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What does “Holiday Dress” actually mean?

By: Jennifer Pilcher

Tis the season for holiday parties and the number one question is, “what do I wear?” Unlike events that clearly state, formal dress, cocktail dress or business attire, holiday dress has to be the most confusing and stressful of wardrobe options.

When I hear the words, “Holiday Dress,” I immediately think of the Griswold family Christmas movie with their matching Christmas sweaters while singing Christmas carols and cousin Eddie, yelling, “CLARK, the ‘you know what’ is full!” Classic holiday movie!

In fact, I think that movie started the trend of the “Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties” – so unless your invitation clearly states the above, we will assume it’s not that type of party. If someone tells you that it is the “Ugly Sweater Christmas Party”, you might want to think about “checking it twice” before showing up.  That would stink!

The wonderful part of a holiday party is a chance to show off your personality, however, you just don’t want to show off too much personality. During our 17 years of military holiday parties, I think I have seen it all…until the next party. There have been women in wedding dresses, calling themselves the “snow princess”, guys in a cow hide vest, cowboy hat, cowboy boots – which is great – but some of them also come equipped with a lasso, which makes me wonder if the horse is still tied up outside. Then again, we were stationed in Ft. Worth – anything is possible.  Don’t forget the ladies wearing heels that are taller than my 8 year old.  The holiday party is always the most entertaining party of the year!

I am originally from New Jersey and we wear black to everything; weddings, funerals, and of course Holiday parties, so black is my automatic default. Let’s say you want to spice it up a bit and put a little more cheer into your wardrobe this year.  First and foremost – make sure the outfit fits properly. You do not want to be popping out of your dress, or your skirt’s so short you can’t sit down.

Next, the colors – this is where you can have some fun – go for some color, sparkle or patterns.  Try a skirt with a silk blouse or a dress with a beautiful scarf.  When it comes to the heels, try a simple test – do you walk or wobble?  If you wobble – go down 1-2 inches and find some heels that look great AND allow you to dance in them.

Now add some bling!  Bling is the secret weapon of holiday dress; a bold necklace or chandelier earrings or some fun bangle bracelets – just not all three of them together.  My favorite place to find great accessories at incredible prices in almost every color is Charming Charlie’s.

Take some extra time to glam up your hair and make –up.  However, don’t glam it up so much your spouse does not recognize you and the dog runs away scared.

If you can, spoil yourself a little and go have your hair done.  A “blow out” at your salon is one of life’s greatest inventions for those of us who are completely hair challenged.  On your way home, visit your local make up counter at the mall and they will do your make–up for free!  That’s right – free!  They just suggest buying a simple product, like the hot red lipstick you will be wearing to the party.

Finally, relax and have fun!  I truly think the best event all year is at the annual Holiday Party.  Everyone is in a festive mood, dressed up and celebrating a wonderful year spent together.

Just remember, the most important accessory is your beautiful smile shining through, so don’t let your dress outshine you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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