The holiday season kicks off with Thanksgiving in less than a week. As usual, I’m looking forward to all the festivities, especially the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. There is, of course, the question of what to wear. Being a practical gal, I have no shortage of work clothes in my closet, but relatively few party clothes. So…at this time of year, with multiple holiday get-togethers on the horizon, I’m looking for ways I can “fudge” festive looks with the tops and skirts in my closet. For those women over 50 who are shopping for a holiday skirt, scroll down. I've included a few links to fun, holiday skirts for women over 50.
Mixing and matching separates--tops, skirts and/or slacks--is a great way to stretch any wardrobe. At the moment, however, I don't have a single pair of dress slacks in my closet. Seriously. (True story: This fall, I gave 8 or 9 pairs of dress slacks the heave-ho. Every pair was completely different except for the fact that they all fit horribly! So I shipped them off to Goodwill.) So...unfortunately, I can't show you holiday top and slacks solutions right now. However, I think that my skirt ideas are, more or less, interchangeable with dress slacks.
In my mind, separates made of rich fabrics—such as silk, satin, crepe, lace, velvet, sequins, certain wools (like cashmere), and/or good-quality knits—are key to a party look. Some fabrics are more dressy (silk, satin and crepe) and some are less dressy (the wools and knits). I believe lace can swing either way.
Where you live will always dictate which fabrics work best for holiday celebrations. Obviously, women in warmer climates aren't going to wear something wooly at holiday time. Personal taste/style is a major consideration, too. This year I've seen several over 50 women rock tulle skirts at parties.
A BALANCED LOOK
Next, when putting together separates to create a party outfit, I definitely consider balance, both in terms of volume and weight. First, I don't want to overwhelm my body with too much material. It just makes me look much bigger than I am. Who needs that? If I do wear a loose top, I balance it with a fitted or structured skirt or pair of slacks. Or vice versa: fitted top, then loose bottom.
In my mind, the same is true for fabric weight. If I'm wearing a top made out of heavy material (ie, a chunky sweater), I'm going to pair it with a lightweight, flirty skirt. By the same token, if I'm wearing a wool skirt, I'm going to pair it with a lightweight (ie, silk, satin, or lace) top. For example, I'm going to wear a lace top with a burgundy wool skirt (see above) for a pre-Thanksgiving party tonight with my husband's family tonight.
For the Thanksgiving celebration with my family next Thursday, I've decided to go highland and wear a kilt (see above). This fall, plaid is super trendy and kilts are actually having a moment.
When styling a kilt, a gal has two choices: either the school girl look or the British punk look. The school girl look--with a white Peter Pan collar or button-down collar--is not an option for this over 50 women. And while I truly loved the British Punk kilts I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this summer, that look isn't speaking to me as a Thanksgiving outfit. So...I've decided to take a middle-of-the-road approach, embracing fashion's love affair with creative mixing, and wear a lace top with my kilt. Again, I love the balance and contrast of the lightweight lace with the pleated wool. Also, when I wear a kilt, I don't wear tights (again to avoid the school girl look), but do wear nude or colored nylons.
Holiday parties are a great time for the over 50 woman to flaunt her femininity. You know you still have it! I'm not talking about showing lots of cleavage or thighs--Oh, no! Instead, I'm suggesting you'll look like a million bucks when you hit the party scene wearing something that flaunt the best parts of your feminine shape. Perhaps, you have an incredibly graceful neck or a seductive collar bone, a great figure or sinewy arms and/or legs, or sexy feet. Whatever your best feminine bit is, dress it up!
My best bit is that I haven't totally lost my waistline (yet!). So when I want to flaunt my femininity, I throw on something with structure, like a knit top. I particularly like scoop necks because they draw the focus away from my pruny neck.
ACCESSORIES ALL THE WAY
Jewelry. If you're an over 50 woman like me, looking for ways to "fudge" multiple festive looks, I can't think of anything more useful than accessories. Now's the time to pull out those sparkly earrings that you love so much. A pretty statement necklace can turn even a cotton T-shirt into something "Wow!" I plan to wear my White House/Black Market Convertible Black and White Cocktail Strands (featured in all this post's photos) a lot. Why? Well, there's my black and white fettish these days. And then, there's the ultra-cool fact that this necklace is a "convertible" and can be styled in so many different ways. The three strands can be hooked together to form a three-strand necklace. Or...I can separate the strands and wear just one or two. Or...I can loop the 3 strands around my neck for a six-strand look. I think the 6-strand look adds a little "pop" to a simple knit top like my burgundy one above.The clothing site has a great selection of costume jewelry, including other "convertible" necklaces.
Psst! You want to know a secret about long strands of beads, pearls or whatever? They're slimming!
Stockings. If you don't opt for dress slacks, stockings are a great way to give your holiday look a fun boost. There's been an ongoing discussion on hoisery--to wear or not to wear--at Flattering50. Even though it's November, I'm seeing a lot of bare legs running around New York City. However, as I've stated, that's not the look for this over 50 gal. If you, like me, are going to forsake the fashion gods and wear hose, I say, "Wear them with gusto!" I love all the patterned nylons and tights. Last year, polka dot nylons were huge in these parts. I still have a couple of pairs and plan to wear them this holiday season, whether or not they are in vogue. That's what I love about being over 50: I wear what makes me feel good.
Shoes. Needless to say, shoes are a surefire way to look smashing at the holidays. Unfortunately, I can't offer much inspiration in the shoe department--yet. A Flattering50 reader recently scolded me for all my drab, black footwear and challenged me to bring a burst of color to my step. I have accepted her challenge (although I must admit I do love my little black party pumps pictured above) and intend to start shopping for colorful party shoes on Dec. 1st. However, I promised Brett at Silvergirl that I would join her in "No Shop November" -- a month of being thankful for what I have and not buying myself anything new. So...shoe shopping will have to wait till December.
Looking for festive skirt of the holidays? If so, you might want to wait till Cyber Monday to get a deal. My favorite holiday skirts are those with texture. My thinking: Festive times call for a little drama. Well, maybe not for office holiday parties.
Here's a sample of reasonably-priced skirts from Shabby Apple, Ann Taylor and Nordstroms. Click on any of the photos for details. See how the festive skirts are styled with low-key tops? I think that's the key to pulling off a highly textured skirt at any age.
I've seen lots of leather pants on women over 50 at parties this fall. Leather skirt (real or faux) vary hugely in price. Here's a couple of reasonable faux leather skirts...
And some more textures...
What are you wearing for holiday parties?