LAST CHRISTMAS I discovered a formula for party dress—at least during the holidays. I was faced with the familiar conundrum about what to wear to a Christmas Day fête and didn’t have a lot of time to ponder. I pulled out a pair of black velvet pants, a pink silk shirt from Everlane and a Theory cropped black satin jacket. Not revolutionary but the combination of rich velvet and shiny satin textures with a silk underpinning worked—enough to inspire me to pass the recipe on. And make amendments. For example, velvet and satin make a happy couple but the pairing would benefit from, say, a sparkling clutch, earrings or shoes. And a sheer blouse to offset dense velvet? Magic.
Some suggestions below for how to mix shiny, sparkling, sheer and velvet textures to nail your holiday look.
LEFT: A velvet jacket makes anything you wear more festive. And we’ve noticed they’re selling out quickly. Vince’s double-breasted Velvet Blazer is still available for $371.25 (25 percent off) at Nordstrom. Pair it with a silk or satin shirt and Vince’s matching Cropped Pants ($325, Vince) or with jeans for informal get togethers. CENTER: Reformation’s wide-leg, dark-green velvet Wes pants ($198, Net A Porter) are perfect for the party season and beyond. They sit flatteringly high on your waist and will look smashing with a tucked-in shiny blouse or a sparkly turtleneck. RIGHT: One evening, go with the flow in this Mango ensemble of Embroidered Velvet Trousers ($99.99), Velvet Body Suit ($39.99) and Embroidered Velvet Kaftan ($119). For subsequent occasions, feel free to mix and match the pieces.
FAR LEFT: Black satin is a tad predictable. Go outside your comfort zone and make a shiny statement in pink with Paige’s Melise Wide-Leg Satin Trousers ($219, Nordstrom). LEFT: Lamé goes way back to the 1930s and earlier. Every few years it makes a comeback when a musician (Elvis!) or a celebrity (Kate Moss) wears the fabric, usually made of a blend of silk and metallic (or synthetic) threads. Dries Van Noten brings a new sense of shine with his iridescent Lame Straight-Leg Pants (50 percent off, $480, Net A Porter). The coordinating blazer is also 50 percent off, but a little too rock star for our taste. Instead, wear the pants with a sheer blouse. RIGHT: Show off your shoulders in Theory’s Twist-Front Satin Top ($265, Net A Porter), made from a silk-blend satin in a neutral color. Pair it with a midi skirt in a like fabric and shade. FAR RIGHT: Vince’s Band Collar Silk Shirt (reduced to $240, Nordstrom) comes in this marine blue as well as a dusty rose. In either color, we can see the lustrous, loose-cut blouse draping perfectly over slim velvet pants. Did we say the blouse is washable??
LEFT: How do I love this Dries Van Noten’s Tamari Sequin Wool & Mohair Crop Sweater (reduced from $1,000 to $598.98, Nordstrom) showered in gold and silver sequins? It’s festive; it’s face-flattering pink, the sleeves cover the elbows; the ribbed hem whittles the waist. Alas, size availability is limited. Here’s a ruffled glitter sweater for a lot less ($49.90) from Zara. CENTER: Why suffer in stilettos when your feet can sparkle and make an entrance in Badgley Mischka’s Christiane Flats ($188, Anthropologie)? ABOVE RIGHT: The Galaxy Beaded Clutch ($138, Metropolitan Museum of Art) takes its design from a 1937 evening jacket in the Met’s Costume Institute. The original garment’s midnight blue body is sprinkled with beadwork, stardust, rhinestone crescent moons, swirling comets and shooting stars. Guaranteed to make your look celestial. BELOW RIGHT: Swan into the party with Fallon’s shoulder-grazing Waterfall Earrings ($395, Moda Operandi), handset with cubic zirconia crystals. No one will notice you’re wearing the LBD you’ve worn a thousand times before.
LEFT: Although Zara’s Organza Blouse With Tie ($49.90) is also available in cream, we’re partial to this lavender color. Our advice: Wear it with black velvet or black satin trousers.