Dazzling Dressing tips for all those holiday parties

Sunday, December 5, 2004

From staff and wire reports

Dressing for a festive office party doesn't mean searching the closet for all your red and green attire. s This year, traditional holiday colors and designs are out, and glamor is in.

But questions remain: How do you achieve a glamorous look on a budget?

The holiday season can mean attending parties that are both fancy and funky. Dress can be either casual or classy so it's important to have outfits suitable for any ocassion.

Here are some tips:

Go glamorous with accessories

Editors at Marie Claire magazine say this season's look is a throwback to the days of Grace Kelly and Greta Garbo. That means wearing everything glamorous from fur stoles to high heels and diamonds.

Pair dazzling cubic zirconia bracelets and chandelier earrings with a dress you already own. Add a touch of glamour with a fur wrap or a clutch.

Add a splash color

Skip the black dress and find one in wine, burgundy or gold. Green is even popular for the holidays -- and you don't have to pair it with red to be festive.

This luxurious look doesn't need to cost a fortune either. Designers know that women want to feel and look luxurious, no matter what their price range, so they're choosing rich jewel tones and fine fabrics. Choose one piece to add to your wardrobe without breaking your bank account. A simple skirt paired with a blouse you already own -- or vice versa -- can update your look. A pantsuit also can be an ideal transition piece to take you from an office gathering to a more formal outing.

Feel great, look great

When you're choosing a holiday dress, make sure it feels great against your skin. A beautifully beaded dress may scratch or itch if the lining isn't significant. To look great at a party, you need to feel great in your clothes.

Add some bling

When it comes to jewelry, your diamonds don't have to be real since most party-goers won't be able to tell the difference. If you don't have diamonds, go shopping for cubic zirconia. Most discount stores offer good costume jewelry, and flea markets and garage sales also are good places to search. Or ask a female relative to borrow one of her pieces.

Wear heels

The higher the heel the better, fashion experts say. Sandals without hose also are a possibility, but shimmering hosiery are acceptable when the weather turns too cool for bare feet.

Marie Claire's Lucy Sykes suggests women look to fashion magazines for guidance on what jewels look good with particular dresses, but she says ultimately it's up to the woman to decide for herself what looks right.

"If you're unhappy with what you have on, it will show -- no matter how glamorous your dress or jewels," Sykes said. "Magazines are there to give you an idea of what you can look like. We don't expect you to go out and spend $10,000 on a dress or $5,000 on a necklace."

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