Look great from office to holiday party

Want to go from the office to holiday party and still look fabulous?

It is easier than you think, fashion experts say, to create a sophisticated look that will move you from hectic day at the office to evening of merrymaking with ease.

"This holiday season is all about understated elegance, not piling on the bling or head-to-toe glitz and glamour," said Gregg Andrews, fashion creative director at Nordstrom, with stores in Novi and Troy.

The easiest thing to work with is a beautiful blouse in lace or a richly-colored satin, he said.

"The idea of lace, in general, remains extremely popular especially if you do it right," Andrews said.

Pair a lace dress or blouse with a leather jacket for the workday and then simply remove the jacket for a festive look.

"You can also create a high-low mix: mixing a true daytime fabric like tweed or a menswear fabric with satin or lace. Take away the daytime element and you're ready to celebrate," Andrews said.

"Add a piece of jewelry and a dramatic lip color in bright red or berry and you are set," he added.

The high-low guideline can also work in reverse, according to Susan Head, fashion/special events manager at the Bon Ton Stores, the parent company of Carson's in Livonia and Rochester Hills.

She recommends a sweet approach: "Start the day with something simple like a basic dress (the cake), then add (the frosting) to make your holiday entrance," she said.

Begin with the simple dress that you wore to the office and "add a glitzy or embellished jacket. This will add evening elegance. Or add this embellished jacket to jeans for a sophisticated look. Jumpsuits are also a great festive alternative," she said.

"Change your shoes to a strappy sandal or something embellished or try adding an embellished clutch bag, touch up your makeup and you're ready to go," she added.

Head said other lux fabrications – think beading, sequins, shine, velour, sheer, also, like lace – remain popular this holiday season.

Soft sweaters in chalky, powdery pastels are also making a big statement this season.

"A frosty pink sweater paired with ivory pants and crystal earrings is just beautiful," Andrews said.

"We always tend to think black, reds and deep jewel tones for the holidays. The soft pastels are a fresh take for holiday party wear," he added.

Sweaters are everywhere and look great both night and day, according to Andrews.

While the new, longer tunic-length sweaters look great with tights and leggings for day wear, Andrews suggests pairing them with a short, flippy skirt in a lighter fabric for a truly eye-catching party ensemble.

Remember that dressing for the holiday season is not about letting your outfit speak louder than you.

The look you are going for is "comfortable and approachable," he cautions," you don't want to be overdressed."

"Figure out a focal point, whether it be shoes, a statement handbag or a stunning piece of jewelry, and let it shine," he added.

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