When it comes to the first outfit you’ll wear in the New Year, Allen asserts, “Go for it ALL! Sequins! Back out! Highest heels!” If, like Allen herself, you like to keep your look much more low-key, go for a nice pair of jeans and a festive top, using jewelry to add New Year wattage to your look. Shop designer LaQuan Smith for killer countdown dresses. Modern Day Mogul has haute blinging bowties.
Both Allen and Lewellyn say men should forget the Christmas/Cosby sweater and opt for a more toned down knit at the annual family get-together. Pair a classic cashmere style with a collared shirt, flat front chinos or dark jeans, and slip-on boots or lace-up oxfords. Lewellyn says use color to get in the festive mood, specifically a cranberry, camel, or purple sweater. Consider a combination sweater like this cool woven sweater shirt by Diddy’s label Sean John or this wool and leather turtleneck sweater by Miami native Miguel Antoinne. Lewllyn adds, “Glasses,” prescription or fashion, “are a great way to boost your outfit.”
Use cufflinks, a pocket square, and/or a nice watch to add holiday cheer to a crisp tailored suit, and don’t be afraid to play with printed shirts as seen on the gentlemen of popular men’s fashion blog Street Etiquette. For classic and novelty cufflinks starting at $69, shop DROBE, founded by African-American entrepreneur Ryan Taylor (see above). Lewellyn recommends bargain hunting for an investment watch. “A guy can never go wrong with a nice watch,” she says.
The annual office shindig is the ultimate networking event. Dress like you’re supposed to drink—responsibly. Skip the skin-tight, cleavage-baring, micro-mini “freakum dress” and opt for a festive yet professional look. Lewellyn is a fan of tailored pieces and simple shift dresses in jewel tones. Think, “an oxblood blazer or great jewel tone pant in a brocade,” she says. To get the look, hit up Tracy Reese for this embellished cobalt dress, Michelle Obama favorite J. Crew, which has a chic jacquard capri, and online retailer ASOS for its executive blazer in color-of-the-moment, oxblood.
“Do something that is classic with an unexpected pop,” Lewellyn advises, suggesting a classic shift dress with a statement necklace. “When you’re at the family table… taking photographs,” she explains, “you’re seated, so usually [the pictures are] going to be neck up, maybe bust up. …A statement necklace is always going to be your best bet.” Depending on how formal or casual your family gatherings are, Allen says “a beautiful blouse with a great jacket and jeans would work as well. Don’t forget some fun accessories!” Designer Rachel Roy’s RACHEL Rachel Roy collection has a party-themed online shop that features stunning costume necklaces, simple but sizzling dresses, and festive holiday blouses.
“This is the deal for guys with New Year’s,” Lewellyn begins. “You have to first decide, or kind of understand what kind of guy you are.” For the unabashed fashionisto, “I think a slim, single-breasted blazer in a velvet can be really nice.” For men who aren’t comfortable with a trendy look, she suggests a winter khaki suit. Don’t forget a haircut shape up—or the lotion. “No ashy hands, guys,” Lewellyn warns. One of the best style statements a man can make, Lewellyn adds, “especially for a guy who’s not too trendy, is… really excellent grooming.” Visit Express.com for a dark velvet blazer.
A holiday-themed dress by black designer, LaQuan Smith. A holiday-themed dress by black designer, LaQuan Smith. (Photo: http://laquansmith.com)
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It’s holiday party season, which for many of us adds to the anxiety of an already hectic time of year. With a calendar crammed with commitments, not to mention racing to meet end of year goals at work, the many opportunities to party can feel like yet another obligation. Then there’s what to wear. Between the annual office Christmas party, your family dinner fete, and solidifying New Year’s plans, pulling together a celebratory look can be daunting.
Style Expert Daisy Lewellyn says take a deep breath and do like Madonna says: Celebrate! “You have to figure out what to wear that you can celebrate in,” Lewellyn explains, citing discomfort as the biggest fashion don’t.
“She’s tugging and pulling; her boob’s popping out,” she describes the familiar scene of a woman in a dress that doesn’t quite fit. “She’s walking in the parking lot with a ball gown on and bare feet [because her shoes hurt].”
Bottom line? “You’ve gotta wear something that you feel comfortable in,” Lewellyn says. With comfort in mind, there are a plethora of affordable fashion trends to choose from.
Stylist and personal style coach Steffany Allen says the season’s trends of lace and tuxedo-inspired looks (these for men and women) are perfect for the holidays.
Lewellyn also puts classic sequins, jewel tones, and seasonal supple leathers at the top of her holiday season style list. The fashion guru is particularly privy to leather. “Leather has been revolutionized,” she gushes. “It’s got stretch and it’s got color.” And it doesn’t have to bust your budget.
Lewellyn, who authored the shopping guide Never Pay Retail Again, recommends hitting up discount retailers for high-end designer pieces and trendy items.
Allen says, shop your closet.
“Ladies, consider that little black dress that’s tucked away in the closet,” Allen continues, adding, “Invest in a fab metallic shoe, a bold statement necklace and a great cocktail ring.”
For the gents, “I’d suggest investing in a well fitted and well made sports jacket,” Allen elaborates. “Keep the color simple, such as black, deep navy or charcoal grey, so it will compliment items that are already in the wardrobe. Mix it up with different colored and patterned ties and pocket squares for a more polished look.”
For more great holiday style selections, check out our style guide above featuring black designers. These fab garments have that little bit of added sparkle or glam for the perfect festive touch.
Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is a fashion blogger and the author of ‘Powder Necklace.’ Follow Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond on Twitter at @nanaekua.