Fashion – Winter 2012

‘Tis the season for shopping, there’s no question. But in the midst of all that giving to others, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself in a sartorial situation (or two) that necessitates a little retail therapy on your own behalf. The holiday party season creates all manner of wardrobe stress, and it can quickly feel overwhelming. Splurging on a festive holiday frock is the obvious solution, but I love a holiday look that’s a bit more outside the box (and infinitely more useful come January 1). And so, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite tips to add a little extra style to your holiday spirit.

There’s a reason men only have one option when it comes to formalwear: it just doesn’t get better than a classic tuxedo. Ladies, if you don’t have a tux jacket in your closet now, go out immediately and invest. If there’s a more versatile piece for your holiday wardrobe, I don’t know what it is. Update a classic little black dress, dress up a sleek turtleneck and trouser jeans, tone down a sequined tunic, or, go classic glam with a matching tuxedo pant. Any of those looks will take you to your next holiday fête in serious style. Plus, since the legendary Yves Saint Laurent made these jackets de rigueur back in the 1970s, there’s no danger of this style fading any time soon. Tracking down this tailored staple in a casual city like Portland can be a bit tricky, but Mercantile downtown and House of Lolo in the Pearl both have positively perfect options in store.

When it comes to holiday accessories, it’s the more, the merrier! Whether it’s a pile of bangles from local jewelry designer Amy Wing (find her wares online or at Saturday Market), a slouchy felt fedora from Pinkham Millinery, or a big, bold statement necklace from Mabel and Zora’s impeccable selection, the perfect accessories add drama and style, and can take your look from everyday to holiday in a snap. Pair a classic black cashmere sweater with a pencil skirt and a pile of pearls for your annual office party, or go for bad-girl glam—swap the skirt for a pair of leather leggings, add a bigger-than-life chandelier earring and an oversized clutch in a bold print.

It’s easy to overdose on sequins and feathers this time of year, but you’re liable to end up looking more like a holiday decoration than a glamour plate if you don’t play your cards right. Try tracking down a sequined scarf to drape casually around your neck or tie as a sash around your waist—a look that’s especially magic with a crewneck sweater or fitted button-down and tuxedo pant. But my favorite trick is a slouchy sequined tee or sweater (size up for maximum slouch factor), which can work wonders for making you look simultaneously super glam and too cool to care. Pair it with cuffed boyfriend jeans and a bright ballet flat for your friend’s tree trimming party, or dress it up with your favorite black trousers and a strappy pump. Keep your bottom layer trim to offset the bulk on top, and be sure to let this statement piece speak for itself—no other adornment required. I’ve spied some pitch-perfect (and price-friendly) options at Sloan Boutique and Free People in NW; on the Eastside, Shop Adorn has one of my favorite versions in town. This is also the perfect piece to pick up from your favorite secondhand store—sequins abound in the world of vintage.

Portland’s reputation in the world of footwear can be less than fashion-forward at times. But when it comes to party season, clogs just won’t cut it. A great shoe can make any ensemble instantly party-ready, so treat yourself to one night in a pair of shoes so gorgeous, you won’t care that you can’t feel your toes. Nordstrom is the grande dame for covet-worthy budget-busters (go see my friend, Scott, in Salon shoes downtown – he’ll make a believer out of you). I’ve also spotted some festive Bettye Muellers at Zelda’s Shoe Bar on NW 23rd, and glitter-infused beauties abound at newcomer SoleStruck on SW 13th.

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About The Author: Becki Singer