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Bling in the holidays

Natasha Hunt, Fashion Columnist

Let’s face it: the holidays are stressful. Between having to navigate the awkward reintegration process after a semester of living away from home, preparing a sumptuous holiday meal and catching up with one’s friends, thinking about what to wear to that holiday soiree or New Year’s Eve bash is enough to fill oneself with a terrifying sense of dread.

You may be tempted to splurge on a brand new frock, or even to jump the shark completely by deciding to wear that awful, awkward holiday sweater to every party.

Before you decide to commit fashion seppuku by putting on that heinous Rudolph pullover, think about all the wonderful alternatives to that particular fashion crime.

Yves St. Laurent struck gold with his tuxedo inspired looks, so why don’t you?  A tuxedo jacket can effortlessly carry you from day to night. Pair it with skinny, denim jeans for an easy, casual look, or even a baggy pair of silk-twill trousers for a more androgynous look. To make the tuxedo jacket more holiday appropriate, channel 1970s icon Bianca Jagger with a gender-bending three piece suit. Jagger’s Studio 54 aesthetic is definitely a departure from the demure little black dress. And besides, you can wear each piece individually after you’re done wowing the crowd.

If wearing tuxedo isn’t your thing, this season’s soft, sensual velvets have been making a comeback. If you’re nervous about wearing the fabric, a velvet blazer or shawl is a great place to start. Try a figure-flattering cut, with just a bit of puffed sleeve for a tailored, almost Victorian look. Blazers can be paired with jeans, or with a sequined mini-dress.

When working with separates for the holiday season, don’t be afraid to play with different textures. Velvet can look stunning paired next to laces, and leathers – while wools, and tweeds inject weight if placed with a gauzy, frothier piece.

Hitting the perfect balance between lightness and heaviness is one way to keep them talking at your next shindig.

Another great look for the holidays is incorporating some plaid into your wardrobe. And no, I don’t mean grunged-out-King’s student plaid. Think more Blair Waldorf, less broke college student. A bright tartan dress paired with statement necklaces, tights and heels is a great way to impress any people that you may need to impress this holiday season.

Plaids with hunter greens and cool reds are a great way to look festive, without looking garish. If colour isn’t what you’re looking for, an understated monochromatic palate of grays, blacks and whites on a conservative sheath or A-line dress is a wonderful way to look sophisticated.

Want to mix it up? Try layering silk shirts, or basic, jersey turtlenecks underneath plaid dresses. Be sure to play with different collars, or even sleeve types. A cute, school-girl jumper can easily turn into eccentric heiress chic, simply by layering a gunmetal gray, puffed sleeve blouse underneath.

See? The holidays don’t have to be horrible. And you don’t have to wear the same boring, black dress as everyone else. You can celebrate in style and get the most wear out of these party picks.

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