I don’t know about everyone else, but I am a separates kind of girl when it comes to really any occasion. I’ve tried dresses and they just do not work on my body shape, it’s tragic and awful. Nonetheless, I have accepted and embraced it. The French will tell you, a mix’n’match wardrobe is the best kind of all.
The problem is that the fashion industry has trained us to think “holiday party” demands slinky satin, silk, and velvet dresses that are not only impractical for the weather outside but can turn into a complete disaster when faced with messy foodstuffs and the natural inclination to put on a little winter weight. (I know it’s not just me. It’s pie season, after all, and who doesn’t love pie?) Who can wear four-inch stilettos with pointed heels, a silk sleeveless dress, have perfect hair, and not break several bones and/or be afflicted with severe frostbite?
Well, readers, I have a practical solution. Just wear separates. Especially embellish those separates with sweaters, gloves, hats (everyone else has hat-head, after all), big wool socks, boots, and a coat or two. No angry mob will come after you for wanting to be warm, comfortable, and pretty around the holidays. As an added bonus for those of us who dream they have more of an hourglass rather than the Twiggy revival figure that is so de riguer today, separates flatter your figure everywhere that is deserving of flattery.
It’s entirely possible to throw together a wonderful holiday outfit from what you wear everyday or would buy normally. So, dear readers, I have compiled a sampling of some of my favorite holiday season-appropriate separates for you in a range of prices, depending on your tastes and fullness of wallet. After all, sometimes a girl has to treat herself!
$15.00 Old Navy silk pleated blouse in burgundy and black: pair this type of sleek but structured top with a flowy circle skirt and understated flats for a classically dainty holiday outfit.
$24.50 Old Navy sleeveless top in cream with black ribbon accent: pair with a slim skirt and cardigan with classic jewelry, especially if you're trying to impress or convince new friends (read: possible in-laws?) of your maturity and grace.
$31.99 NYC Love Letters sheer polka-dotted navy blouse with shirred ¾ sleeves and waist: for a slinky, sexy layered 1940s femme fatale-style holiday, try this top with a waffled 3/4-length sleeve shirt for warmth and a muted pencil skirt.
$39.95 (sale!) Deletta silk jersey top with banded puff sleeves and attached bow/tie at neck, in black, yellow, or blue: a little simplicity never hurt anyone.
$84.00 Lifetime Collective “Rodeway” sweater in burgundy with red shoulder accent and pockets at waist: stay warm and cheery with the family this winter! After all, if you're stuck with an insufferable extended family for a couple of days, a little cranberry-colored joy can do a lot to help your mental health.
$95.00 Wonderlust “swirly” long sleeve top with keyhole back, puff sleeves, and cuffs. For a slightly more outlandish look, pair this with a bright yellow or light blue pant or skirt, and shoes in a third color. Is that a little alien cap gun or an angel's bugle in the corner? Who cares when all eyes are on you at that Christmas dinner? Also in grey.
$19.99 Bus Stop pleated wrap skirt in brown with pink or cream bottom color-block. I fell in love with this skirt the moment I saw it--wrap skirts give you the appearance of absolute effortlessness, and the understated color scheme of this one looks just like chocolate and candies. In fact, I just ordered this as a little present for finals--rest assured I will report on how it works out!
$24.99 La Redoute pleated folk skirt with border motif, in “Bordeaux”. This bright jewel tone is perfect for the holidays with looking, as some of our mothers might say, harlot-y. A wider skirt shape accentuates your natural curves and is significantly more comfortable for your expanding waistline during big dinners than a pair of pants...unless you feel okay about wearing drawstring jammies to Grandma's house.
$59.00 Griffin Paris tweed belted skirt with faux leather underskirt and decorated tie at waist. If you want a little punk-rock in your holidays, check out this skirt with its contrasting fabrics and swingy shape. Pair it with brown textured stockings and brown shoes or vice-versa, and get creative with a color-coordinated outfit!
$126.90 (final sale!) Daryl K wool pencil skirt with curved seams at front. I am CAPTIVATED by this skirt. Too bad the little voice in the back of my mind keeps telling me that it is never to be. For the rest of you, if you are blessed with a lovely nipped-in waist and shapely legs, the kind that pencil skirts make smokin' hot, snap up this puppy for a holiday event that demands a little sexy sophistication.
Take a peep at Anthropologie's crazy fourteen-button heftily detailed pants, in grey or black at $158.00 a pop. With piped contrast seams, the grey version looks like an ace in the hole for a particularly important presentation AND celebratory drinks out on the town.
$263.40 Day Birger et Mikkelsen A-line ivory skirt with red and black floral appliqué. Say you're from a primarily Scandinavian family, or just like to think about countries that actually have reindeer and Saint Nick. This skirt looks like a bucketful of an Ikea Christmas to me, with a great A-line shape to flatter any figure and lovely neutral color. Thing is, is it a one-use-only piece in your wardrobe? How else could this beauty be utilized besides during the holidays for a little dress-up?
images from oldnavy.com, busstopshop.com, shopbop.com, anthropolgie.com, net-a-porter.com, plasticlandclothing.com, us.redoute.com, paper-doll.com, and karmaroute.com.