The Life of the Party - A Holiday Party Style Guide

Can you feel it? Winter is creeping up on us, and with the onset of a winter wonderland comes one of my favorite holiday traditions …the Holiday Party. From the week of Thanksgiving to the ringing in of the New Year there will be an overabundance of get-togethers, cocktail parties, and sit- down dinners. My job is to see to it that you are dressed for the occasion.

The Informal-Formal Look

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Don't know how formal the party is? Is it dressy or casual? What do I wear? Don't panic. Here are a few helpful outfits ideas that will not only help you blend into the scene, but maybe even steal you a bit of the spotlight. Pair a classic button up with either a pair of flat front chino pants (chino's are a dressier choice but not super formal) or nice pair of clean cut denim. If you go with denim, there are a few rules to follow: dark solid wash denim only, and clean (no rips and no abrasions). The Diesel Zatiny 88Z & Diesel Viker 88Z jean s are great choices. You should top the look off with a v-neck sweater, cardigan or sweater vest. This will add a touch of sophistication and dress up the denim combo. Complete the look with a classic belt . As for footwear, dress shoes or boots are a must (sorry boys no sneakers here). If you follow these guidelines, you'll have a look that will work with any occasion from an office party, cocktails after work, to an intimate gathering with friends.

Shaken not Stirred

When attending a holiday party that calls for a cocktail attire, go with the classics. A crisp, bold color, solid button up (go with strong colors like Crimson Red, Forest Green, Deep Purple, Charcoal, Rich Black or White) tucked into a classic black pant (no cargos or pleats please). In general , your look should be clean, crisp, and put together. If you want to have some fun with your outfit, choose a sleek black or gray vest and accent it with a skinny tie (or bow tie if you're in the mood for something a tad more fashion forward). If vests are not your thing, you can pair this look with a jewel toned v-neck sweater; try playfully tucking your tie into the sweater. This is a smart, witty ensemble that is sure to turn a few heads. If it's really cold outside, complete the look with a classic blazer (a velvet or cord blazer works as well) that you can take off when you reach your destination. Finish the look with a black dress shoe or Chelsea boot, black belt and cuff links.

Pass the Gravy

Whether with family or friends, the holidays bring about endless banquets and feasts. These gatherings tend to be informal and call for more relaxed attire. This year, we are seeing an insurgence of chunky sweaters like the Ben Sherman Rumble Shawl Collar Sweater and Twice Gold Fisherman Sweater. These are good finds because they are both ultra-comfortable and stylish, and pair perfectly with medium wash denim like the Levi's 514 Slim Straight Sky Wash Jean or the Diesel Zathan 8TA . Other feast-friendly choices are fun sweaters like the Diesel 55 Kamazzotti Neck Sweater and Twice Gold Military Detail Zip Sweater, or the cozy Dorsia Nelson Cardigan, Dorisa Fredrick Double Breasted Cardigan , and Ben Sherman Araneta Button Cardigan. Layer them over a light basic tee or thermal; Or, create a fun look by layering over a plaid button up. The key is to be comfortable yet fashionable. Complete this look with a boot or sneaker for that down-home feel. Good eats, great company and amazing style!

I wish all of you a blessed holiday season and want to leave you all with my favorite recipe for holiday cheer!

--Dustin Schaad