Festive Fashion for When It's Freezing (or How to Not Freeze Your Bits Off)

Yesterday was the annual Holiday Party at my workplace and the invitation said "holiday attire"...Wtf does that mean?  I've seen everything from suits and ties to ugly Christmas sweaters...it's not the most straightforward of dress codes, but if you ask me, holiday attire consists of sparkles, red, gold, silver and green.  In other words, kick it up a notch since you're going to be immortalized in about a fifty-eleven photobooth pictures with your drunken colleagues.  Couple this with the fact that our party is during the day and you end up with a sartorial conundrum.  Wearing a black-tie worthy sequin dress to a tea party just doesn't feel right.

Herein lies a problem.  My holiday party is in the Northern Hemisphere during the Polar Vortex. Polar Vortex and strappy shoes go together like Bailey's and lime juice (read: they don't.)  It's too damn cold to be out there with anything less than fleece tights and knee high lined boots.  

Which is exactly what I plan to wear.

While definitely warm, these items are far from "festive" (more like "utlilitarian") but the high this week was 10F, people.  Ten - that is twenty-two degrees below the freezing point.  Practicality wins out.  Not one to shy away from a sartorial challenge, I racked my brain and raided my closet to figure out how to turn my trusty Born knee high chelsea boots into something even Santa would love.

A few things came to mind but then I quickly nixed them from the party attire rolodex.  I have a very warm black and white knee length wool midi pencil skirt that is good for subzero temps, but there's a band and if I decide to do a little two-step, that skirt isn't gonna work out.  I've got a few boxes to tick:  warm, comfortable, free to move in, and cute.  

Normally, I'd toss on a sparkly silver sweater and black skirt and call it good, but I've done that a few times and besides, Bentley, my cat, decided to put his claws through my sweater :(.  Velvet is definitely in right now and velvet leggings will get the job done - this seems like an automatic win to me.  A red sweater, fun jewelry and a belt can quickly round this out for a somewhat casual, but nice outfit.  Instead, I ended up choosing a brocade-inspired Scanlan Theodore silk dress over a 3/4 sleeve sweetheart neckline top, the velvet tights, black booties, and faux fur legwarmers - faux fur anything affords you cool points as well as cozy winter warmth.

Anyway, here's the round up a few ideas on how to look cool instead of looking cold.

The Sweater Dress

The humble sweater dress doesn't get enough credit  Paired with some velvet leggings or some fleece tights, you can wear it a thousand ways. A sleeveless one allows you some breathing room for when you're pulled to the dancefloor to trip the light fantastic.

The Faux Fur Anything, but Especially the Faux Fur Vest

I once went to a winter birthday party at a friend's house and was wearing a turtleneck, faux fur vest, and leggings and a man (who was with his wife) walked up to me and complimented my attire and told me that I was the sexiest woman there.  I blushed and thanked him - it was a sincere compliment; not a come on.  Trust me on this one - get the faux fur vest.

The Long Sleeve Maxi Dress

This is a staple that can carry you through the seasons.  Wear it with sandals on cooler summer days, dress it up with granny boots when the seasons change, and come winter, keep the boots, add fleece tights, and top it with a military inspired jacket.  It's one versatile piece that will make sure you not only look put together, but you also don't take yourself too seriously.


Personally I've given up on owning brocade anything,  I have two cats and jewelry with edges which usually means doom for little threads in ornate dresses.  However, you can get the brocade look by wrapping a pashmina or a sari over other clothing.  If you are much more daring than I am, a brocade dress screams "holiday" and the elegance of brocade is relatively unmatched.  

I'll be taking some of these style pointers in consideration tonight as I'm attending another party, but one thing is for certain - I will be warm!