Finding the Perfect Holiday Dress ... in Your Closet

Low on cash from the holidays but still want to look amazing at the Christmas and New Year's Eve parties? No sweat. Just call me Santa's helper.

I love fashion. I love watching bad movies, Korean soap operas and people—all for the clothes. I don't complain about bad plot lines or the fact that I don't speak/understand Korean or sitting around on a warm summer day outside of a downtown caffè—I love looking at clothes. I love fashion.

Though I don't think I'm the best dresser, I'm flattered by the compliments I receive on my outfits. And as the recession continually affects trendsetters around the globe, I'm pleased to offer tips to my San Diego sistas on how to create the most breathtaking outfit with the Little Black Dress you have in your closet ... especially because I'm actually wearing the LBD I wore for my May birthday for NYE.

Before we get into the actual tips, let me start with the nitty-gritty bullet-pointers.

1. Wear a dress. It's rare that pairing bottoms and tops will look well when the ball drops or while sipping eggnog at your in-laws' dinner.

2. I don't care if you're just going to someone's home for NYE or Christmas, take the initiative to dress to impress.

3. Being impressive doesn't mean you can't be comfortable. Be comfortable in your clothes and, most importantly, your own skin.

4. Invest in classic pieces like the LBD. But a woman needs more than one LBD; always have a few in your closet that will never go out of style, such as traditional straight-cut tops or simple halters. It's rare that trendy pieces can last you over the years—that's why they're called "trendy." (In fact, and no offense, you'll never see me in flannel no matter how trendy it is.)

5. Love the body your mama gave you because it really is the heart that creates the true beauty. The best fashion advice that must be spread is that of Vera Wang, who said "It's OK to wear a large." In fact, I said this recently when I was at Express with a friend helping her find the perfect pair of slacks.

OK, enough of the Dr. Phil-sense. Here's what you need to do to do-up the LBD you already have in your closet.

The words of the day are "accessorize" and "invest," so grab your LBD and let me tell you how to "wow" the other party-goers.

1. Hit Forever 21 or H&M and find brooches, flowers or ribbons that can frill up the LBD for cheap. Keep to one to two different colors and bring the dress to the shops with you to be sure you don't have to go back and wait in that long, very-Christmasy line again. Clip them on to your dress at the waist level or at the neck or pull back a piece of your hair with a bow. Even tulle can help but that's coming from a Tulle Girl who is tulleing up her LBD.

2. What color do you absolutely look great in even on your worse day? My color is blue, but what is yours? Decide and invest in a shrug in that color. Shrugs are timeless pieces that flatter any confident body. Pair the shrug that brightens you like a Grade D diamond with your LBD.

3. Doll up with the makeup. I know it sounds simple but sometimes it really is just the makeup that makes the outfit. Decide the sort of look you want (sexy, classy or the "I just threw on some gloss and I look amazing") and run with it. If you need help, drop by the beauty counters at the department stores. That's how I met my Dior makeup girl—by hanging out longer than just purchasing my mascara and getting into a full conversation with her. Now when I need tips, she's there to help.

4. Get a pair of formal dress shoes. Take advantage of all the Christmas sales happening right now and buy a pair of rhinestone or cubic zirconia heels that will last you for years. Almost six years ago, I invested in a $200 pair of Franco Sartos with cubic zirconia flowers and running stones. They're still alive today. Sure, I wear them fewer than 10 times a year but they work well for any formal event.

5. Invest in a glue gun or a friend who has a glue gun (Bless you, Sam). Oh yeah ... I'm serious too. The best part is when you glue bows or any gems to your shoes, they come off easily with a dab of nail polish remover and your heels will still look gorgeous. Guaranteed!

Gayle Falkenthal December 21, 2010 at 10:30 PM
She's smart AND she's stylish! Hoa, keep the fashion tips coming. Between you and "Fashion Police" on E! TV, I'm all set!
Savy Hak December 23, 2010 at 08:25 AM
Great tips and so relevant too!


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