I often joke that I wear the same black pants and black tee for every event, I just change up my accessories. In reality, it’s not far off! And it's okay!
I love a pair of pants that fit properly. So, if I find something that works, I like to stick with it. I figure a pair of black pants are simple enough that I can work the rest of the outfit around them.
But these are the holidays! And I want to wear fun things! Pieces I buy to wear once - maybe twice, if they’re lucky. There’s no reason I can’t stick with my old standards and amp up the fun by working in some of Holiday 2011’s best trends.
Black and Blue (shown above)
How much am I loving Navy Blue these last few season? I can't even tell you. I can't stop buying navy things! Long considered a fashion taboo, mixing rich navy with classic black is an unexpected and welcome combo for the holidays.
Tory Burch has combined the two in a few of her holiday cocktail dresses and I think it looks just divine. While I realize her price point (these range from $450 to $595) is out of reach for most, it’s nice to know I can emulate this look easily. What about adding a pair of navy satin pumps to your favourite LBD? Or a navy satin shirt under a classic black tuxedo style suit? This is a pairing I can get behind.
I love the texture on the runways this time of year. I adore luxurious fabrics like tweed and boucle and brocades and fur and leather. Fold in some sequins for this season of sparkle and you’re covered! Dolce & Gabbana showed them with this incredible cashmere coat with a fur trim.
For just $39, you can pair Joe Fresh leggings (above right) with a navy tunic or cowl-neck sweater and you’ve crossed off two trends in one!
If you are opting for sequins, I’d keep your other accessories to a minimum. You don’t want to be overpowering. It’s all about the contrast of the shimmery little glimmers next to the earthy knit.
The addition of a shrug sweater or cropped jacket dresses up my old standby outfit as well. Pick one in a cuddly exotic print like this one from Banana Republic or a gorgeous metallic brocade like this cropped jacket from Anthropologie.
Get into Slippers
Not exactly a “holiday trend” but there’s nothing worse than arriving at a great cocktail party only to have to remove your shoes because they’re wet and sloppy or the hostess has just installed some fragile exotic hardwood flooring.
Socked feet just don’t do it for me! And they certainly do nothing for your outfit. Why not tote along an adorable pair of flats to wear while you’re at the party? Your tootsies will stay warm and your back may even thank you!
I love these Kate Spade Franca’s or Steve Madden’s leopard, both about $100. It’s the bow. It’s like a little present to yourself!
Gild the Lily
Nothing updates a perfect black tee like a gorgeous piece of jewelry. Stella & Dot's Pegasus with metal feathers individually stitched onto a silk bib, or the Madeleine necklace’s delicate chain alternating with pearls and sparkly pave balls. It’s like a party around your neck!
Rent it and Forget it
Perhaps your holiday party is one that requires a little more than my standard uniform of pants and a tee. New holiday styles are up at RentfrockRepeat.com everyday and we still have our very own discount code: YUMMUM2011 This is the time of year to use it! You’ll get 15% off your rental! I can’t even tell you how happy that makes me. So I’ll show you:
“You know, pretending to be a man does have its disadvantages” - Victor Victoria, 1982
There is a theory that the role of women in our society can be reflected in fashion. As women take on a more prominent place in the cultural zeitgeist, for some reason we start behaving - and dressing - more like men.
In the Roaring 20s it was shorter hair and straight-lined dresses to cover our curves, in the 70s it was Annie Hall vests and ties, the 80s had extreme Power Suits and Grace Jones and now, in Fall 2011, we are seeing a rebirth of the menswear trend in women’s fashion.
The trend is so strong, in fact, there are signs of it carrying ahead for Spring 2012 and forward. The interesting thing about this incarnation is how we are combining elements of really masculine items - like stiff oxfords, sharp jackets and stiff shirts - with luxurious and incredible feminine elements - like floaty florals, sequins and fur.
The key to this modern menswear trend is contrast. It’s about pairing pieces in your wardrobe that are almost extreme opposites. Dressing in men's clothes is one thing, but expertly folding a piece or two into an outfit is quite another. The power then lies in not just wearing “men’s clothes”; it’s having the freedom to wear what you like!
One of my style idols and fashion director of Flare magazine, Liz Cabral, effortlessly pairs a silvery sequin dress with a classic Roots melton wool leather-sleeved varsity jacket.
Jenna Lyons, the creative director for J Crew, is an expert in contrast and can often be seen with a wrinkly chambray shirt paired with an impressive sparkly statement necklace.
Elegant celebrities Jessica Alba and Olivia Palermo both look fabulous in men's-style suits, but pairing them with luxurious skins like python and leopard remind us they are most certainly women.
Key fabrics this season include: tweed (even more awesome with metallic thread mixed in), corduroy, velvet, gabardine and felts. Key pieces include: cropped skinnies in denim and suiting fabrics, brogues, blazers, men's shirts and suit vests.
Some tips on pairings: look to mix a pencil skirt with a men's shirt and oxfords, skinny pants and a boy blazer with pointy heels. Makeup is minimal and natural but a bright lip can be a welcome shock.
In terms of accessories, large men's watches in bold gold tones or ceramic as well as statement necklaces in a shorter length peeking out from behind a shirt collar.
Sure, menswear requires a certain confidence to pull off, but this is a reflection of our freedom rather than a political statement on equality. It shouldn’t be stressful getting dressed; it should be a relief to be able to Express Yourself.
Celebrate your freedom to choose! Some women aren’t so lucky.