How to Dress for the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank

The New Holiday Outfit You Already Own

You’ve been invited to a holiday gathering at the home of an old friend.  She’s included an intimate group of friends and has said the dress code is “festive.”

“What the heck does that mean,” you wonder, and…

“What on earth do I buy?”

Before you grab your keys and head off to the shops, consider repurposing some items from your own wardrobe.  A holiday outfit can be festive – even “glam” – without needing to be a dress covered in sequins.

Often, a few sparkly accessories added to everyday clothing makes a classic item come to life in a very spirited way.

Remember those black velvet pumps with the ankle straps that you wore to your sister’s wedding last winter?  Won’t they look great with your black wear-to-work trousers and the bodysuit you normally wear with jeans?

Add a glittery accessory or two and you’re good to go for your neighbor’s holiday open house.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult to create party-worthy outfits.  A truly balanced wardrobe contains everything you need for any occasion, simply by mixing separate pieces — and that holds true for festive holiday outfits, too.

If your wardrobe isn’t yet at that place of balance, below is a list of useful items to collect now for this season, and others to come.  Pick and choose from the list to build a selection of pieces that are easy-at-hand to dress up everyday clothes, so they’re transformed to something extraordinary (in a snap!).

What to look for:

  • An evening shoe in a hue that coordinates with your wardrobe’s base color theme (if you don’t yet have a color theme, reach out to me so we can chat about defining yours).
  • Glittery neck scarf (or shoulder wrap, bolero, shrug, etc.). It might be sequined, covered in paillettes, or made of metallic fabric.  It might not be glittery at all, but instead, made of a rich fabric like velvet, or adorned with feathers or fringe — some embellishment that takes it above “everyday” status.
  • Sparkly rhinestone earrings or necklace (diamonds will do, too!).  Something that glistens, naturally uplevels an outfit and brings it to party mode.
  • A dinner ring (aka, cocktail ring; statement ring) sets the tone in a bold way.  It’s generally, large, sparkly, and not anything you’d wear to the office or WFH.
  • An evening bag that clearly expresses that you’re on holiday time.  It can be in an elegant fabric (e.g. velvet or moire taffeta) or it may be dressed up with special effects (fringe, sequins, feathers, etc.)

Peau de soie handbag from Black Rock Galleries

Swarovski Lucent Ring







Need to get ready, but low on time?

If you’re going out on a workday, plan your 9-5 outfit for some easy accessory swaps.  What can you change in jewelry, footwear, and hosiery?

Set out your items the night before and plan a bit of time to upgrade your makeup for the occasion.  You can be heavier handed with products for evening so that your makeup stands up to the strength of the bold accessories.

Transform a workday outfit to party-wear with a few accessory swaps.

How have you modified everyday clothes to make them party-ready?
Have a comment? Question? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

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Who is Patty?

Patty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices (normally), and… well, now on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

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