Holiday Clothes You'll Wear Year-Round

If it's beaded, silky, sheer or shiny, chances are you've buried it in the back of your closet. Why not work those dress-up pieces into your dress-down, everyday life—and stop waiting for a party invitation to arrive?

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The Bow-Tipped Pump

Beauty, meet versatility: Classic black and white is easy to wear, and the pump style is appropriate for day or night.


Work: Red satin shoes at the office? Not so much. An almost spectator? Sure. Wear with your basics (black or gray slacks, cardigans) to add some oomph.
Weekend: Try these with khakis (the kind you roll at the hem so the ankle is exposed), bare legs and a men's-style white button-down.
Night out: With jeans, of course (skinny leg, dark rinse), and topped with the feminine blouse of your choosing.
J.Crew satin and suede pumps, $298;
Jens Mortensen

The Tux, Redux

If you've RSVP'd for cocktails at seven, this look is sexy and chic. Here's how to wear the pieces again (and again), even when the party's over:


Wear the jacket on weekends
Heading to the farmers' market? Team this (Lauren by Ralph Lauren velvet jacket, $199; 800-223-7440) with jeans or cords and slip a plaid flannel button-down underneath. Then jump into your Wellies, and off you go.
Dress the pants down
Take away the dressy elements, and these slacks (Franklin + Gowerwool pants, $225; are classic in style and fabric. To make them office appropriate: Pair with a crisp white blouse, a sweater or even a tweed jacket in gray.
Use the shoes as an accent
Skip them with skirts and instead wear these heels (Aldo satin and rhinestone sandals, $110; with any pants: cropped cigarettes, trousers, jeans, cargoes, drawstrings. Pair them with a feather clutch (BCBGMaxazria feather and Lucite clutch, $158; for a touch of glam.
Jens Mortensen

The Women's Tuxedo: A Brief History

When actress Marlene Dietrich wore a tux in the 1930 film Morocco, the gender-bending marked her character as extreme and possibly dangerous. Not until 1966 did the look become officially haute, when Yves Saint Laurent unveiled his now-iconic le smoking. Today the tell-tale satin trim is hot (and cool) on pants, jackets, coats and sweaters. We like-y.

Everett Collection

Tuxedo Junction

Ideas from the runway (from left to right):


Yigal Azrouel, Resort 2011: Pair tux pants (love that cobalt stripe) with a long top and a bold-color belt


Pucci, Resort 2011: The tux jacket is universal dress topper.


Stella McCartney, Resort 2011: In gray, a tux is softer, more casual.

From left: Yigal Azrouel, Emilio Pucci, Stella McCartney

Fabric FAQ: How Do I Wear Brocade for a Day?

This classic party fabric is beloved for its texture and shine. To bring it into daylight, you need to tone it down by adding matte elements to balance the sparkle (wear the bottom with a wool turtleneck, the jacket with spice-colored jeans). Sunday brunch with friends? Dinner and a movie? Perfection.

Oscar de la Renta, Fall 2011

Holiday Madness

What festive separate does not translate into everyday style? The Christmas sweater. Doesn't work for the office, doesn't work for weekends, doesn't work for a night out (that Ellen DeGeneres wore one in a Saturday Night Live sketch, left, says it all). The Christmas sweater is like a fruitcake: sweet, but grownups should take a pass.

Associated Press

Flat Out

They're jewelry for your feet—flashy flats that are a fun and unexpected way to incorporate shine. A red-hot trend this season, they're comfy for parties but also beg to go casual (with jeans? gray flannels? wool plaid A-line? Go for it!). Legs: either matte (opaque tights, ribbed knee socks) or bare.
1 Bettye Muller silk and leather flats, $375;
2 Paul Mayer velvet flats, $255; 212-570-5900.
3 Coach sequin and leather flats, $178;
4 French Connection black and silver flats, $120; 212-219-1197.
5 French Sole Lurex flats, $180; 212-737-2859.
Jens Mortensen

The Fabulosity of Faux

Faux jewelry came into vogue in the 1930s, when women, desperate to get their bling on in a tight economy, could afford only inexpensive baubles. (Coco Chanel was an early adopter, and today her originals are highly collectible.) Flash forward eight decades, and the glittery confections are as popular as ever. What's new: a casual pairing. Putting on the glitz with a satin cocktail dress? Cheesy. Wearing glitz with khakis and a sweater? Totally awesome. Try a giant cocktail ring, wear humongous rhinestone hoops, consider a dazzling bracelet. As with all things, you have to know when enough is enough. If you're this close to resembling the wife of a Mob boss, then dial it back. Our advice? Wear one piece at a time to strike it just right.
Lulu Frost vintage bracelet, $288;
Jens Mortensen

Q&A with Spanx Founder Sara Blakely

What are your essentials?
My absolute favorite piece is Spanx Tight-End Tights ($26; We have the solid black that's a must, plus fun colors and patterns. They add an edge to any outfit, they keep you warm, and they offer great shaping.
How about dealing with dressier fabrics?
Our camisoles provide coverage and hide muffin top. And our bras eliminate back fat—especially important when wearing satin, which is particularly revealing.
How do you know if you're getting the right fit?
The right size shaper won't roll or ride. Women may think that going for a smaller size will make them look even slimmer, but that much compression just isn't comfortable.
Do you have any how-to-wear shapewear tips?
Step into slimming camisoles and bodysuits rather than pull them over your head. For all shapewear, hand washing is best. Never put it in the dryer.
When in doubt…
Wear whatever you want and have fun!
Courtesy of Spanx

Editor's Pick: Susan Swimmer, Fashion Features Editor

“I'll wear this emerald blouse with skinny navy slacks and burgundy loafers—a whole color-block look for work.”

Talbots silk charmeuse top, $99; Banana Republic polyurethane belt, $40;
Style tip: Have waist, will define it!
Jens Mortensen

Editor's Pick: Jonny Lichtenstein, Contributing Fashion Editor

“This is a perfectly cropped version of the tux jacket. Pair it with a narrow-striped cotton T-shirt, distressed skinny-leg jeans and satin ballet flats for a look that's very Paris chic.”

Cynthia Steffewool blazer, $295; 212-403-6200.
Style tip: Nana's brooch, cool again.
Jens Mortensen

Editor's Pick: Tara Dolan, Fashion Market Director

“The silver threading in the skirt is dressy but subtle. I'll wear it on weekends with nubby tights, a black turtleneck and riding boots.”

Eva Franco wool blend skirt, $245;
Jens Mortensen

Celebs Do It, Too: Demi Moore

The chiffon top works for the day because it's left loose and paired with rocker skinny black jeans.

Getty Images

Kerry Washington

The feathered skirt was last season's "it" piece for the holidays. Mixed with a T-shirt, not so serious.

Will Ragozzino/Getty Images

Jennifer Garner

The spangled pencil skirt is taken down a notch with a matte neutral topper (and little jewelry).


Eva Longoria

Who says running errands calls for ho-hum? Not Eva. Amp up your look with a party heel.

Splash News

Reese Witherspoon

Add polish and a little coverage to a print dress with a sized-for-her tuxedo jacket.

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Sigourney Weaver

The silk blouse pops against an everyday cotton cardi; the brooch is the bonus.


Start with the holiday clothes: check out the pieces that will make you shine this season.


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Gary Gershoff/Wireimage

First Published November 30, 2011

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