The Annual Conundrum

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It’s difficult at times for me to think that already a year has passed since I began sharing with you my style and fashion insights (whether you like it or not)!  We’ve looped back too quickly to another holiday season, and at times I find it hard to remember what has even happened in this past year or what feels like merely a gust of wind that has blown by me; but, nevertheless, I am happy to bring you, again, my “Christmas conundrum” article – full of dressing for holiday occasions tips and suggestions.

The situation:  Another annual work party.

The solution:

While it would be nice if we all received 3-4 weeks off around the holidays to relax and enjoy our surroundings, it is not likely that that will be happening anytime soon unless you are a fortunate entrepreneur or well, happen to win the lottery. Therefore, when the time comes each year for the annual holiday party, it’s important to have something that steps up your look a notch or two, yet remains office appropriate.

You want to appear with elegance and grace? Well, look no further than sequins and lace! As a woman, there is something about slipping into a lace skirt or sequined anything that makes you instantly feel a bit more glamorous than usual.  After wearing suit pants, jackets, and skirts along with the traditional button down oxford to the office every day, lace offers the feeling of romance and delicacy while sequins can add an instant surge of va-va-voom and put a little sparkle in your step, literally!

So, this year, add one or the other (not both) to your office party look! One of the simplest ways is merely wearing a lace or sequin tank over a shell and under your suit jacket; but, if you’re feeling a bit more dare devil and want to try something a tad more bold, opt for a high-waisted lace skirt, maybe tucked into a silk or satin blouse, or a sequined sheath dress to make a statement. Just remember to not go too overboard on a good thing. Keep the rest of your outfit simple and let your feature piece speak for itself. You never know what adding a little sparkle to your outfit can do!

The situation:  The family get-together…across the country.

The solution:

Last year, I let you in on my family get-togethers and all its glory – the games, food, and fashion; however, this year for the first time, I will be spending most of my holiday season doing one of my favorite things…traveling! In just a couple of weeks, I will be in Montreal for work and soon after, jet-setting my way to Seattle to spend Christmas this year with my sister, brother-in-law, and the cutest little 1 year old nephew a girl could ask for!

Therefore, being able to spend copious amounts of time in my closet looking for just the right thing to wear isn’t feasible, and let’s not forget about the importance of comfort (and as always, style) while sitting for hours on a plane only to arrive at your destination, wanting to look refreshed and put together.

Normally, I would say dress in a trendy oversized sweater with your favorite pair of Ponte pants and boots and you’ll be good-to-go; however, this year, since I will be landing and going straight into a meeting, there won’t be any time for a change of wardrobe.

If you’re holiday travel plans are looking anything like mine, might I suggest leaning towards an item in which some viewed as a mere fad and others a cute trend: the jumpsuit. I know, I know…so many jumpsuits are made for summer occasions, but there still are quite a few options out there for stylish jumpsuits that don’t require a 19 year old body. My suggestion would be to choose one with a contrasting top vs. bottom so you are given the appearance of separate pieces with the ease and comfort of one. I also suggest (and always will) belts! If it doesn’t come with one to help define your waist, add one! Again, belts can do wonders for a body so use them! They also can add a bit of extra punch to an ensemble with animal prints, patterns, sequins, lace…the list goes on and on!

Peplum pieces have never looked so good and traveling or not, make the perfect holiday outfit. Whether you’re wearing a peplum inspired blouse, skirt, or dress, it will add a flare to your wardrobe that can only be viewed as fabulous. Different body types should obviously choose different peplum pieces but the options are endless the outcome always stunning.

And last but not least, my favorite additions to holiday outfit are tights and bold jewelry! Glittered, lace, pinstripe, opaque, colored, sheer….etc! Options are endless with tights and they’ve become so popular over the past few years again that it’s not difficult to find numerous styles at a single retailer. Since jewelry is something worn year round, I like to take my jewelry style a notch up at the holidays. Extra bold, extra shine and extra glam! Go online for inspiration, and then hunt your favorite stores or one of my favorite places, antique shops, for your finds! Wearing any of these trends while adding your own style twist will surely put you on the best-dressed list!

Check out my Pinterest boards for more inspiration!

BBQ Season! – Dress Accordingly

As odd as this may sound, there are certain smells I love taking in and can put a smile on my face.  These scents range anywhere from the smell of sweet corn to fresh rain on asphalt to the whiff of Pine Lake get when driving uptown.  This past holiday weekend brought one of my favorites with family gathered and grill lit – the summer BBQ.

If your family barbeques are anything like my family’s, it’s all about spending time with loved ones, catching up on life, and chowing down on good food.  It is a time to be comfortable, relax and forget about your day-to-day worries.  Now, simply because a family barbeque allows you the precedent to dress comfortably, I strongly believe there is never a time, when in the company of others, that one should look sloppy.  Your family generally consists of those you love the most, so why wouldn’t you want to put on something better than that t-shirt they’ve already seen numerous times along with those sneakers which don’t match your worn out shorts?

I beg of you to review your wardrobe and think of ways to step it up without taking you out of your comfort zone.  Below are three different looks often found at barbeques; find the one that sounds most like you, and read on to see how you can step it up a notch to easily become one of the better dressed attendee’s…

1.  Old t-shirt, denim shorts, and flip flops – this is a classic look that can easily be made chic.  Instead of throwing on the old t-shirt you wear while cleaning and exercising, opt for a fitted tee or classic button down shirt.  Just make sure it doesn’t come in unisex sizing.  If it does, you remain underdressed and need to re-think your choice.  Instead of faded denim shorts, simply switch to a pair with clean lines.  My favorite shorts are those with a cuffed bottom and trouser pockets.  Tailored shorts still offer comfort with a put together feel.  Finally, leave the Havaianas at home and slip on a sandal not meant for the beach. Try one with a slight half-inch heel to give you just a bit more height.

Asos

Gwenyth Paltrow

2.  Jeans, tank top, flats – this look can be one of the easiest to step up a notch!  Simply make sure that your denim jeans have a good wash.  A jean’s wash is the coloring the denim is dyed to be.  A few examples include: stone wash – a light colored jean, dirty wash – one that contains a bit of fading where the underlying color is of a yellow/brown tint, and the more extreme acid wash, just to give you a throwback 80’s visual! For this season, have fun and try a paid of neon overdyed jeans – sweet coral, flaming red, vibrant yellow! Invest in a pair of denim that fits you well, and has a dark wash, which is flattering on all.  Just as the wash makes all the difference in denim, the type of fabric can make all the difference in a tank top.  Skip wearing that cheap, cotton, spaghetti strap tank top, and choose one that flatters your figure and flows well.  Fabrics such as silks and rayon fall over the body nicely and are lightweight to help keep you cool.  Go ahead and keep the flats! Just choose the pair in your closet with a bit of fashion flare such as added jewels or animal print.

Asos

Peer Pressure

Tika Sumpter

3.  Skirt, printed blouse, heels – to step up this dressier look but still remain casual, simply switch to the skirt’s sister, the dress.  One of my favorites this summer is the maxi dress.  Maxi dresses are in stores everywhere, by popular demand, and are available in tons of different cuts, fabrics, and prints.  Choose from strapless, halter, racer-back, crisscross, and classic strap options.  Pair your dress with this season’s favorite heel, the wedge, and you’ll be comfortable and stylish for hours.

Oasis

Whistles

BCBG

Remember accessories speak loudly and can transform and outfit on their own.  Add a fedora, floppy hat, or fascinator for some extra punch.  A nice pair of earrings compliment any look and a necklace dresses up simple necklines.

Wherever you’re barbequing and whoever you’re with, challenge yourself to step out of the box and step up your look!