The last week of Housewife Bliss and friends 'Holiday Workshop' is upon us! What a wonderful series it has been and I am positive I am not the only one who has learned so much from all the talented bloggers that Mrs. Bliss had the insight to gather together! Don't forget to check out all the fabulous suggestions, tips and inspiration these super ladies are sharing with us today, all the links are at the bottom of the post!
As excited as you might be about receiving an invitation to a holiday gathering, one thing that seems to be on everyone's mind is 'what does festive dressing really mean???" I can prove this with the many emails I have received on just that question since the start of our holiday workshop.
Festive dressing conjures up ideas of sweaters appliqued with Christmas trees and those earrings and pins that play an electronic version of Jingle Bells when you pull on them. But for the truly stylish gal, this doesn't have to be the last word in festive attire. Yes, you can dress festive and still keep your chic wits about you.
The gorgeous colors that evoke the holiday spirit are all around but that doesn't mean that we have to don them all at once to look 'festive'. Choose a color that symbolizes the holiday at hand and that suits your style, personality and complexion. Work with that one major color for a monochromatic look or if you prefer add touches of another holiday infused shade to compliment without looking garish or overdone.
A Little Dazzle Goes A Long Way
A sequined tank, satin pants or sparkly metallic shoes are fab choices on their own but one should never go overboard by mixing all together. One eye catching piece is definitely enough to make an impact without competing with the Christmas tree lights!
The absolute simplest way to do festive is with a strategically placed accessory! The key here is to make sure your piece says more chic than kitsch and keep your own personal flair in mind. I have come across the most darling little enamel pumpkin pins with crystal eyes, jewel-toned berets that evoke the spirit of Noel, and adorable Star of David diamond clustered necklaces. Festive accessories don't have to be festooned with symbols of the holidays to be appropriate so think outside the box when choosing an item. Playing up a color that captures the holiday spirit works just as well (see above!). The selection is out there for anyone who is on the hunt for just the right touch of dash.
I know you have all been waiting in anticipation for Thursday to roll around this week so that once again we can take a peek into the creative minds of these fabulous ladies that the divine Mrs. Bliss of Housewife Bliss has gathered together for this Holiday Workshop. As always, the links to all of this week's posts are down below so don't forget to click on them for all the holiday inspiration you can handle and make sure you mark your calendars with a 'do not miss' for next week's Holiday Workshop on the 28th which will find this super series coming to a close!
Truth be told I am not a big sports fan and up here in the True White North, football is not a sport most of us go crazy for but we are a social bunch and much like our neighbours to the south, we love a good party! During the fall/winter holiday season while some of us are concentrating on the festivities that are taking place indoors, there are some fabulous get-togethers that are being held outdoors. Of course, I am speaking of the wonderful tailgate parties that are happening as we speak all over North America. You don't have to be a die-hard football fan to get in to the spirit of the game and enjoy all the festivities the tailgate has to offer and you don't have to forgo looking stylish just because you are outdoors. This type of outfit should really not be over thought, this is not the runway or Fifth Avenue but a few simple style considerations beforehand will help you enjoy the game and tailgate to their fullest!
Build Warmth with Layers
I always say that nothing ruins 'the look' more than unnecessary discomfort. How can we cheer on our team and look fabulous while doing so if we are shivering and turning blue?!? Layering is your first defence here and choosing lightweight and non-bulky items as your base will do the trick. Choose luxurious silk underwear as your first layer that will not only keep you warm but will provide a smooth foundation for anything else you decide to layer on top. Tissue-thin t-shirts, tanks or henley style tops will slide right over the silk undergarments without pulling or bunching up.
Every Sally and Mary Jane in the stands will be sporting the team's 'official' jersey or paraphernalia. While this is a simple and easy way to show your support, it might leave you looking a little less than chic and a little more like every other sheep in the herd. To show your loyal support and stylish individuality at the same time, why not get a little creative with your colours and stand out (in a good way of course) amongst the cheering masses. Choosing one of the two team colours that looks best on you, place that shade closest to your face with a lovely little knit toque or cloche hat and a coordinating scarf wrapped around your neck. The secondary colour can be used anywhere else in your outfit but since we are looking for impact here, a heavy wool sweater featuring the other shade would look marvelous or how about all the darling fingerless gloves we are seeing everywhere this season? They allow you to indulge in all the delicious edible goodies packed into that basket or cooler and keep your hands toasty at the same time, form and function all in one!
Before You Step Out, Look Down
As much as we adore stilettos and all the stacked heeled boots gracing the glossy pages, this is not the place for your Manolos and Louboutins. Logical thinking right? You would think so but I have seen one too many young ladies trying to keep up with their husbands, partners or friends as they teeter and totter on stilts through gravely parking lots and muddy fields to not quickly mention appropriate footwear. Low-heeled or flat boots, wellies or trainers are perfect for these situations. If your footwear happens to be leather or suede, a quick spray of protection will ensure anything that lands on your shoes or boots can be easily cleaned afterwards.
Think 'Simple Care' for an Easy After
With finger foods and spirited beverages being the norm for tailgates, one must expect to get a little messy by the end of the party. Choose garments made out of materials that entail a easy clean-up. Denims, cotton knits and jersey and the like are your best bet since they can be thrown in the washing machine without a second thought. Steer away from anything that has to be dry cleaned or that might produce a tear or two if it gets soiled.
One of the most beloved television personalities of all time passed on this weekend and with Barbara Billingsley went a little bit of our childhoods. The iconic Mrs. Cleaver was the epitome of the perfect housewife and devoted mother.
Some might mock and criticize the role that Mrs. Billingsley portrayed as being unrealistic and anti-feminist but if you were a watcher of the show then or now, you should remember that Mrs. Cleaver was a woman of gentle strength who ran her family and home efficiently and with great care. She doled out her advice and motherly discipline with humour, wit and abounding love. Within her family, her role as matriarch was one that was respected and revered by the male members of the household (can you even picture Wally not doing as he was told, Ward speaking harshly to his wife or the Beaver sassing her, not a chance!) . And all the while, she toiled in the kitchen and throughout her home impeccably dressed and perfectly coiffed.
Looking fabulous and getting the job done (whatever the job may be, inside or outside of the home), could you ask for a better role model?!?!
My darling friend, the Suburban Princess was the one who broke the news to me of Mrs. Billingsley's passing over the weekend and she was also the one who had the splendid idea of honouring the lady and the role she made famous by donning our pearls on Friday in her memory. Please join us on Friday by putting on your pearls, visiting The Life of a Suburban Princess and linking your blog and hers with the McLinky tool you will find at the bottom of her post.
A very gracious thank you to the lovely Trish from Pink Preppy Lilly Lover who was kind enough to create the fabulous button you see below. Grab the button and add it to your post on Friday!
The second week of Housewife Bliss' Holiday Workshop is in full swing and just like last week and every Thursday in October, Mrs. Bliss and Friends will continue to bring you all the tips, suggestions and inspiration you will need to breeze through this holiday season without a worry! A list of links for this week's Holiday Workshop can be found out the bottom of this post, please take a moment to click on the links and visit with all the talented ladies that have gathered together for this super workshop!
Ask anyone what can ruin an otherwise fabulous party and at the top of their list you will surely find an unhappy hostess. All the meticulous planning and party prep in the world can not make up for a hostess that is 'not in the mood' during her soiree. But what could a make a hostess less than joyous you ask?
Barring any major catastrophes that could occur while the party is in full swing or domestic tragedies, much like the ones that usually chase poor old Betty Draper around leaving her to slump onto her bed in a unkempt mess, the outfit that one chooses to don for her gathering can make or break a successful hostess.
Many of us are so wrapped up in all the pre-party planning and last minute details that are essential to a great party that we occasionally forget about the woman behind the party, the hostess who has given her all to her gathering and has unfortunately left herself and her outfit last on the list of party prep.
Parties can take any shape or form and what you might wear to a small, informal gathering for family will differ greatly from what you might don for a large, swanky soiree. Add into the mix your own personal style and the choices out there are as diverse and different as each and every one of us, but there are a few tips that will fit right into anyone's wardrobe.
Choosing your outfit should never be left off of your pre-party planning list. If you are thinking of wearing something that is already hanging in your closet, pull it out at least two weeks before the special date and make sure it is in good form and fits properly. Repairs and dry cleaning require at least few days each to complete and should not be left to the last minute just in case something goes wrong with either.
In for a new purchase? It is a rule of fate that when you are frantically looking for something in particular for an important event, you will be left holding an empty bag. Start strolling the malls and boutiques as soon as you have decided on a date.
Soirees and Suffering do not Mix
A decent amount of thought should be given to choosing a chic and dare I say, comfortable hostess outfit. I know most fashionistas hate to couple the words chic and comfortable in the same sentence but I do not fall into this group. Looking fabulous does not have to hurt (well not too much anyway!). There is nothing worse than spending an entire evening not being able to breath, eat or move. Making sure your outfit does not pinch, poke or inhibit your movement greatly is essential. You should be able to maneuver yourself gracefully with a touch of finesse and walking around like a injured robot does not equal either of these things. Since the majority of us will be going with little to no domestic help for our holiday parties, it is essential that whatever route you choose to go in the outfit department, style and a certain level of comfort should go hand in hand. Your garments while divinely stylish, should allow you the freedom of movement and the ability to pull a turkey out of the oven, make a drink, serve a dish and great a guest with an enthusiastic welcome!
Experimentation in Moderation
While I am all for a women's choice to re-invent herself whenever she feels the time is right, I would suggest keeping any major metamorphosis you might be going through for another day. A drastic new hair style gone wrong or a night spent in a super-mini and teetering in 4 inch platforms when you are used to loafers and leggings might produce more discomfort than you had bargained for.
Of course, confidence in ourselves and our choices should always be the order of the day and it is fun and exciting to experiment and step outside of your shell but let's face it. We are all human with moments of doubts, a funny look from a friend or relative could cause you to second guess your new look and your party is not the time to shrink back into the woodwork like a wall flower.
Smile, smile, smile!
Your outfit might look like a million bucks and in some cases, could have cost you pretty close to that but nothing ruins a fabulous look like a expressionless or sour face! Even if is not within your general nature to flash your pearly whites, putting a simple smile on your lovely face is like the Queen donning her tiara. Without it, her royal highness is just another lady in an evening gown. Let your super smile be your crowning glory!
It is a pleasure to be in such lovely company today! Our gracious virtual hostess, Ms. Bliss from Housewife Bliss has gathered together a bevy of wonderful ladies all with the honourable responsibility of making the holidays a little easier for all of us with some fabulous tips and super suggestions. Follow our terrific Holiday Workshop every Thursday in October for all things festive, links are at the bottom for you!
With the holidays around the corner, I am sure the mailboxes and inboxes of all of us social butterflies will soon be inundated with invitations for gatherings and soirees, large and small. No sooner have I opened that invitation that has luckily found its way to me (and replied in a timely fashion of course!), I start to plan my intended outfit, always an easier task for me when a dress code is mentioned on the invitation.
Now, I know what most of you are thinking at this very moment,
"dress codes make me nervous, never sure what they really mean!!!".
No worries my friends, you are not alone. We don't run into these terms on a daily basis anymore and really, who knew that semi-formal doesn't mean a pair of khakis and clean loafers??
Since most of us will probably not be toasting the New Year with the Sultan of Brunei or celebrating Halloween with the Queen, we will leave behind all the little intricate distinctions that are probably what make our heads spin in the first place when thinking of dress codes and concentrate on the more common and modern guidelines, ones you just might find on any invitation that could be headed to you!
Formal (White Tie or Full Dress)
All diplomatic receptions, balls, galas, fundraisers, charity and debutante balls will usually fall into this category. This is where you pull out all your finery since your host is letting you know this will be one elegant affair. For the gents, white tie (required), tails and the required accoutrements (black seamed trousers, white vest, bow tie, boutonniere, hat, scarf, cuff links).
For women, floor-length ball gowns and evening dresses, evening wraps or stoles, sparkly shoes, gloves and the family jewels are best saved for these occasions.
Semi-formal (Black Tie or Smoking)
Usually signals a pretty swanky affair but not as formal as well, Formal (see above).
Most men should wear a tuxedo but if you are without the penguin suit, a dark colored suit with all the accessories (tie, cuff links, boutonniere) is quite acceptable!
For women, once again floor length is preferred but if you are mixing and mingling with creative or artistic types, shorter but below the knee gowns or party frocks are also acceptable with accessories similar to Formal (see above).
Informal (and its close cousin, Cocktail Attire)
A little tricky due to the modern definition of the term 'informal' but this is generally the most common dress code you will find on the majority of invitations. (An episode of Mad Men and a party at the Draper's should give you more of a visual!)
For men, dressier business suits complete with necktie, lace-up shoes, and a non-button-down collar dress shirt is preferred for Informal while Cocktail attire usually consists of a blazer or a sports jacket, a collared shirt (tie optional but looks so much nicer!) and dress trousers. Footwear includes most shoes and loafers, but never sneakers or sandals.
For women, the difference between Informal and Cocktail Attire isn't as distinct as it is for men. This is where the cocktail length dress or skirt comes into play and if you are so inclined, slinky, short and sexy stilettos, accessories, jewels and hairstyles are the order of the day.
Usually reserved for casual gatherings that involve workplace colleagues or co-workers and generally taking place shortly after work, not allowing for time to run home and change. Business Casual is the most fluid of dress codes, with specifics differing greatly depending on where you live and what type of business you are in.
For men, most codes require that a collared shirt with or without a tie be worn, but often a polo shirt qualifies, with or without a sportier blazer. Dress pants or cotton khakis are acceptable, but jeans are usually left off of the repertoire. Loafers and most casual shoes are acceptable, but continue to stay away from sneakers and sandals.
For women, skirts paired with festive twin sets, dressier/tailored pant or skirt suits or sheath dressesfit the bill. Festive accessories are the best way to up the dressy quotient in this category
Really should never be an option for a holiday party unless it is being held in your friend's basement and you are nineteen but if we must, jeans, khakis or anything that you would wear on the weekend are acceptable. If you would do the laundry or sleep in it, pass on the garment. Make sure it is clean (but of course!) and in pristine condition, nothing ripped or tattered with holes (unless you paid good money for that look)!
Don't forget to visit all the ladies participating in the Blissful Holiday Workshop today and each Thursday in October!