Holiday Style Tips: Office to Cocktail Party Style in a Snap

Some holiday fêtes require a fancy dress, but those are few and far between. Most of the time you’re running straight from the office to a local bar or restaurant, or maybe to a friend’s house. You don’t want to be under- or overdressed, of course, but most of all, you don’t have the time or energy to plan your outfits three weeks in advance. These five pieces should get you through 90 percent of the shindigs you plan to attend between now and the New Year. The best part: You probably have this stuff in your closet right now!

MORE: Party Shoe Road Test

Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly

Black Blazer

Choose one that fits close to the body but not too tight that it can’t be buttoned. Speaking of which, one- or two-button styles lend themselves to social situations best; more buttons might look too corporate. In my experience, jackets made of knit fabrics are usually easier to wear. Plus, you can push up the sleeves for that effortlessly chic look.

Daytime note: Wear the blazer to the office just don’t overdo the accessories. I’ll get to those in a minute.

  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly
  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly
  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly

Shiny Clutch

Did you buy one three years ago for Cousin Jane’s wedding then promptly throw it in the bottom of your closet? Dig it out now! Shine is the most important component of a holiday look. It means you’re ready to par-tay! Gold, silver and bronze bags are the easiest to incorporate, but even a shimmery fuscia clutch would be better for a holiday soiree than a matte black hobo bag.

Daytime note: Bring your usual day bag to work, but stick the clutch inside. Be sure to stock it with those evening party essentials like red lipstick and more jewelry.

MORE: Makeover Your Tummy: Holiday Edition

  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly
  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly

Dark Jean

Think navy, indigo or black. These deep hues tend to look more nighttime-appropriate; distressed or light-wash jeans can be too causal. Choose the cut that’s most flattering for your body type. Remember, you’ll probably end up wearing a heel, which will elongate the leg, so those skinny jeans might be tonight’s winners after all.

Daytime note: If you can’t wear jeans to work because of the company dress code, do a streamlined trouser or a pencil skirt.

  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly
  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly
  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly

Ankle Boots

I’ve found that even women who don’t love to wear high heels can manage sporting a bootie for an evening. They offer more foot and ankle support and frequently thicker heels, adding up to greater comfort and stability. They elongate your leg line too and dress up what would otherwise be a casual outfit. The available options right now are many, from laser-cut to metallic studded models. If you haven’t already, jump on this trend right now.

Daytime note: You might be able to get away with ankle boots in the office, but very embellished styles might be too flashy for day. If so, wear your flats to work and stash the booties in your cube.

  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly
  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly
  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly
  • Holiday Party Survival Kit Clinton Kelly

Jewels!

It’s December. Give granny’s pearls a rest and amp it up! Finish the year in style by stepping out of your comfort zone and wearing flashier pieces than you normally would. What’s that? You’re afraid of looking like a Christmas tree at Trump Plaza? Understandable. So, make a choice: Wear either a statement necklace or a dangly earring. (Both could conceivably be too much.) Then, add a jazzy cuff or a stack of bracelets on your left wrist and a vibrant cocktail ring on your right hand. I guarantee you won’t be accused of over-accessorizing by anyone who isn’t a complete and total drip.

Daytime note: Don’t pile on the jewels during work hours, unless you work in a jewelry store.

Holiday Style Tips
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