20 In Getting Dressed/ Styling Tips

Styling tips for everyday holiday outfits

Everyday holiday outfits

One thing I hear from my clients, more and more, is how they have less demand for dress-up holiday outfits in December. In the past, we’d set up a whole closet session for me to plan creative holiday outfits for their many engagements.

While there may be less demand for official parties and gatherings, there’s always a time and place to add holiday flair. My friends, this is it. I propose we rethink holiday wear and focus on how to bring festive looks into our everyday outfits. We don’t need embossed invitations in order to pull out luxury fabrics, play with color combos, and wear sparkly accessories.

Here’s the plan.

Going to the grocery store? Wear your black cotton lace pants with a simple sweater. Meeting a friend for coffee? Adorn your jean jacket with a cluster of sparkly brooches. Planning to hang out with your cousins for wine and pizza at your favorite restaurant? Slip into that velvet top and wear it with jeans and boots.

How to add festive touches to everyday outfits

Let’s start out by remembering what we see at this time of year that’s different from all the other 11 months.

There’s color: red and green, blue and white or silver and white, gold, purple, berry colors, anything metallic. Then there are the fabrics: lace, sequins, velvet, leather, faux fur. Think of the sparkly night sky and you can imagine accessories that glisten: diamond or pretend-diamond brooches, bracelets, necklaces, emeralds, rubies, sapphires.

If you’re paging through seasonal interior design magazines, there seems to be no limit to how decorative you can make your house. I suggest the same could be true of your appearance. Put your minimalist look on hold for January and indulge in looks that feel celebratory.

Finding holiday cues in the closet

I can’t wait to infuse my everyday outfits with holiday yumminess. I’ll start by looking in my closet for things I already have and can put together in a festive way.

I’ll demonstrate some ways I plan to dress over the next few weeks. See if you get some ideas.

Wear spruce and berry in holiday outfits

Berry and spruce

Berry is one of my favorite colors right now. I’m so keen on wearing my berry silk ruffled blouse with my Peter Cohen spruce green lightweight coat. This coat is in the vein of the fashion lab coats I was talking about recently. The hem is above my knee. These colors together make me feel sophisticated and elegant.

Berry and orange

I think of ways friends decorate packages and admire the unexpected color combos. One of those color combos is berry and orange. These colors are vibrant together. They truly fill me with holiday cheer.

The berry pants are thin-wale corduroys by Kut from the Kloth. They have them at Nordstrom. I’m wearing two layers of this thin silk sweater in bright orange. (To know why I’m wearing doubles of the same sweater, here’s the explanation.)

The scarf around my neck is one I bought one early December in NYC at the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift store. It’s been used mostly as a table runner during the holidays, but last year I was compelled to wrap it around my neck. The fullness of it makes it feel luxurious. I like to feel that way this time of year.

Wearing classic red in everyday holiday outfits

holiday outfits

I only recently started wearing red. I’ve been wearing my red Woow frames from Uber Optics. I got into these frames about two years ago and I swear, they’ve been the gateway to wanting more and more red in my life.

I love pairing this cashmere red sweater with my black lace cotton pants purchased from Ann Taylor about eight years ago. For many of those years, I was thinking I’d wear the lace pants to fancy affairs. Sometimes the season would pass, and I’d realize I’d forgotten I even had them. But then I downgraded them to everyday wear. That was the smartest decision ever. They’re warmer than jeans, which is perfect in December.

Everyday dress-up looks wearing black

While I may not be attending many black-tie holiday events, I can layer black pieces and pair them with jeans for any day of the week.

holiday jean outfits

I love the sheer black T-shirt I’m wearing under this crinkled Milla Jacket that came from Artful Home. I get to feel dressy while still wearing jeans.

I layered the sheer tee over a black slinky T-shirt. The sheer layer gives me glamour and also a thin layer of warmth under my jacket.

With a simple, elegant color like black to work with, I add brightness by loading on the necklaces and chains. When I want to feel glamorous, this will do it for me.

Bringing velvet into my everyday outfits

What was missing from my closet was something in velvet that I could wear in everyday outfits. At the end of a workday last week I did some late-night shopping after work. I spotted a velvet top in a color I love and have been trying to work into my wardrobe for the last few years. The closest I’ve come to wearing this color is in a lacy bra that I’ve since outgrown.

Although the Eileen Fisher label says the color is blue shale, it looks like dusty violet to me. The sales associate helping me thought this velvet box top would be a pretty dressy piece for the holidays. She was suggesting I wear it with black velvet pants and heels. That’s not really my thing, plus I don’t ever want to buy something I can only wear one way. I had to figure out how to showcase it in everyday outfits.

Eileen Fisher velvet box top

The first chance I got I ripped off the tags and wore it with my Kut from the Kloth jeans and sand-colored Lucky booties. I have a few scarves I could wear with this color. On this particular day, I chose a silk abstract floral one with periwinkle blue and touches of pink and rose, gray and brown. I added my heart necklace and carried my gray framed bag. I love the dusty shades in contrast to the brighter highlights in the scarf.

I love the luxuriousness of velvet against my body in outfits I’ll be wearing for eight or more hours a day. I might decide to dress it up for cocktails. If I do, I’ll be sure to show you how I did it.

If you see me over these next few weeks, please stop me and say hi. I LOVE this community and would love to meet more of you in person. It’s always a treat.

Celebrating holiday fashion with my blogging buddies

And here’s a treat for you! Today I’m posting my holiday ideas along with ideas from my talented blogging friends. Be sure to check out their blogs today for their take on Holiday Fashion.







What are you planning to wear during these next few weeks? I want to hear about your holiday fashion plans. Do share so we can all be inspired!


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  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 4:47 am

    Isn’t it interesting we all just want to dress up our jeans and be comfy! We never go anywhere anymore where I need to dress the least bit formally. I had to dig deep in my closet to find anything festive! I wanted to add a little velvet or a pretty lace top but couldn’t find anything that suited me. I like you don’t want to buy something I am only going to wear once. Love the outfits you put together. Thanks so much for joining us. We need to get together!!

  • Reply
    classic casual home
    November 14, 2019 at 6:59 am

    I just love the velvet and jeans idea. Love all your necklaces and your pretty smile! Thanks for all the advice!
    Mary Ann

  • Reply
    Ramona Puckett
    November 14, 2019 at 7:33 am

    What a great idea! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 7:57 am

    You are the cutest gal……your photos, outfits, blogs, articles…… all make smile! Happy Holidays!

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 8:13 am

    I love that velvet top and you wear it so well!

  • Reply
    sandi mcdougall
    November 14, 2019 at 9:02 am

    I think all of your holiday outfits are inspiring to me. Love you in the purple top & scarf.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 10:33 am

    The doubling – thank you! What a great tip. I feel like I need a t-shirt under my t-shirts these days.

    So many great looks, very festive.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Brenda, I knew your post would be great! So many cool ideas here. I am in love with that velvet top on you. I agree it feels so good on doesn’t it? I think we all need some velvet. I also adore the black jacket and the sheer t shirt. You are so right we need to enjoy this season and add some sparkle and life to everything now. Mixing the reds is so pretty too…I have to remember to do this. I am so glad also to know I’m not the only one using table runners as scarves and visa-versa! LOL. Love your style Brenda. Fun doing this with you all. Hugs, Kim

  • Reply
    Diane B
    November 14, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    I love the violet velvet and scarf on you! That orange and berry look is so striking, however I cannot wear orange and rust, look ghastly in those. I was planning to wear other festive colours instead of red and green this year. I have a pretty plum velvet wrap top that I hope to work into the mix with dark teals. Of course lots of bling works wonders. Love your take on this.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Wow! You must have been reading my mind. I was going to stop treating my velvet jacket and my diamond earrings as special events attire, and just wear them with jeans. At my age, what am I waiting for!

    • Reply
      November 14, 2019 at 6:06 pm

      Precisely Phyllis! I agree. What are we waiting for? We better enjoy what we have while we can!

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    I threw out a few candles getting ready for Christmas that were too precious I thought to burn when I first got them several Years ago. So point made and taken to wear my pretty things that were bought for special occasions in a new way. Every day should be a special occasion. Your outfit overview helped tremendously. I can see how to add a top or special skirt to my work attire without looking like I’m dressed for coattails at 8 am. We seldom have formal occasions now. So things sit and then don’t fit! My crushed velvet maroon top will look lovely with jeans and boots for lunch on Saturday. Thanks Brenda! You are the bomb!

  • Reply
    Annie Diamond
    November 14, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Brenda! I always admire your style! And that velvet top…that’s the perfect piece for holiday and I adore how you wear it in a casual way!

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Following Augustine
    November 15, 2019 at 9:58 am

    I’ve only just started thinking about what to wear for the upcoming holiday season, but I do know that I’ll be shopping my own closet this year, not buying anything new. I love the idea of introducing a bit of holiday flair into day to day wear now instead of waiting for the “big” events to start happening. Today you inspired me to dig a sweater with a silver metallic thread running through it from the bottom of the pile in my closet and wear it with my jeans. You’ve also given me ideas of how I can wear a few items (like my black lace pants) now instead of saving them for special occasions. Thank you, Brenda!

    Oh, how I would love to meet you in person! Unfortunately, Google Maps tells me that we’re almost 2500 km (over 1500 miles) apart. If I’m ever in your part of the continent though…

  • Reply
    November 15, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    BERRY AND ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!
    OH YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2019 at 7:07 am

    Thanks for the great ideas, love the violet velvet top. What I started doing several years ago (I saw it on Pinterest) when I was working was to wear a red scarf and red bag. I usually wear black or navy so it worked out well. I still do it now that I’m retired but more casually with jeans or black casual pants. I have a small fur crossbody bag so I added a red Pom Pom to it. Sometimes I wear red booties too. Small touches but effective.

  • Reply
    November 25, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Oh my goodness! Thank you! I was hoping you’d do a piece on velvet! I love the color and I LOVE THE DRESSED UP CASUAL feel of your velvet on denim outfit! All dressed up for the holidays with comfort built in!
    You look soo lovely in that color and it looks so soft. The scarf is a perfect match and looks so anytime artsy and yet so holiday season festive!
    Now I know how to include that look this season without it having be party dress formal!
    Love it! Thank you again!
    Liz from CT

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    December 4, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Wow! All of these are beautiful looks.I especially love the velvet top, jeans and boots…Christmas as you know in Oz, is summer, often boiling..So our inspiration is sun drenched, sea tones ,sand or brittle bus, outback colours…Odd I know for those experiencing snow and cool..So , cool whites,turquoise, sea greens and sandy linen and cotton,are my go to for this season. Think watermelon, pavolova, seafood, and wonderful fruit….Not sure always ,how to dress this up…Anyway, as always Sending love from Oz

    • Reply
      December 10, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Oh, I loved the journey through those beautiful colors that you’re wearing this time of year. The way you wrote that was so vivid. And you’re right, it’s tough to dress things up in so much heat. I’d love to experience Christmas down under! It would be so different and fun. Love from Sonoma, my friend!

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    December 21, 2019 at 2:42 am

    You are welcome here, anytime .. Sending love right back

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