As a nod to all of the glittery nostalgia surrounding the holidays, we’re planning to don our sparkly best to shine on the holiday party circuit this year (a.k.a. #sequinchallenge). But going from the office to head-to-toe metallic at night can be tricky if not well timed, and with extra sequins on hand in case of emergency. So we chatted with Lisa Axelson, creative director at Ann Taylor, for her expert on how to quickly transform your workwear attire into glittery, and totally night-out appropriate outfits for your holiday fêtes.
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1. Have a mistletoe-ready little black dress. “I think a little black dress is an immediate go-to that can take you a lot of places,” says Axelson. Especially if you’re going there wearing a sequined blazer with it for festive holiday style.
2. Add a skinny black pant to your wish list. It’s a staple that can take you from office to elsewhere, depending on how you change up your top, says Axelson. “Some sort of a lace top this season is a must, that’s transformative.” And lace can easily translate into your night look in unexpectedly sleek ways. “You can wear touches of lace at the office, but I like when it’s got sheerness outside of the office as an amazing party tool.” Use wisely, friends.
3. Get cozy with this holiday season’s hottest colour combo—black and white. Things are getting graphic this season, with cool, geometric pieces in stark black and white ensembles. Take a black skirt or pant and add a black and white polka dot blouse over top. “I think there are easy ways to add a print on top of basic staples for interest,” says Axelson. “And then if you really want to make a statement, you can mix different prints, or what I would say are sister prints—so polka dots but different scales—and it has a lot of wow factor.”
5. Deck your wardrobe with the hottest prints. Everyone needs a great print for the holidays, so why not opt for a great satin red jacquard pant this winter? “A rich texture, woven in red and black, and incorporate that into a base collection of blacks and greys.”
6. Be naughty and nice. Think ladylike meets biker chic for your holiday style, with pieces embellished with a mix of leather, lace and bow details. “It’s really cute, pretty feminine moments, but there’s more of that Parisian chic to it,” says Axelson. Try Ann Taylor Faux Leather Ponte Leggings for a touch of leather that works for seamless transitional dressing over the holidays. “It’s a great way to add some urban cool to any outfit, and they’re really comfortable. Perfect for after you’ve overindulged in holiday cooking.”
7. Update your basics with festive pieces. “I think the aspect of versatility and really having your clothes work for you is so important because none of us really have time for a full outfit change anymore,” Axelson explains. “So I always think about what are those things that I can wear to the office that go desk to dinner, desk to party?”
And what are those staples? “The LBD or skinny pair of black pants or that great jacket—they are fundamental items in my closet, but with the addition of fabulous shoes, great jewellery, a gorgeous lace blouse, or something with a chunky embellishment on it, all of a sudden it transforms those pieces from your daywear staples to something that’s fabulous and ready for the cocktail party or dinner party.”
8. Don’t forget the sparkly accents. “Accessories –[they are] the most fun and probably the easiest way for somebody to transform their look,” says Axelson. As with most things this time of year, silver and gold always win. Try a fabulous statement necklace worn over a simple blouse. “Or it could be a white shirt buttoned up to the neck but you’ve got a gorgeous statement necklace,” muses Axelson. “Or if you’re wearing a sleeveless little black dress, maybe it’s a stack of gorgeous bangles on your arm.” Look for mirrored metallic accents on shoes to add a little more statement to your holiday style.
9. “And you have to have a killer coat, because too many times people run out and have to go to a holiday party,” says Axelson. “You’re wearing that cute little black dress, and if you’re living in the city and you’re trying to get a car, it’s awfully chilly.” Beat the cold with an “to package your entire look this time of year.”
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10. “Finish off all those pieces with a nice ankle bootie.” Add some edge to your sequined party ensemble with a sleek pointy toe boot. “An ankle boot is really utilitarian in the winter,” says Axelson about trekking through the snow to get from the office to your holiday party. In style, of course.
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