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What to Wear If You're a Holiday Hostess

Holiday Fashion For When You are the Hostess

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Cold Shoulder Sequin Top

Cold Shoulder Sequin Top by Adrianna Pappell, is great for at-home holiday functions. Buy Direct

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You've planned the menu, the guest list and the decorations. But do you have any idea what to wear for your holiday? We'll help you decide early so that your holiday outfit is the last thing on your mind the day of the holiday celebration.

At-Home Celebration

For casual family holiday gatherings, like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, you should focus on comfort. The idea is to look special, without being restricted. For example, you shouldn't wear a dress that's so short you can't bend over to pick up a present from under the tree.

With that in mind, here's what to wear for at-home holiday celebrations:
  • Look for relaxed shapes in festive fabrics like velour pull-on pants or cashmere tunics. Special details -- like sequin and satin -- can also make everyday pieces -- like tunics or shift dresses -- look holiday ready.
  • Don't dress up while you're cooking; save time during the meal prep to change into your holiday outfit because you don't want to get dirty. Go ahead and do hair and makeup early in the day and switch into your holiday hostess outfit at the last minute (waiting too long to get completely ready almost never works out.)
  • Wear an apron for dinner assembly and serving to protect from spills. A cute apron (they even make them in faux fur!) can actually be a fashion statement. Compare PricesShop for Aprons
  • Avoid tops that will get in the way with serving: anything with droopy sleeves or long belt ties might drop into the serving bowls. Opt instead for 3/4-length sleeves and tops that give you range of movement.
  • Choose a hairstyle that's special, but practical. Something like a low ponytail or half up/half down hairstyle keeps your hair out of your face but still looks special.

Dinner and Cocktail Parties

If you are hostessing a cocktail type party with a dressier bent, keep most of the rules above in mind, but choose a more formal outfit. Look for:
  • A dress that's elegant but not too bare. You want to look special, but still be able to bend over and serve an appetizer without spilling out of a strapless top. Look for easy shapes like a shift dress that aren't too constricting or fussy. Opt for fabrics with "give" like jersey, sweater knit or even velvet; the idea is to look gorgeous but be comfortable.
  • Let the finishing touches take an outfit to special occasion status. Go with an updo or something mor elegant than everyday hair. Opt for polished makeup like lined eyes, red lips and a totally "finished" look. And make sure that all of your accessories are dressy (now's the time to break out the pearls and sparkle.)
  • Shoes you can stand comfortably in for the entire party. Unlike the guests, you'll be milling around, running to the kitchen, etc. Metallic ballet flats look dressed-up but still give you comfort. You can even add inserts into some shoes to make them more comfy.
  • Pants and a top -- especially something with luxe fabrics like velvet, satin or cashmere -- work great for semi-formal parties.
  • If your evening party is dressy casual, you can wear black pants with a dressy blouse, jacket or sweater. Use accessories -- long, sparkly earrings, cute heels -- and special-looking makeup (glittery eyeshadow, red lips -- to add a festive touch
  • For casual get-togethers, mix denim with dressy pieces by wearing jeans with a dressier blouse or sweater.
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