Time to dust off your fancy frocks and sparkly accessories because the holidays are clamoring at the door! Here is a collection of style ideas to help you look fabulous mingling your way through a crowded room in heels while balancing a full plate of food, a glass of mulled wine, a sippy cup and an over-tired toddler.
Dress up that little black dress with one shiny piece of neck real estate or a bunch of lovely layers. Instead of buying a new outfit, choose one wowzer accessory to use all season. Here are two places I adore:
Stella and Dot. Run by independent stylists showing their wares at trunk shows and online, Stella and Dot offers stunning statement jewelry. The pieces are gorgeous and justify the price. stelladot.com/kabatha
Stella Boutique. Stella is home to some of the most exquisite handmade pieces I've ever seen. My favorite line is Broad Street, designed by Sara Bradstreet. Each piece is built by hand and incorporates bits and bobbles from estate jewelry, put together in extraordinary ways. Stella, 2116 Central St., Evanston.
Can't justify a shopping spree? No worries. Introduce some of the outfits you already have in your closet to a few unlikely companions. This season it's all about bold choices. Designers are recommending we focus on "color harmonies" and color blocking (blocks of color like an orange top and a navy skirt).
Take a few risks and try new pairings. Mix purple and gray, maroon and copper, or orange and gold instead of the normal gloomy fall combos. Purple, red and orange are the rockstars of color this season.
When it comes to holiday hair, you can get away with being a bit of a hot mess this year. If you've got some length, try this easy up-do that allows for "less-than-perfect."
Here's how create a messy bun for yourself:
1) Keep your hair a little dirty. If your hair is too clean, it won't stay put.
2) Pull hair together and hold straight up like one of those troll dolls.
3) Twist your hair down to a few inches above the crown.
4) Wrap your hair around itself until it forms a loose bun right on top of your head.
5) Pin the bun with a few bobby pins. You're going for loose but secure.
6) Pull some loose strands of hair from the nape of your neck and around your face.
Tips and three great dresses for simple holiday style for moms from Adam Glassman, creative director at O, The Oprah Magazine:
1) ShapeFX. The Hold-You-In Sculpting Corset Dress, shapefx.com, with its graphic pattern is sleek enough to give any body type a slimmer look, while still looking fun and sexy. The pop of red puts a spin on the little black dress concept and keeps it holiday appropriate. It can easily work from day to night. Wear it to the office with a black cardigan or fitted blazer, then transform into a hot mama at night!
2) Ann Taylor. The modern Windsor Check Sheath Dress, anntaylor.com, has clean lines and a structured look that is great for at-home entertaining or visiting the relatives. Add personality by wearing bright red heels and a red bag, or dress it up with gold or silver accessories and a metallic shoe.
3) White House Black Market. It's hard to find a youthful and chic dress with arm coverage these days. The color blocking on this dress, left, allows for the illusion of a chic strapless sheath while still giving you the comfort of not being too revealing. The black center of the dress visually dissects your body, instantly making you look slimmer, and the stretch fit is forgiving for moms who need to be on the move. It can easily work for a PTA meeting or dressed up for a cocktail party.
Meredith Sinclair is a freelance writer and blogger living with three quirky guys on Chicago's North Shore.
See more of Meredith's stories here.