I had the Bella’s Holiday Tea date on my calendar for weeks but waited until the last minute to pull together an outfit for it. When I opened my closet to put a holiday outfit together my first response was panic.
I should have started thinking about this last weekend. A dress would have solved everything. If I just had some lighter colored sweaters or tops, I could wear them with my fancy skirts. That’s out of the question. Wah, wah, wah!
What to wear to tea
For inspiration, I looked back to see what I’d worn when the three of us went to see the movie Downton Abbey last summer.
I remember thinking at the time that I’d created a perfect holiday outfit that would work in December.
But when I looked at the pictures from that day, I was not moved. It was a perfect outfit to wear to that movie but it needed an update.
There was one thing I felt sure about
I got control of my panic and thought about what I’d really like to wear. What came to mind was my Badgley Mischka coat purchased when I was loving all things leather and lace. The collar is leather and there’s an overlay of lace panels that runs down the front of it. I’ve been determined to pull it out and wear it, especially since I overlooked it all last year. Even with pouring down rain, I would reject a raincoat and wear this coat no matter what.
What to wear under my coat
With the outer layer as my inspiration, I worked on the rest of the outfit from the outside in.
The tunic top was definitely in the running. I liked how it related to the coat. Velvet, lace, and leather live together so nicely and the colors were in the same general family.
I have a pair of not-tight leggings by Eileen Fisher that have leather on the front and knit on the back. Maybe they’d work under the tunic instead of the wide-legged pants I’d worn before. Looking in the mirror I realized they weren’t so pretty around the crotch area–kind of bunchy and reminding me that I am in a sixty-year-old body, not a thirty-year-old body.
The tunic was the perfect coverage
I put on the Lisa Bayne, Artful Home tunic. It definitely covered the crotch area, but I wasn’t wild about the fullness of it. The tunic’s shape made my already slim legs look spindly.
Hmm. What if I belted it? I pulled out a hearty two-inch-wide belt that I purchased from the Carlisle Collection when I was in my late 40s. It feels like a wintery belt because it’s mostly fur with black leather. It got a lot of use out of it back then, but it hadn’t seen the light of day in several years.
Belting the tunic helped big time
I had some ’80s styling muscle memory in me. Remember when tops were big and we belted everything two wear with stirrup pants and boots? Putting the belt around my waist, I pulled the tunic up a bit so it was relaxed. I loved how it dipped longer in front and got higher around my hips.
The belt with the leather leggings was giving me a groovy vibe that was even a little sexy. The tunic is a bit see-through. Every time I’ve worn it in the past I had a full slip underneath it. I did layer a tank under the top this time so you wouldn’t see my bra or midriff. Without the full slip, the hint of sheerness exposed the shape of my legs, but not the bunchy crotch part. I liked how it gave me longer-looking legs.
Does this holiday outfit need a necklace?
When I wore this tunic last year during the holidays, I absolutely wanted a necklace. It took me a while to settle on the pearls but that’s what felt right at the time. Here’s more about how I styled it then.
I remember adding that Sonia Rykiel dot scarf to the tunic. I loved the pattern mixing and how the long scarf repeated the line of the long tunic.
But you know what? I was just not in the mood for a necklace. Weird, because I’m usually always in the mood for wearing one, two, or three of them at once.
I eyed the scarf and pulled it out of my closet. I wrapped the scarf around and around my neck and tied it off to the side.
It felt so good to wear the scarf this way that I didn’t consider a second option at all. The scarf and the belt broke up the space of the tunic nicely. I’d gotten the proportion I needed.
The next finishing steps were easy
I wore my simple beaded earrings and my slim black velvet Prada bag, a consignment store find by my daughters. On my feet were black suede Aquatlia pointy-toed booties. I’ve had them for a spell. Isn’t it wild that suede booties can be waterproof? That’s Aquatalia’s promise and I was surely going to be giving them the test that day.
But wait! There was one more very special accessory to add. Another find at my daughters’ consignment store, this hair ornament had my name written all over it.
Add a secret accessory that could go unnoticed
You’ve heard me say this before, but I love how there can be a detail about my outfit that is visible to me even if it’s not visible to anyone else.
This hair ornament fits against my head so closely and blends into my hair color so well that it would be easy to not even see it.
But it’s my secret treasure and delights me all day whether anyone notices it. Do you have some secret accessories that bring you delight?
Holiday tea, here I come!
My updated holiday outfit put me in such a great mood. It’s hard to recall the panic I put myself in for those few minutes before I got down to business and built this outfit I felt great in.
Do you have some holiday pieces that you can update to suit you right now? I always tell my clients that I want to help them be the best version of themselves this month, this year. Last year has come and gone. It’s time to press refresh and style an outfit in a new way.
How about you? Did you buy yourself something new to wear over the holidays? Could you restyle something you already have? I hope you’re having fun with your special outfits. And, please, do share your ideas. We’d all love to hear what brings you delight this time of year.