Fashion tips for the family get-togethers and house parties
THIS IS THE PARTY SEASON. Whether it is a business function, a formal event or a get-together of relatives, December has a festive feel to it. How should one dress for a holiday occasion? It depends on the affair, the time of day and its location. Each has a different dress code. Daytime festivities, especially religious ceremonies, are more conservative than evening events.
For religious services, conservative overrides fancy. Choose classic colors of brown, navy, ivory or red, and wear stylish pointy pumps with a complementary handbag to tie the outfit together.
The family get-together may be tricky-- either close relatives want to share the day, or related people who are not very close are thrown together. In either case, it is not a "come as you are" day because familiarity may breed contempt. The jeans or running suit are inappropriate. Out of respect to the hosts and older relatives, dress nicely.
Hosting the party? Although comfort is key, it also means stylish. For example, high stiletto heels are impractical, but an attractive low heel or flat will look good while adding comfort. Omit the jewelry, especially rings and bracelets because they will get in the way. Instead, wear a glittery sweater or tank top over fashionable pants or skirt to enhance the look.
For attending a house party, use color and texture. If wearing jeans, dress up the accompanying pieces. Wear a snazzy halter or jacket with pointy ankle boots or heels, and add a dynamite handbag or tote. Choose something metallic, or shoes with a snakeskin look. In other words, either dress up the clothes or jazz up more basic items with dazzling accessories.
As the sun sets, the proper attire becomes more formal. There will be plenty of holiday parties, from the office soiree to customer galas. When attending the company party, either at the jobsite or a restaurant, remember that you see these people every day. So, use discretion when dressing. It is not the time for the plunging neckline or high-slit skirt. Try a silk dress with a sequined cover-up.
Of course, if you are heading over to a client's celebration, you should be even more careful. As friendly as you may be, you are always on display and good behavior and classy dress always wins out.
The hour of the event dictates the attire. The after-five cocktail or dinner party is a continuation of the workday. Velvet is a wonderful material that goes from day to evening. Work with vibrant solid colors, and then accessorize with metallic or glitzy evening bags.
Semi-formal parties are the most confusing because the host wants guests to dress up without being too "decked out." Look for more expensive materials in the clothing or glamorize the basic black dress with a color wrap, strappy dressy sandals and a satin handbag.
For the black tie soiree, there is no compromise for men -- a tuxedo is mandatory. Craig Tanzola, owner of Formal Dimensions in Egg Harbor Township, sells or rents every tuxedo, shirt, tie or accessory in the store. He says, "First, a man must decide on the silhouette, or how high the front, of the tuxedo. It may be anywhere from a one to four-button jacket. Then, they select a style. Men want versatility. Since black is the number one color, they often use accessories to match a woman's dress. The Ralph Lauren two-button tuxedo jacket is the most popular this year."
Tanzola says that younger men are choosing the long tie look, but older men still prefer a bowtie. Shirts are either wing or laydown collars in ivory or white. However, a black tuxedo with a black shirt and a white-striped tie is gaining popularity.
Ladies have a wide variety of choices in their formal wear. Fashionable tuxedo suits or knee-length dresses are acceptable, but there is nothing as refined as the all-out elegance and glamour of a full-length evening gown.
Whatever you choose to wear at the numerous celebrations you attend this year, have fun, look great and be careful.