Fashion

The 12 new rules for holiday party dressing

Richard Bernardin Author: Elle Canada Credits: Richard Bernardin

Fashion

The 12 new rules for holiday party dressing

Every woman could use a few fabulous ideas to energize their holiday party portfolio to get through the season in style. Here are a 12 quick and easy styling tips to keep in mind for all your cocktail fetes before ringing in the New Year.

1. Opt for rich jewel tones
Don't be afraid to stand out in bright shades of orange, teal and, the most au courant of winter colours: festive red. A satiny shift offers just the right amount of shine for a holiday cocktail party. Just be sure to keep the rest of your look simple with black opaque, natural hair and muted makeup.

2. Tote a luxe clutch
It's all about adding glamour with precious extras. An intricately decorated minaudière or an oversized buttery leather envelope clutch is an elegant option and has the ability to instantly upgrade every outfit.

3. Work white for night
Look for a little white dress that works for winter. For a new take, experiment with heavier fabrics (not warm-weather linen and chiffon) in halter-neck or racer-back styles. Just be sure to pair it with seasonally appropriate accessories like black or anthracite boots and bags.

4. Go glam in gold
Whether you go for a look-at-me embellished mini or a more conservative yet still sexy knit sheath, a metallic frock will make you the hit of the party. A belted grey cardigan or camel blazer can help tone it down if you need to go from the office straight to the party.

5. Do day-to-night dressing
Speaking of going from the boardroom to the ballroom, modern glamour girls know that you can get major mileage out of your work wear. Simply take a sleek and sophisticated sheath (think Victoria Beckham's curve-contouring styles), then swap your conservative pumps for opulent accents.

6. Get gloved up
In freezing temperatures, statement gloves are a girl's best friend. Not only do they keep you snug but they will add instant glamour to capes and cocoon coats. Look for beautifully embellished styles with sequins, beading and appliques or, alternatively, a flashy leopard or zebra print.

Find out how to make a bold entrance on the next page...

 HolidayParty-608.jpg7. Don bold baubles
Boost your bling with a chunky gold bib necklace, sparkly drop earrings, or another colourful bijoux that adds texture to your winter look. Nothing says holiday like festive jewellery.

8. Master menswear
For the ultimate after-dark statement, forgo the ubiquitous LBD and don a classic tuxedo suit. Balance the mannish mood with delicate accents such as ribbons, lace and bows.

9. Try a topcoat
No winter wardrobe is complete without a sharply tailored topper. Make a major entrance at your next fete by slipping on a bright and perfectly tailored coat, supersized fur or ultra chic cape over a cocktail dress.

10. Twinkle with your toes
Kick cocktail season into high gear by stepping out in ornately embellished footwear. Jewel-like stilettos or glitter-sprayed booties (think Miu Miu's hit heels) will make every outfit party perfect.

11. Play peek-a-boo
Turn heads at your next evening event with an elegant see-through ensemble. Sheer lace and other transparent fabrics in the form of tulle, mesh and chiffons are at once sophisticated and sexy. Look for a whisper-thin silk blouse worn over a camisole, or try a striking sheer skirt layered over a mini. The conceal-and-reveal will finish every out with panache.

12. Go to great lengths
2012 is set to be the year of the ground-grazing gown. No longer reserved for formal occasions, it's time to celebrate the holidays with a 24/7 maxi dress that's made for midnight glamour. Opt for a dramatic bias cut with a graphic print and sexy slit - and then raise your glass when the clock strikes 12.

Read more:
Holiday party dressing must-haves
2011 Holiday gift guide
Holiday beauty tips: Party perfect hairstyles
The 8 best holiday beauty looks

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The 12 new rules for holiday party dressing