with Susan Wagner
The Working Closet is your source for the best of what's hip and fresh in fashion and beauty. Susan Wagner keeps you up-to-date on trends and offers tips and tricks for making everything in your closet truly work for you.
You can also catch Susan over at Working Closet.
Business first: I’m thrilled by how many of you have joined WIM’s Work It, Kids! group. Groups like Work It, Kids! are a great way to connect with other working moms, and to get answers to all your pressing questions (sleep! homework! whining!). It is ALSO the key to entering the Work It, Kids! photo contest.
All of the Fine Print can be found here.
To the mail bag! Whitney is looking for a holiday party dress.
Every time holiday season rolls around, I’m invited to countless parties (literally, I stopped counting after 15 last year) with mainly family relatives. Before I bought a house and subsequently went near-broke, I wore different outfits to each party, but this year I’d like to find a versatile dress that, with the right accessories, I can tweak to keep the outfit original for a couple of the parties (cardigans! necklaces! scarfs! boots! etc, etc, etc!). I’m all out of ideas and a garbage bag will not suffice.
What would you recommend for me? I’m jolly-green-giant tall (5′11″) with wide hips and a large bust. And I live in New England. (Read: I’ll be swimming through acres of snow so something thin would be a big no-no.) I’ve found myself “falling out” of wrap dresses, so great-aunt Carlotta will be thankful if I keep those puppies in order. Otherwise, I’m not specific to color, style, fabric, or length - but I’m no fan of the ankle-length dress.
A dress is an excellent starting point when you are trying to streamline your holiday routine; toss it on and go. And as Whitney points out, the RIGHT dress can be accessorized in a variety of ways, to give it a completely different look every time.
So what is the RIGHT dress?
Calvin Klein ponte knit dress, Nordstrom, $118.00
Whitney wants to look for a dress that can go from day to night; this will make it appropriate for any type of party she is invited to. This means a dress in a neutral color, honestly, because neutrals are more versatile. Prints CAN be versatile, but they are also memorable, and since she’s going to repeat the dress, she wants something that will look a little different each time. Black is always a good fall back, but brown and navy and charcoal gray are good as well.
Whitney also wants a dress with some structure, but NOT an elaborately embellished dress. She wants to look for a nice knit fabric, like a ponte or jersey; knits can move easily from day to evening, and they are comfortable and warm. A knit dress also layers well, for cold winter nights. Because Whitney is tall and curvy, she should opt for a dress that will show off her curves without being too sexy (this is for family parties, after all). She can go with a V neck dress and layer it over a camisole for family dinners, or she can opt for something with a higher neckline.
Donna Ricco ponte knit dress, Nordstrom, $138.00
She wants to keep the hemline right at the knee, either just above or just below; just above will be the most versatile, as this will enable her to wear the dress both with flats and leggings AND with knee-high boots, but a longer hemline will also work, both with boots and with flats (but wear tights, not leggings). She should look for slim sleeves, so that cardigans and jackets will fit easily over them, and a waist that can be belted, for one more option. She should try layering the dress over a turtleneck in a bright color, or under a v-neck sweater.
Whitney absolutely CAN make one dress work for all of her holiday needs; she wants to keep it simple and structured and neutral, and then mix and match accessories to change her look from party to party.
See more of my dressing up list at ThisNext.
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