For many of us, the holiday party can cause some undue stress, mainly because the lack of a clear dress code and the challenge of finding a festive yet appropriate dress. The LBD is an easy but somewhat boring choice (unless the dress has unique detailing and rich texture). This Lela Rose fall 2007 dress is my choice: not only does its rich berry red stand out, but its black flower appliques are delicate and unique. I've added a black cable cashmere cardigan and black Chanel boots to winterize the look, but come summer I'll wear it alone with black sandals. Here are some pointers for tackling this fashion challenge:
1. Opt for a rich jewel-tone color or even a winter white shade. Limit your color pallette to two to three hues, and make sure that the other colors are complementary.
2. A knee-length dress works best for most women because it's work appropriate. Minidresses work for more casual affairs and can easily be paired with tights (Spanx is my favorite brand).
3. Your evening bag (clutches or small purses) should match one of your color choices. An exotic skin (snakeskin, ostrich, lizard, or crocodile) glams up a simple shape. If your dress is plain, opt for a rich, embellished purse. Otherwise, let the focus remain on you, and not your bag (most women leave their bags on the table anyway).
4. Bring a cashmere sweater for chilly drafts. Your boyfriend/husband's oversized jacket is tacky.
5. Choose a dress that allows room for movement and for food; this is not the time for those oddly popular bandage dresses, which make you look three months pregnant after one meal. Part of having fun means that you can dance, eat, drink, and be merry without worrying how large your stomach looks.