Seven years ago, I hosted my first holiday as a freshly-minted married woman. On that day, I was a glamorous holiday queen – no duplicitous contouring or tilted camera angles required. My show-stopping holiday ensemble consisted of a festive red blouse completely saturated in boob sweat as I spent the previous six hours hovering over a hot oven, unsuccessfully basting a dry tyrant of a turkey. My hair was beach waved to perfection, and the tips were generously doused in a tested and tasted gravy that just would not emulsify. And of course, to tie the look together, I wore a pair of fitted beige khakis with a fresh dusting of flour and sugar fingerprints along my backside from a failed attempt at making hand pies. This light dusting provided the perfect polished holiday style of appearing like I had just been slapped by a band of disgruntled holiday angels.
Ah, the holidays. Days are shorter, nights are colder, and if you are hosting this year, I imagine there is a healthy dose of anxiety on the brain. Between managing the tantrums of a temperamental roast and trying to force-feed family members an experimental casserole gone awry, there is much to juggle during this season. Your holiday outfit should not be one of them.
While I love the idea of being festive, velvet blazers and gold-sequined jumpsuits are not style staples most mothers typically have on hand. In the rush of the holiday season, I’d like to gift you with one less thing to juggle: how to reinvent your holiday look with a few stylish fashions already in your closet. No shopping required! We start with a little black dress (LBD) and a pair of leggings as the blank canvas for configuring your holiday ensemble.
Let’s look at three different outfits made by layering different pieces on top of this simple canvas.
Outfit #1: Flannel + LBD + Leggings
You may be surprised at how easily you conjure the spirit of the season with something as understated as plaid flannel. For this first look, you will need a dark, patterned plaid top as close to the red color family. Burgundy purple, pink, and even blue are all great options. Clasp every button except for the last two, and tie two knots with the loose fabric from both sides of your blouse. This look defines your waist and instantly adds a pop of understated style and holiday cheer to your LBD.
Outfit #2: Sweater + Flannel + LBD + Leggings
Not wanting to showcase your waistline? No problem. For this second look, you will master the art of layering with one simple addition. With the same LBD canvas, button your plaid blouse all the way up the collar and pair it with a crew cut, neutral-toned sweater over your flannel. My favorite colors are cream and a slate-esque gray for conjuring a festive spirit. Finish the look with a small cuff of the sleeves. With the sleeves of your shirt pulled to your wrist such that it is seen under your sweater, flip the cuffs over once so it sits above the end of your sweater. Instant holiday layers!
Outfit #3: Maxi Skirt + Necklace + LBD + Optional Leggings
For this last look, we will transform your LBD ensemble into a makeshift bodysuit. When you pair the LBD ensemble with a flowing maxi skirt, you have achieved something miraculous: a casual, holiday-appropriate ball gown of sorts. I like to pull the waist of the maxi just below my bust line, creating a flattering silhouette and ample room for a fourth serving of honey glazed ham. When it comes to the color and pattern of your maxi, you have free reign as the LBD works to tie it all together. To perfect this style, choose a maxi skirt with a length that hits at the ankles and comes away from the leg line. Top off the look with a neutral necklace to add visual intrigue to your upper half. Leggings are optional according to your preference.
Feel Like A Holiday Queen in Style
Boob sweat and being slapped by a mob of disenchanted holiday angels will never make anyone feel like a holiday queen. BUT, with a few reinvented style staples from your closet secured, you are set to conquer the holidays in effortless style!
Kat Depner, personal stylist and owner of Seven Styling, is Portland’s Mom Whisperer when it comes to style. Kat blogs weekly at Seconds To Impress, Seven’s style blog. You only get 7 seconds to make a first impression, and Kat will help you make them count!