Ask Belle: Casual Holiday Party Attire

Dec 19, 2012

Belle,

I know you’ve talked a lot about dressy holiday wear, but what about for a casual party at someone’s home?  I would like to look festive, but I imagine most of the guests will be in jeans.  Any recommendations?

Elizabeth

Sometimes a relaxed holiday party is better than a fancy one.  You get to spend time with loved ones and friends and just relax, have a cocktail and embrace the spirit of the season. Here are some thoughts on what to wear.

BCBG Cowl Neck Sweater ($148) // Michael Stars Cashmere Dress ($140) // Trouve Sequin Top ($58)

A Nice Sweater.  This sweater has a soft color, a classic shape and a little something extra.  Choosing a lovely sweater like this cowl neck, or this dolman sleeve, or this off-the-shoulder would be a stylish and relaxed choice.  Pair them with a pair of dark denim jeans and a cool boot, and the foundation of your outfit is set. (Ladies, the Ciao Bella’s are back! And in multiple colors! $139.)

I would also add a pair of pearl earrings, a cool bracelet and/or ring and some good perfume.  Just a hint of light fragrance (I like the Fresh fragrances) can make even a casual outfit feel dressed up.

A Sweater Dress.  If you’re attending a family dinner or another event where things might be just a hair dressier than casual, think about wearing a sweater dress.  If you add a pair of thick tights and some black boots, you have an outfit that is comfortable but a little nicer than jeans.  I would also add a long necklace or a scarf to complete the look.

A Sequin Top.  Want to add a little glitz to your casual affair?  How about a knit and sequin top?  Pair it with jeans or a cropped pant.  For the footwear, maybe a black velvet flat would be nice.  And for the jewelry, maybe a ring with a black stone.

Not crazy about the color blocking on this sweater (sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t)? You could try this slouchy sequin tee, this pricey but awesome DvF sequin sweater with blush trim or this wine-colored sequin top for under-$75.

Attending a casual party is also a great excuse to bring your friends a little housewarming gift. May I suggest a craft-quality pre-made cocktail like this Brandy Manhattan from Fluid Dynamics, or a sweet treat like this peppermint crunch cake (looks so good you will want to chew through the screen) and these festive whoopie pies.

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  1. The beauty of a sequined top is that it works for more dressed-up parties, too.

    Another idea: A big-ish sparkly necklace is often enough to dress up an otherwise casual outfit and tip it over from Regular to Party.

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