By Gretta Monahan
From now through the end of the year, we’ll be inundated by gatherings — whether it’s one of the many charity fundraisers around town, a cocktail party with friends, office holiday bashes or family holiday get-togethers. You’re going to need a few trusty-but-festive outfits that hit that sweet spot between slightly dressy and casual — flattering and statement-making but also not overly sexy — so you can wear it to all of the above without a second thought.
My advice is to invest in a few key trends that are also classic enough to translate into next year. Example: The cold shoulder phenomenon is everywhere, and one great way to tap it is with a Little Black Dress such as Milly’s Fiona Cocktail Dress ($330 at neimanmarcus.com). Its deep V-neck still provides good coverage, and the nipped waist and sheath design is feminine, and its high-tech, stretchy spandex-like material lets you be comfy all night while still looking put-together and fantastic.
Red is having a big moment this fall. Nab some of that impact for yourself in the streamlined but impossible-to-ignore design of Soprano’s ruffle hem dress ($49 at nordstrom.com). Its V-neck and princess-seamed bodice is pretty in its simplicity, and leads into a sassy flounce in its skirt. With just a tiny hint at flamenco-esque playfulness, it’s both festive and appropriate for pretty much any get-together.
Velvet is an easy winner this time of year, and it’s a no-brainer for the holidays. This season it’s getting lots of love from designers in jewel tones such as emerald green, deep sapphire blue and rich garnet red. I love that the designs we’re seeing now aren’t all completely formal. Some are slouchy and flowy, some are stretchy and fitted close to the body, some feature spaghetti straps, and others are a great way to rock the Shakespearian collar trend.
Lauren Ralph Lauren does one in shimmering dark blue with a sweet and simple turtleneck sheath ($145 at macys.com) with cute little cap sleeves. The Graziella dress by Mes Demoiselles ($270 at revolve.com) in a beautiful dark red is a nice mix of demure and edgy (its knee-length design is offset by a low-ish back), and the fitted-but-easy elastic waist gives you shape but isn’t constraining. And I can think of any number of silk or satin blouses that would look fantastic with a perfect velvet staple like the Linzy skirt ($129 at clubmonaco.com); it’s a flattering A-line that hits midcalf (another nice trend to bring into your holiday wardrobe mix).
Plaid sees a resurgence every fall, but this year it has a new energy to it. Some designs have a subtle perfect-for-the-holidays vibe, too, like the midi plaid dress that Vince is offering (on sale now for $207 at neimanmarcus.com). With delicate straps and a relaxed silhouette, it’s a great nod to the celebratory feel of the season, and looks as cute under a black fur bolero or silk tuxedo jacket as it does under a denim coat.