There are innumerable reasons to love the holiday season. Who doesn’t love the phantasmagoria of lights, hot chocolate, snow, trees, gifts friends and family that come along with December?
Beyond the aforementioned perks of the season, this year I have found myself most excited for all the dressing up. Much like Nan Kempner, my favorite part of the party is often getting dressed for it. Unlike the other eleven months of the year when it’s considered uncool to look dressed up or as if you put any thought–let alone effort–into your appearance, come December, it is all big curls and bright sequins.
During a majority of the year, on trend, after-eight outfits usually consist of a high-low pairing, a crew neck sweatshirt with a sequin skirt or a pair of tennis shoes with a flouncy cocktail dress. Your outfit is suppose to feel nonchalant and effortless, as if you were all together too busy with other more pivotal things than to worry your perfectly imperfect bed head and what you’ll wear with it. Lots of menswear extras that tone down fanciful feminine pieces. Simply putting some brogues on was a common theme this past season.
The irony of this is that it takes, in my experience, just as much time to make an Adidas tennis shoe work with a vintage brocade dress as it does to match it with the perfect heel, but I digress. I trust you have participated or at least witnessed this trend, and understand my frustration.
However, during the holidays, the rules on being “cool” become irrelevant and petty. It is a time to embrace magic and romance in all facets of life–especially when getting dressed. For me, the holidays are a time for ultra feminine glamour. A perfect time to go digging through your mother’s closet or through the racks at your favorite vintage stores. There is something so empowering about putting on all of your favorite, most beautiful things.
Reminiscent of childhood days when putting on your favorite outfit instantly transformed you into a princess, putting on that gold jacquard strapless tea-length dress with the crystal embellishments (but who’s already picked out their dress) instantly turns you into a 1940s film star, or whatever else epitomizes ultimate glamour for you. When dressing for the holidays, I tend to favor looking as if I still own a trunk chock full of costumes long deemed inappropriate for everyday life. I love boxy vintage dresses that are maybe a touch too big, long strands of pearls, sparkly tights and strappy silver shoes. The holidays are an excuse to break from your daily uniform and add a touch of outré to the banalities of the day to day.
It’s an exciting time when my joie de vivre shifts from being a well-tailored trouser to an oversized embellished shift dress. There is something fantastic about breaking from the normal in even the smallest way, in putting something on that sparks a bit of childish joy and, in doing so, relinquishing the need to appear unphased by how wonderful this time of year is. There is something irrevocably fun about playing dress up that transcends age. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t race home upon purchasing my aforementioned dress to prance around my room on my tippy toes, twirling in my new piece while singing to old school Britney Spears. (The only difference from now and when it came out is that I am aware Britney will at one point shave her entire head.)
When we were kids, dressing up was often an activity saved for girls. And as we got older all sort of societal pressures pushed us away from super feminine dressing and toward a more androgynous look. We came to understand that we appeared more powerful and more serious when we downplayed our femininity and embraced a steelier more masculine look, one usually consisting of a pant suit in plain colors. Menswear inspired looks can now be seen everywhere from the runway to the workplace.
I am personally a firm believer in equal but different. I take my sartorial cues from the likes of powerful women such as Anna Wintour, whom you’d be hard pressed to find not wearing a feminine shift dress, a long coat and heels. I fully support dressing however you want to dress because it’s your body, but embracing your femininity should never be considered a sign of weakness. And while day-to-day life may not see you in an overtop the dress and piles of jewelry (if it does, I’m jealous), but rather a slightly more reserved approach to feminine dressing, then the holidays are a perfect time to go all out balls to the walls in ladylike dressing. You are a holiday goddess and you should be able to dress in a way that lets everyone know that.
This season, I am all about red lipstick, something that is new for me as of last month (more to come on that next week), brocade jackets, sequin skirts, embellished tights, metallic silver shoes (preferably of the pointy-toe variety), and pearls. For my first holiday party–and probably every other holiday themed occasion that follows–I plan to wear the gold dress I not-so-subtly alluded to earlier with a whole deluge of accessories, gems, jackets, brooches, a sash, some super heavy but totally worth it clip on earrings, a fur snood, a crown of poinsettias, basically anything that screams, I am a goddess and I can dress how I want to – and still be a super ambitious, serious, bad ass despite the massive flowers in my hair.