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919489_10151732965286363_1548741135_o ACCESORIZING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Use accessories with sparkle or shine to make outfits more festive. Choose one or two bold items to elevate your look. And have fun accessorizing! The holiday season is a wonderful time to dress up and highlight accessories you may not wear on a daily basis.

If you were invited to a holiday party this season and don’t have time or the money to go out and purchase a new dress, look to accessories to add some holiday spirit to what you already own.  Not only are accessories cheaper than buying a whole new outfit, but you don’t have to worry about dressing room meltdowns; jewelry usually fits.   You can even use many of my tips to take daytime dresses into proper evening wear.

Investing in a collection of accessories makes sense for both fashion-conscious shoppers and those with limited budgets.   Accessories let individuals create several different outfits simply by adding carefully selected jewelry, shoes, purses or accent pieces. This is useful during the holiday season when people need an easy way to transition from day to night wear, or want to update an existing look without having to purchase new clothes. These traditional ways to accessorize outfits transform and expand basic wardrobes for the holiday season.

Choose focal pieces, instead of over-accessorizing. Think bold instead of quantity. Try chandelier earrings, bold cuffs, multi-layer necklaces and cocktail ring, but not all at the same time. A good rule of thumb is not to put items too close together on the body. Instead of big earrings AND a big necklace, try big earrings and a cocktail ring.

Scarves are versatile and functional accessories that add a touch of color and warmth to a holiday outfit. These simple pieces of
fabric eliminate the need to search for coordinating jewelry and fit any body type. A printed scarf draped over the neckline dresses up a casual T-shirt, while a long, skinny silk scarf adds texture and panache to a dress. Scarves made from wool and silk blends work well in colder weather because they keep the body warm without adding excessive layers of clothing.

If you are larger in stature go for bigger pieces. Don’t wear anything so small that it simply gets lost on you. Conversely, if you are smaller, don’t wear pieces that are so big, it looks like you are drowning in decoration. Save that for the tree.

Just like red and green are colors to avoid at Christmas, resist “seasonal accessories” which include but are not limited to, ceramic reindeer or turkey pins, Christmas tree and candy cane earrings, mistletoe brooches and pilgrim hats (unless you are in a school play). Buy timeless, beautiful, interesting jewelry that will last you throughout the year with oodles of outfits, not just for November and December.

A faux fur vest is a fall wardrobe staple that works with a variety of looks. Unlike a coat that completely covers up an outfit, a vest adds a touch of warmth while letting the beauty of the ensemble shine through. Those who want a sophisticated look wear a faux fur vest over a slim turtleneck or fitted dress, while people who prefer a bohemian appearance pair the vest with a flowing skirt and boots.

One of the challenges of dressing for the holidays is finding accessories that stand out among layers of dark, bulky clothing. Chunky necklaces do just that by adding a pop of color to traditional holiday shades of black and gray. The secret to wearing statement pieces like cluster or collar necklaces is sticking with a single piece of jewelry that coordinates with the outfit. A cluster of silver beads around the neck, or a cascade of rhinestones draped over a collar, instantly perks up holiday flare.   Choose focal pieces, instead of over-accessorizing. Think bold instead of quantity. Try chandelier earrings, bold cuffs, multi-layer necklaces and cocktail rings — but not all at the same time. A good rule of thumb is not to put items too close together on the body. Instead of big earrings AND a big necklace, try big earrings and a cocktail ring.

Look to statement necklaces to add some glamour to any dress you’re thinking of wearing.  Right now these types of bold, chunky necklaces are really popular and perfect for evening.  Imagine how ready for a holiday party your little black dress will look with some bling around your neck.  Right now layering necklaces is one of the hottest trends.   If you’re bored with a string of pearls, try adding a second blingier necklace into the mix.  Additionally, it’s all about the bib necklace and there are tons of sparkly bib necklaces out there that look like they cost a fortune, but don’t.

Shine (metallic, patent, embellishment) is always good for dressing up an outfit and going from day to evening. Leave the beat-up leather boots or shoulder bag you wear every day to the office at home.

When in doubt about how to accessorize a dress for evening, go for metallic, silver or gold, your choice.  Not only does a pair of sparkly shoes and handbag make a dress look after-five appropriate but metallic will match whatever color your dress is.  You can go all metallic with a bag and shoes or just choose metallic in one or the other.  After the party, use these metallic accessories to liven up jeans or take a suit from desk to dinner.

Knee-high and ankle boots are holiday wardrobe staples that accent both dress and casual outfits. They add a touch of sophistication to a casual outfit and keep feet warm while consumers complete their holiday shopping. Ankle boots with embellishments like rhinestone studs or fur cuffs bring interesting detail to holiday dresses. When wearing boots, consumers need to aim for a balanced look between the boots and the clothing. They create a monochromatic look that slims the figure by pairing leggings, skinny jeans, or opaque tights with boots in the same color, or break up the pieces by opting for contrasting colors or neutral shades.

Another way to add some excitement to a holiday dress is through brightly colored shoes.  This strategy works well if your dress is in a neutral shade, like black, navy, brown or grey.  However, you can also add shoes in a bright color with a colorful dress if you want to color block your outfit.  If you really want to be festive, try wearing a pair of red shoes to your little black dress.  A great way to say holiday without going overboard.

Tights are a terrific accessory because they are inexpensive and available in a plethora of colors and patterns to complement any look. They keep legs warm in cooler weather and pull together the pieces of a holiday outfit. Opaque tights provide coverage that lets people wear skirts and dresses during the holiday season, while sheer tights let bare skin show through for a dressier look. In addition to the type of coverage, holiday dresses must consider how the tights’ colors and patterns look with the outfit. Tights with patterns as well as complementary colors break up monochromatic color schemes.

Sometimes, all it takes is a bag change to get a dress ready for a holiday party.  Grab a fun clutch with some sparkle or that is in an evening fabric, like satin, to elevate your dress for evening.  Like statement shoes in a bright color, a bright colored clutch is another way to add some festive feelings to your outfit in small doses.

When it comes to accessorizing for the holidays, a little goes a long way. You don’t have to go crazy with too many dressy details. Even if you choose one place to add a little shine, you will be well on your way to looking festive at your upcoming event. Try at least one of these accessorizing tips and you’ll be sure to shine.

My mother has been a source of style inspiration my entire life and helped to spark my love of vintage and stylish clothing. The best advice she gave me is that elegance is timeless and to wear what I love. If you love what you are wearing, it shows – elegance suits everyone!  I find it useful when I go out, I am always properly coordinated, with whatever I wear.

Kathy Kiefer