Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit: Holiday Dressing Edition

It’s official.  The holidays are upon us.  You’re not ready.  I’m shocked to learn it’s not September.  But whether we’re ready or not, they’re here.  And we need to get dressed for them.  So let’s take some reader questions.

Hi Abra:

I usually wear jeans to Thanksgiving dinner and maybe a nice sweater.  I thought it would be easy to just add a cooler pair of pants or jeans to dress up without being dressy.  Can you help me find something that would work?

Thank you for your help, Raya

My first thought was AG’s velvet ankle jeans.  I like the dark green color for something a bit unique.  These $75 burgundy velvet jeans are a good choice, as are these $20 Old Navy velvet jeans in a trove of colors.

Anthropologie always has a selection of cool pants.  I like these Kintra wide leg pants, these burgundy pants with a red side stripe, and these yellow silk wide leg pants.

Other places to look for different, unique styles?  Boden.  H&M.  Express.


Can you help me find a pair of black statement earrings?  I want something really dramatic, but they need to cost under-$20.  Everything I’ve seen costs $40 or more.


I looked around and found a few choices in your price range.

These wrapped double link earrings from Express are a good option.  They’re simple, but not boring.  I also found these $5 tassel earrings at Shein.  I like the decorated studs at the top.  But my favorite pair are these resin drops with crystal accents from Zulily.  They’re very sophisticated, but also bold.

Hello, Abra,

My Mom insists on holiday sweaters for our Christmas portraits.  I bought my kids cute ones with candy canes, but I cannot find anything for myself that is not hideous.  Please save me from a sweater with blinking holiday lights or some other ugly sweater atrocity.

Your blog is my salvation.  I’m the only woman in an office of 22 scientists.  Thank you for knowing how real offices function.


Christmas sweaters, heaven help me.  Kyle has one that has a Santa gnome on the front and says, “Take Me Gnome Tonight,” that makes an appearance every winter.  But at least he doesn’t force me to try and coordinate.  So let’s see what we can find.

I don’t suppose you could convince your mother that sophisticated Fair Isle is holiday attire?  No, probably not.  Maybe a fun holiday stripe?  No, okay.

For traditional Christmas sweaters, I don’t mind this Karen Kane sweater or this Land’s End sweater.  But if it were me, I’d don this ivory sweater with metallic snowflakes.


Can you help me with a makeup question?  I want to learn how to do a dramatic eye look for a Christmas party, but I don’t know where to start.  I need a video tutorial and an inexpensive product list.  I’m trying to avoid hiring Glam Squad.


The trick to learning how to do your own makeup is practice.  So once you find a look that you like, you’ll want to take it out for a test run a few weeks before.  I usually schedule a date or drinks with friends to give it a first try.

I have three places that I always go for makeup videos: Lisa Eldridge, Charlotte Tillbury, and Bobbi Brown.

Lisa has every look imaginable.  Charlotte has mastered feminine glamour.  And Bobbi Brown can create anything in 15-minutes.

For a holiday party, I like to look like a seriously more glam version of myself.  This Charlotte Tillbury Confident Eyes look has a dramatic eye in shades of purple.  So it’s impactful without being overwhelming if you don’t glam out often.

The original CT palette runs $75, but this Makeup Revolution palette has the three mauve-purple shades you need to get the job done, and it’s $15.  Add an NYX black eye pencil and a volume lash mascara, and you’re done.


I’m a party planner, and I always work New Year’s Eve.  My hotel requires that we wear black dresses, but this year we’re all going to wear over-the-top shoes to get into the spirit.  I found two or three pairs that I loved, but they were out of my price range.  What do you have in the <$150 range?


My first find are these ruby slipper-style high heels from Badly Mischka with an ankle strap.  They also make these silver crystal pumps that have a disco-ball feel to them.  Also on my list, these Jeffrey Campbell ankle boots with black crystals all over them.

Those are the ones I liked.  The best way to shop for something like this is to decide on a style of shoe and a color, and then go to Shopstyle, and use their search engine to narrow it down.

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  1. Amber says:

    Re: statement earrings – Have you looked at Charming Charlie? It’s like Claire’s for grownups and my favorite place for costume jewelry. You can search their website by color. Here are some black earrings I liked:

    November 13, 2018/Reply
  2. Ruchita says:

    I also like the following YouTube channels for drugstore makeup tutorials.

    Emily Noel
    Julie Dawn Olsen
    Samantha Jane
    Allie Glines

    November 13, 2018/Reply
  3. RR says:

    For Christmas shirts, that snowflake option is not horrible. Also check some online women’s boutiques maybe. I bought the sweatshirt below last yaer from Mindy Mae’s & wear it with a christmas colored plaid flannel underneath. They do have some tees that you could pair with a cardigan.

    November 13, 2018/Reply
  4. Denise says:

    Oh my oh my, those red heels are giving me life.

    Now I’m going to have to rent the long black dress I’ve been eyeing for my holiday party, in order to wear those beauties with it!

    November 14, 2018/Reply
  5. MK says:

    For Christmas sweaters, try Loft! I always see pretty Christmas sweater options that one would not be embarrassed to wear!

    November 14, 2018/Reply
    • RR says:

      Thanks – I just ordered that reindeer sweater!

      November 14, 2018/Reply
  6. Meredith says:

    Regarding the statement earrings question: My favorite source lately has been Amazon. I’ve bought several fringe earrings that are very trendy now but I’m sure will go out of style in a season or two. Definitely read the reviews because it seems like some are better quality than others. I’ve bought and loved the following:

    November 14, 2018/Reply
  7. Nancy M. says:

    To MF: I hear you on the 22 scientists that don’t know how real offices function. It’s like they think that in science, professionalism isn’t required. It drives me crazy sometimes. I also escape into this blog for some reality!

    November 15, 2018/Reply