls short and time is of the essence, at least add some flair with your outerwear or accessories. Setting aside a little bit of extra time to get your holiday party outfits together perhaps will be just the gift that you need to give to yourself and to help set the mood for an enjoyable and celebratory season. Happy Holidays to all!!!

Touch base when you have a moment. Let our readers know what you decided to do and how it went!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Kristina,
    Bravo! Fantastic post and pictures. You are my style guru.

    The Bottega Veneta dresses are AMAZING.

    I love all your tips.

    Btw, I found a forest green top after I read your last post about..I am wearing it with a black fitted skirt. Great look?


  • Wow! What a beautiful blog. And I love all the photos you used in your guide.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Cathy – I am so glad you liked the post. I love the Bottega dresses too! A forest green top with ash blonde hair color (viewed your lovely picture on your website 🙂 ) would look stunning! Great choice.

    Cassandra – Welcome! I am really pleased that you liked the post!