Welcome to yet another holiday party season. A good friend recently said to me, "finding a dress for a holiday party is one of the most stressful things you can do." Oh, my. As it turns out, this is a pretty common feeling.
So, last weekend when I was loaning another friend some of my favorite party pieces for her work holiday gathering, I realized that there are some tried and true ways to ensure that you look incredible at the party, in the photos afterward and most importantly, in your own mind.
1. Focus on your feet.
Depending on your perspective, you interpreted this one as, "your shoes make the outfit" or "make sure you wear comfortable shoes." I meant both. Beautiful shoes get a great deal of attention when out socializing, so take this opportunity to get some warm fuzzies from your friends and co-workers by wearing a pair that make a statement. But, be sure that statement isn't, "boy, I wish I could dance but my feet hurt too much in these shoes." This isn't the prom, folks. We should all be able to wear a great shoe without complaining all night long. They need to look good enough to make an impact, but not too good that we are in tears. By the way, this pair from Aerosoles has a rubber sole destined to keep you going up and down Seattle's biggest hills, so there's that.
2. Wear something that you are excited about.
It doesn't matter how many compliments you receive if you don't feel good about what you are wearing. If you are going for a new dress, make sure it's the one that flatters your body, is functional for the evening and makes you feel like the best dressed person in the room (or at least in the top 3). If you are wearing something you already own, try styling it differently from the last time you wore it or buy a new accessory to take it in another direction. Often a statement necklace or a different belt paired with styling your hair in an unexpected way can bring new life to an existing piece. Or, take a hint from my friend, and borrow something you've long admired from someone else.
3. Make an Impact.
Do you really want to be just one of the lovely ladies in the room in a nice little black dress? Take advantage of this opportunity to wear something that communicates who you are. Whether it is your jewelry (statement earrings, perhaps?), your dress (how about vintage inspired?) or your shoes (we've covered this one), people should have a glimpse into who you are thanks to your ensemble.
As someone who had ostrich feathers on her wedding dress, I am all about the ostrich feather skirt from Club Monaco. But, please do not misunderstand, a statement for you could be textured pants or a silver kitten heel. It doesn't have to be a loud statement to be a statement.
4. Consider the temperature
The most incredible dress in the world cannot stand up to a subpar sweater thrown over the top of it. Please take a moment to consider that you only look good if you feel good. And, if you are freezing or if your feet hurt, you will not be feeling good. Might I make a few suggestions? I often find that a scarf is enough to keep me warm and still allow my outfit to take center stage. How about upping the game by wearing a faux fur infinity scarf? (I got mine from Foxglove. They aren't shown online yet, but you can email a request.) Another option is to try a lightweight leather jacket that can be paired nicely with a bold skirt or pants. Soft sweaters, such as angora, can work well or beaded cardigans to ensure your cover up is not bringing your outfit down. When shopping, I also like to keep my eyes peeled for dresses with sleeves to avoid this situation all together.
5. Above all, make sure you look like… you.
For those of us who made it to our high school proms, it's not uncommon to also remember feeling uncomfortable or out of place in over the top outfits. In contrast, a wedding dress is about as formal as many women ever get and I have yet to hear someone say they didn't feel beautiful in theirs. The lesson here is to find that happy medium. You should take advantage of this (dare I say?) rare opportunity to wear something super dressy, feminine and fun. Don't be afraid to wade out of your comfort zone. But, in the end, you should feel like the best version of yourself, not a subpar version of someone else.
Let the party begin!