Holiday outfits should have celebratory mood

One more thing to add to the to-do list for your holiday party: Find an outfit that creates a celebratory mood, is welcoming and warm (but not hot), can hide a little sauce splatter and has pockets to stash remotes, phones and, for the ladies, lip gloss.

This product image courtesy of Park & Bond shows menswear from Park & Bond. Tyler Thoreson

This product image courtesy of Park & Bond shows menswear from Park & Bond. Tyler Thoreson

NEW YORK — One more thing to add to the to-do list for your holiday party: Find an outfit that creates a celebratory mood, is welcoming and warm (but not hot), can hide a little sauce splatter and has pockets to stash remotes, phones and, for the ladies, lip gloss.

It’s the delicate balance of being chic and comfortable.

“I can’t imagine any more pressure when you’re putting on a party — when you are so focused on wine and food — and you have to look beautiful as well,” says Simon Kneen, creative director of Banana Republic.

“Men have it a little easier, but you still have to make it look effortless and easy to manage.”

Dressing for the role of host is a little bit different from a guest, with many more practical considerations. Just like every other aspect of the party, seasoned, stylish party-throwers say you’ll likely want to do as much preplanning as you can.

Even last month, Kneen knew what he’d be wearing next time he entertained: a poplin shirt, sleeves rolled, with a tie. Meanwhile, Manhattan-based designer Shoshanna Gruss will pull one of her many cocktail dresses with subtle slash pockets out of her closet and pair it with a chunky necklace or sparkly cuff bracelet.

“I have some fun statement pieces that I don’t get to wear often,” she says. “You’re setting the rules so you know you’ll be appropriate.”

It would be a letdown, she adds, for guests who have put thought into their outfits to find the hosts in something they’d wear any other night.

“It feels funny to put on a dress and high heels at home, when you know you’re not leaving, but it sets the tone,” Gruss says.

“And it will feel weird to have the heels on when you’re checking on everything at the last minute, but it won’t once the guests get there. Your guests will appreciate it.”

Minnie Mortimer says she likes to emerge from her bedroom all dressed up, especially now that she lives in more casual Los Angeles after growing up in New York and Palm Beach, Fla. She sees the holiday gatherings in her own home as an opportunity to wear the maxi dresses she loves but finds difficult to navigate when getting in and out of the car or walking for several blocks. Maybe something in a jewel tone — which takes a little splatter better than something light.

This year, Mortimer will jazz up her look with a glittery hair pin. “I really like the holidays to be about a little bit of sparkle. It’s hard to do the rest of the time or it looks too much, but during the holidays, it looks appropriate,” she says.

Men don’t have to go quite that far, says Tyler Thoreson, head of Gilt Groupe’s menswear editorial and creative divisions, but they shouldn’t be in jeans, either.

“You will be tempted to wear jeans. Don’t. Think cords instead,” he says. He likes a deep-red, fine-wale pair. It’s an injection of “holiday without going overboard.”

Anyway, since you’ll inevitably use your trousers in lieu of a napkin or kitchen towel as you prepare the meal, cords will serve you better, according to Thoreson: Corduroy pants hold up after multiple washes. The dark denim you’d otherwise wear doesn’t do as well with many washes.

Other tips:

• Men’s accessories: Think comfortable shoes, says Thoreson, because you’ll be on your feet. Oh, he adds, and you’re likely to spill something at some point. He recommends lug-soled wingtips.

Banana Republic’s Kneen says any shoes at all are better than slippers.

• Invitation dress code: Mortimer says she likes a little guidance from the host, even if it’s just a vague suggestion such as “holiday-party dress.”

But, Gruss says, remember, it’s family time.

Wear the more conservative cuts and save the sexy Herve Leger-style bandage dress for another occasion.

—Beauty: Makeup should be maintenance-free, says Ricky Wilson, Dior Beauty’s celebrity makeup artist. “I take the same approach I do with a client attending a red carpet event. You have to keep in mind that you have many people looking at you with little or no time to look at yourself.” His picks include false eyelashes or at least waterproof mascara, and liquid eyeliner.

For the lips, he suggests a neutral waterproof lip pencil underneath a lipstick AND a gloss. You want staying power, he says.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
A CN rail worker stands on an idle locomotive as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
CN makes rival bid to CP Rail’s offer to buy U.S. railway Kansas City Southern

Offer tops proposal made last month by Canadian Pacific Railway

The Rogers Logo is photographed on a Toronto office on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Rogers says wireless service fully restored after daylong nationwide outage

Wireless interruption had deep economic implications

President Joe Biden meets with members of congress to discuss his jobs plan in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Feds weighing how to respond after verdict in Chauvin trial

The verdict, and the aftermath, will be a test for Biden

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, centre, tables the federal budget in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. The federal government unveiled spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course for a post-pandemic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois to propose budget rewrites as debate starts

O’Toole has signalled that his party will propose its own economic recovery plan

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Super League a ‘longtime dream’ for Madrid president Pérez

League created because coronavirus pandemic left clubs in a dire financial situation

San Jose Sharks centre Patrick Marleau (12) skates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, in San Jose, Calif., Monday, March 29, 2021. Marleau is skating in his 1,757th game. Only one other player in NHL history has hit that mark. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Tony Avelar
Patrick Marleau set to break Gordie Howe’s record for most NHL games played

Marleau was set to suit up for the 1,768th time Monday

FILE - In this Saturday April 17, 2021 file photo, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II follows the coffin in a car as it makes it’s way past the Round Tower during the funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip inside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England. Now that the Royal Family has said farewell to Prince Philip, attention will turn to Queen Elizabeth II’s 95th birthday on Wednesday, April 21 and, in coming months, the celebrations marking her 70 years on the throne. This combination of events is reminding the United Kingdom that the reign of the queen, the only monarch most of her subjects have ever known, is finite. (Leon Neal/Pool via AP, file)
Queen enters ‘twilight’ of reign after farewell to Philip

Charles’ increased role began gradually

This combination photo shows Oscar nominees for best actress, from left, Viola Davis in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Andra Day in “The United States vs Billie Holiday,” Vanessa Kirby in “Pieces of a Woman,” Frances McDormand in “Nomadland and Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman.” (Netflix, from left, Hulu, Netflix, Searchlight Pictures, Focus Features via AP)
Oscar predictions: Can anything beat ‘Nomadland’?

Best actress race is perhaps the biggest wild card

Letter: Restrictions have nothing to do with religion

Many have framed the closure of GraceLife Church near Edmonton by Alberta… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Thanking volunteers in Red Deer

National Volunteer Week is April 18 to 24. At the Canadian Cancer… Continue reading

Letter to the editor
Letter: Good on MLAs for speaking out

This is a letter in regard to MLAs not standing united behind… Continue reading

Treena Mielke
Family: Happiness can be found in many ways

I’ve heard it said that necessity is the mother of invention. I… Continue reading

Most Read