Recently I was thinking back over all the years of the holiday parties and was reminiscing in my Facebook Live how it all got started. I recall so well when my husband told me we had to attend a formal holiday party for his work. It was the late nineties. At the time I was mom of two young kids, teaching part-time and doing a home business. I had little time to shop. Somehow I found a dress/jewelry. I knew I paid too much, so every year after, I was determined to find dresses on sale after the holidays. I wore some beautiful ones! They would come out again for weddings, formal nights on cruises, incentive trips and conferences for my business. I loved the challenge of the hunt and it became a lot of fun every year. In 2007, my husband changed jobs with no formal parties and I finally sold all those dresses on E-Bay! In the last decade, we’ve had more holiday work parties. I guess the lumber business as a whole likes to party! Nothing has been as formal as those early years, but I continue to enjoy putting things together.
I’ve learned we are probably more the exception than the rule when it comes to holiday parties. Dress has become more casual or companies have canceled parties completely.
This post is full of comparison photos from years past. Plus I’ve shown ways to add to what you have, make it look a little different. There are so many ways to take very simple pieces and make them look festive. I’m also really honest about my own photos in this post–what works and what doesn’t.
I went into the archives from 2019 when I asked you to help me choose an outfit for the work party. It was the first year at this company, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I laughed looking back at these pics I took in the hotel room. I have improved a little in that area– lighting and better phones make such a difference!
This was the winner. It was totally the right choice even though most were wearing dresses.
Here is also the first example of taking something you have from a past year and changing it up just a little. This black jumpsuit can look different by changing up the accessories. I wore it last Christmas and added a silver belt and changed to silver jewelry.
This outfit came in 2nd place. I kept the velvet pants and fur jacket. And then we had a pandemic for the next two years so those didn’t get worn. Oh my goodness on these photos!! For all of you in my style membership-you see–mirror selfies just take some practice!
The top above doesn’t fit well anymore. Since I regrettably keep returning the sequin tops I have shown the last two years, I’m considering keeping this one. (it’s sold out) If I get sick of the tie, I can alter and it becomes like a sequin tee. But the velvet jeans? Undecided. I’ve been meaning to try selling on Poshmark. These are Paige I found half price so they may be a good piece to start with. I also don’t love these shoes with the outfit. Needless, to say, it all needs some work and that’s what photos often show me.
This was option 3 back in 2019, and although too casual for the party, it was fun to put together. I was wearing coated denim already then, and I recall people staring and giving those “up & down” looks for the cropped flare. I’m sure some had not seen the trend and considered them “high-water pants”.
Everything is the same, but I changed the top, belt and jewelry.
Here are two examples of taking pieces I have in my closet and dressing them up. All would be more than fine for a casual holiday party.
I’m on year 4 for this top, and I’ve worn it so many different ways. Here I added some new jewelry that as you can see from the photos really brightens up all the black and dresses it up more . The fur cuffs/collar on the jacket, the dark bootcut, and boots with a heel all take it up a level.
These photos are from last year. I wanted to show a simple cardigan that would be a typical “wear-to-work” outfit elevated with all the accessories. I updated one photo with current pearl necklace linked above.
The sweaters are from J Crew and on sale for Black Friday. Green cashmere, red merino wool
Remember the formula with the black sweater I showed in the last post? It was too boring to suit me and the jewelry didn’t show up at all. I changed the jewelry. Note how the necklace catches the light so nicely. And it comes in gold or silver. It is linked above with the sweaters.
Below is a top I’ve had for years. It has some fun sleeves, but other than that it is very simple. Again, the same silver belt and earrings add so much.
So what am I wearing to the party this year? I found these black velvet pants with slits in the front. (They are by Spanx and if you need something like these, they are extremely comfortable and flattering. ) Since I keep passing on the sequin tops, I thought I’d finally get one of these to pair with them.
Yet, something just wasn’t right… Don’t laugh, but it reminded me too much of the MOB/MOG dresses with jackets. When I stood with my feet together the pants looked like a skirt on me, and together it just wasn’t the look I was after!
This year I decided to wear a dress. Once again I have 3 choices. I think I’ve decided, but I’ve love to know what you think!