Trim Your Outfit: Dress for the Holidays
Issue   |   Wed, 12/07/2011 - 02:28
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Use bright accessories and seasonal embellishments to spice up a holiday outfit.

As we enter into the last month of the year, we’ve gotten that much closer to the greatly-anticipated four weeks of winter vacation that are soon to come. Of course, with the holiday season and time off come many holiday parties and nights out, which means dressing for the occasion. Whether it’s that massive meal with the family or late-night party, you want to be wearing the right outfit. Check out a few suggestions that might be able to help you and your soon-to-be-full calendar of events.

The Feasts
One of the things we all look forward to the most over the holidays is, of course, the food. From the family reunions to the many lunch dates with friends, eating will definitely be a very pleasurable focus of many of our holiday experiences. I know I love being stuffed silly, but the after-effects (that suddenly-rounded tummy, the uncomfortably tight pants, the rapidly constricting clothes) and the feeling that my clothes are hugging every curve (not in a good way) are things I’d like to avoid. Luckily, there are easy “feast until you drop” outfits that don’t resort to the baggiest t-shirt and loose sweat pants we have for those times we want to gorge ourselves while still looking great.

Stretchy pants will be your best friends. From leggings or jeggings that don’t constrict your waist to jeans or slacks with those handy stretchy waistbands, these pants can be a big help as you approach that stage we fondly call “food coma.” As you curl up on the couch or nearest open space to wait it out, it’s better to do it in comfort. Plus, you won’t have to sacrifice being comfortable for being presentable. Whether adding to the festive air with printed leggings or staying safe with black, your waist will definitely thank you for that stretchy band. Skirts with the same kind of waistbands are also great pieces to turn to for your massive meal.

While stretchy will work well for the lower half, it’s probably better to stay away from stretchy, fitted dresses and sweaters. They might feel comfortable, but some will show off every bit of the new bump your stomach has acquired once the meal is done with. Shirts and dresses that don’t emphasize the stomach and waist are a comfortable way to go. You can go with a flowy, colorful peasant blouse or tunic. Those longer, slightly baggy sweaters that I’ve been seeing everywhere paired with leggings or jeans are perfect for this occasion. If you have a cute empire-waisted shirt or dress you’ve been wanting to wear, now is the time to pull it out. Flowy and loose doesn’t mean going gigantic and overly baggy. Finding a nice balance works the best.

Of course, also remember to bring a larger bag — if you’re looking to take some leftovers home. A tote with some Tupperware or plastic bags will keep you well-fed for a few days afterwards. If you’re feeling a bit too self-conscious about the post-feast tummy, a big bag can also help you cover yourself or offer something to hold onto as you scrunch up on the sofa.

Avoiding well-fitted or tight outfits, belts and pants that won’t stretch around the waist is a safe decision. If you can’t easily adjust your belt as you go for that second or third serving, stay way from it for the sake of your straining waist. Skinny jeans are out, and even your most comfortable pair of jeans will start becoming the opposite as your food intake increases. Remember, if it feels tight before, chances are, it’ll be even more restricting afterwards, and it’s best to put it aside for another day.

Keep to comfortable shoes, as well. It’s unlikely you’ll be walking much, and being full to the point of dazedness does not bode well in aching feet encased by heels or tight boots. Flats, kitten-heels, or any shoe you find comfortable is definitely the way to go. Even so, through it all, remember that you aren’t alone this holiday season, or even at the meal. Almost everyone around you will probably be in a similar post-feast, mid-coma state while nursing his or her respective food baby.

The Parties
The holiday season is the perfect time to pull out the sparkles, embellishments and rich fabrics. It’s a great time to toss on statement pieces that glitter but don’t go overboard and become tacky. There is no better excuse to dress up and shine (literally or figuratively) during the year than now.

Adding something that shimmers, like metallic shorts, a sequined dress or a bejeweled pair of shoes, can make an outfit festive but still classy. Make sure not to go overboard, though. Stick to one or two small pieces, or just one main piece, so you don’t end up looking like a lit-up decoration. This is definitely a scenario where a little can go a long way. Contrast the sparkle with a darker, solid color to make it pop even more. Adding embellishments to a more formal outfit is a perfect way to change it up.

Jeweled tones are always popular in the winter. Those deep, rich purples and emeralds can make you look elegant and sophisticated while still adding color that dazzles. If you’re feeling particularly bold, go for bright colors like turquoise or a striking cobalt to brighten the atmosphere. A deep or bright red lip, smokey eyes, or slightly sparkly eyelids are another way to go bold and indulge in the looks that might not fit in your normal every-day routine.

Winter is also a great time to try out different fabrics, from rich velvets to delicate lace. Whether it’s a cute, tulle tutu à la “The Nutcracker” or a leather-embellished top, mixing and matching textures can make for an interesting look. It’s the perfect time to indulge in satins and silks for the festivities.

Eye-catching accessories can be the key to making an outfit work for the holidays. A simple black dress can be offset by an armful of bangles and dangly earrings. It’s time to pull out that bib necklace you’ve wanted to wear, or the pendant usually too large to clasp on. Take the gigantic cocktail ring you normally avoid and add it to your outfit for some striking jewelry additions. Just remember to keep your clothes simple and understated to really make the accessories a statement piece without adding too much.

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