Ho! Ho! Ho! The jolliest season of the year is upon us, and with it comes plenty of opportunities to break the rules. This is the time when you may have just one more slice of fruitcake at the office party or splurge on one more gift for your friends and family. And while some indiscretions may be overlooked in the spirit of the holidays, you should never, ever get too wrapped up in the season to forget your sense of style. The holidays have long been known for the ability to make perfectly reasonable people abandon all sense of taste and class in favor of light-up earrings and spangled sweaters. And while we can never approve of that type of dressing, there are ways to incorporate a festive palette into your wardrobe without coming off like a Christmas tree.
Many people shy away from the color green around this time of year, in fear of being classified as one of the BHD (Bad Holiday Dressers). Yet this luxurious jewel tone needs to be trotted out and celebrated, especially when holly and pine trees so decadently deck the hall. The trick is all in how you wear it. An emerald green is regally festive when it comes in a simply cut cocktail gown. Subtle touches like a sweetheart neckline, bustled back or ruched bodice is all the embellishment needed to allow the rich shade to stand on its own. Oscar de la Renta‘s sleeveless number is the epitome of grace and achingly feminine, without the slightest detection of cheese. Adrianna Papell‘s version may be long-sleeved but still embodies a subtle sophistication. Keep accessories and jewelry minimal to make this look truly work, and above all, stay away from any red!
Red is the yin to a Christmas green’s yang and because of this, never shall the two meet. But like a deep, forest green, a bright, cheerful red is an integral part of the holiday season. It just needs to be carefully moderated to avoid looking like a Radio City Music Hall rockette. A great way to punch up the doldrums of a winter wardrobe is by infusing a shot of red into your outerwear, such as a perky little peacoat. Wunderkind played with heavy layers in their take on the runway, but you can make the look your own simply by starting with a basic like this holly jolly piece by Marc by Marc Jacobs. Dress it up down depending on your agenda but always remember: keep it away from any green!
The true neutral of the holiday season is the metallic. Whether silver or gold, these scintillating shades can carry you from a candelit Vespers service to the countdown of New Year’s Eve. But as with everything else this season, walking the line between tasteful and tacky is a challenge. Avoid being the ball dropped in Times Square by limiting your shimmer and shine to one area of an outfit. Often a sparkly bottomâ€”like a well-cut mini skirtâ€”can add polish and panache to just about any holiday ensemble. Blugirl pairs a glimmering gold with a winter white for a shows-topping head to toe look. Off the runway, something like this little ditty by party girl connoisseur Stacey Bendet for Alice + Olivia is sure to make heads turn with a simple black or white top.
And last but certainly not least, we discuss the most foul and horrific creature ever to be associated with the season. No, not the Abominable Snowman; something even worse: the Christmas Sweater. Made famous by our mothers and grandmothers who felt that, after reaching a certain age they could give up everything they had ever known about style, and actually spend money on a garment with a beaded Nativity scene or a sequined Rudolph face. Well, this movement needs to stop with our generation since there is just no place for these sweaters in any well-dressed scene (outside of the occasional fun-poking Pub Crawl). If one craves a patterned sweater to burrow into during the winter chill, a MUCH less offensive option is the Fair Isle. Blending the aesthetic of grandma’s knitting with a cool, ski lodge vibe, the Fair Isle sweater provides its fair share of winter animals, if that’s your fancy (see: the reindeer of D&G‘s nubby version), as well as the occasional snowflake here and there to get you into the spirit if the season. No puffy paint, no sequins, no Nativity scene. Try gifting a few of the more subtle options, like this chic number from Paul & Joe, to mom or Aunt Flo this year. If we all make a concerted effort, together we can rid the world of Christmas sweaters, and all the other holiday faux pas that this article hopes to remedy. Stay stylish this season and happy holidays!
1. Green Dress
Runway: Oscar de la Renta RTW Fall 2010
â€¨Real Way: Adrianna Papell Ruched Ponte Knit Sheath Dress $64.90
2. Red Coat
Runway: Wunderkind RTW Fall 2010
â€¨Real Way: Marc by Marc Jacobs Marlene Wool Jacket $348.60
3. Gold Skirt
Runway: Blugirl RTW Fall 2010 â€¨
Real Way: Alice + Olivia Mayra Metallic Skirt $198
4. Fair Isle Sweater
Runway: D&G RTW Fall 2010 â€¨
Real Way: Paul & Joe Fair Isle Wool-Blend Cardigan $425
Runway Photos:NY Mag
Image Layout: Aisha Shawn Creach