On a recent Saturday night, I was standing in front of my closet trying to decide what to wear to a holiday party, ever so slightly vexed that all my winter clothes and shoes seemed to emanate an air of practicality. My aversion toward high heels means that I own not a single pair of sparkly pumps, and any dress I have that could be described as “fun!” is cotton, sleeveless, often floral, and indisputably designed for summertime. I’m loath to invest in fanciful winter items because the season in which they’re appropriate (a.k.a. holiday party season, which is essentially six weeks out of the year) is so short. However–and this is a big however–it’s simultaneously one of the MOST EXCITING periods during which to get dressed. So what’s a gal who tries to be thoughtful about cost-per-wear on new wardrobe additions but yearns to dress like a human present supposed to do!?
I challenged myself to answer that question with another question: What are some easy tricks for making clothes you already have look festive? Below is a visual illustration of some ideas I came up with, if you’d like to join me in testing them out, plus three holiday party outfit ideas to go along with them.
Trick #1: Festoon Yourself With a Festive Collar
If you type “removable lace collar” into the search box on Etsy, you will be rewarded with multiple pages of neck doily delights, befitting of the finest royal baby at their christening even though most are under $20. The idea of doing so in the first place came to me when I happened upon this photo of Princess Diana and promptly thought to myself, now that’s festive. Then I spent nearly an hour Googling black dresses with lace collars until I realized I was missing the point, the point being that the collar–not the dress–was the source of this outfit’s festiveness. Get your hands on one of those, and you’ll have yourself an instant oatmeal recipe for party-ready attire, even if the things you’re wearing it with are as winter-basic as jeans and a sweater.
Trick #2: Swap Out Your Regular Cardigan Buttons for ~Sparkly~ Cardigan Buttons
I actually stole this trick from my mom, whose recent response to falling in love with a Miu Miu cardigan featuring sparkly rhinestone buttons was not to buy said cardigan (its price was prohibitive), but rather to order a pack of sparkly rhinestone buttons for $10 and sew them onto a sweater she already owned. The result was a garment that practically smelled like eggnog it was so freaking festive, plus the bonus satisfaction of making an old item of clothing feel brand new.
Trick #3: Add Suspenders and Stir
Now that I know you can snag a pair of black suspenders for $7 and attach them to ANY PAIR OF PANTS makes the fact that I have yet to wear some to a winter soirée sting with ludicrousness. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on the opportunity to look so dapper it might make your eyeballs itch, truly, but this is the season I’ll correct that grave error. Catch me bouncing my suspended knees to the tune of “Jingle Bell Rock” in T-minus eight days, dazzling my family members with a new and improved definition of holiday zest.