To quote American model and actress Lauren Hutton “Fashion is what you’re offered…by designers. And style is what you choose.” (She turned 80 in November and still looks fabulous so she clearly knows what she’s talking about!)
The distance between fashion and style never seems to be as great as at Christmas. The shops are full of everything from colourful Christmas jumpers to sequined evening wear, things that might be fashionable but what if they are just not your style? And I think we all want to look stylish and comfortable at Christmas. Even if you’ve spent Christmas morning in the kitchen, slaving over a hot turkey, we would all like to emerge looking immaculate and cool as a cucumber!
In my view, the secret to stylish and comfortable Christmas dressing comes down to one thing: a little advanced planning. The good news is that ladies ‘of a certain age’ generally know better what suits them and what they feel comfortable in so we have a head start over our younger sisters! After that, it’s down to planning ahead. Here are my suggestions on what to focus on.
Get the basics right
Particularly as we age, there are some little, personal grooming points that can make the difference between looking effortlessly elegant and just thrown together. Things that might have looked ‘boho’ or trendy when we were younger just don’t do us any favours as we get older.
Three words: hair, nails, undies. If you have a hectic holiday season ahead, whether you’re entertaining at home or away visiting family or friends, invest a little time ahead in getting these right. Does your hair need a trim or a colour touch-up? How about a shorter mani/pedi in a nude colour to help survive chips or breaks? And have you got comfortable but supportive lingerie to go under each outfit? These should be ‘bankable’ items that you can take off the ‘things to worry about’ list.
Plan a Christmas wardrobe
Look ahead at what you’re likely to be doing each day and plan for it. Think about the practicals: Will I be sitting, standing or walking? How hot/cold will it be indoors/outdoors? How dressy do I want to be? Often times, layers and accessories can be key allies in coping with all these eventualities. Could you quickly dress-up a more casual outfit with a statement piece of jewellery if unexpected guests arrive? Can you peel off some layers (and keep your modesty!), if all that partying raises the temperature?
The principles of a capsule wardrobe – where most pieces go with most other pieces – can be really useful, especially if you’re going away. Not only does it help save packing space but it will give you flexibility of knowing that you can dress to suit almost any eventuality.
Have an emergency outfit on standby
Whether it’s gravy splashes or red wine drops, increased sociability increases the likelihood of unfortunate accidents. Plan ahead to avoid panic! If you’re away, have a pretty scarf or light cardigan rolled neatly in your bag that you can quickly slip over any unsightly marks. If you’re at home, you can have thought ahead of time which other top goes with this skirt/trousers (or vice versa) so you can nip and do a quick change without missing the fun. (And remember to treat the mark as soon as you can before it becomes a permanent stain!)
Don’t let your shoes let you down
As we age, we tend to get a little boring (dare I say it!) with our choice of footwear. Whilst I completely understand that we might have bunions to cope with, or we just don’t feel steady walking in high heels anymore, that’s no excuse for boring shoes! There are so many styles, sizes, widths and colours to choose from these days, don’t let your footwear age you prematurely. If there was ever a time to splash out on some sequined espadrilles, for example, (flat, comfortable and festively bling!) Christmas is surely it!
Go easy on the make-up
At Christmas, particularly if we’re going out to parties, it’s tempting to go a bit heavy on the make-up: dark colours for drama on both eyes and lips. However, dark colours can be quite aging, and no one wants to have eyeshadow clumping up in their laughter lines! Instead, go with one statement feature (either eyes or lips) and go with a more paired-back glam everywhere else. Bright lipstick in a shade that really suits you will help detract from any dark circles caused by late-night gift-wrapping sessions. At this time of year, we can all get away with more metallic, sparkly nudes (either gold- or silver-tones, depending on your season), which look festive and far more effortlessly elegant.
Two Christmas items I never go without
Finally, there are two items that I always keep to hand at Christmas, whether I’m at home or away. The first is a large scarf or pashmina, probably in some of my subtle but festive colour(s). It can help dress up any outfit when required or provide an extra layer if it’s got chilly. The second is a smart pair of slippers. Again, I don’t like cold feet so they are practical first and foremost. But whether I’m at home or staying away, I also don’t want my ‘old favourites’ dragging down the look of my Christmas outfits. There are so many comfortable but festive and sparkly choices out there now, there are no excuses for not having warm and stylish feet, even when you’re indoors!
Fed up with black? Get some more colour into your Christmas wardrobe here.
Don’t forget, if you want some personal help, I’m here if you’d like to contact me. Although I will be enjoying festivities leading up to Christmas, I do love helping you if you are needing some input. Message me and I’ll reply as soon as I can.