3 Ways to Wear Your Holiday Dress... Again.

I had a conversation with one of my favorite people yesterday and it, like so many conversations we've had before, it centered around her holiday cocktail dress. My friend purchased this dress for a wedding late last fall and had trouble styling it to her satisfaction. Last night, she mentioned that she was planning to wear it again for a nonprofit fundraiser, but still didn't feel like she had the proper accessories... or something.

We've all been there. We buy a dress we love with the hopes that the styling will come together. Sadly, we discover we aren't sure what shoes to wear or jewelry. And, forget about staying warm at the party. 

So, as a tribute to all of us who've stared at the dress we love, but never wear, in our closet, here are three ways to rock that holiday cocktail dress before next Christmas.

The Dress.

 Eliza J Lace Fit & Flare Dress. Nordstrom. $198.

Occasion #1: The dress and the semi-formal wedding. 

Approach: Classic. Keep it simple next to the lace details. The white patent leather jacket is a show stopper without being too busy. The statement necklace in grey is subtle while elevating the outfit. Each component of this ensemble is unique and memorable without being too busy. Hello functional!

 Cierra Patent leather jacket. Club Monaco. Was: $795. Now: $599.

 Eliza J Lace Fit & Flare Dress. Nordstrom. $198.

 Kate Spade Cut out heels. $225. Saturday.com

 Gumdrop necklace. Available in multiple colors. Banana Republic. $59.50. + 35% off your purchase through 1/22/14 with code: BRSAVE35.

 Kate Spade Half-circle wristlet. Saturday.com. $90.

Occasion #2: The dress and the nonprofit fundraiser. 

Approach: Effortless sophistication. AKA "I just threw this together." Matching the purple leather jacket with the purple dress may seem a little too matchy-matchy at first. However, the monochromatic look is flattering and the unexpected leather makes an impression. Gold details on the jacket, handbag and shoes bring this outfit together without defaulting to a simple black shoe. Add a gold necklace or earrings if you think you might take off the jacket during the night. But, it's perfectly acceptable to keep it on throughout the event. Wear each of these pieces again and again throughout the week. 

My friend loves DVF, so I went all out with a designer clutch. A more affordable handbag is an option, as well. (This one has a strap for easier movement throughout the evening. Although, if you'd like tips on how to hold your clutch while at a cocktail party, see my previous blog post on the topic.) Keep it simple. The shoes are the focal point here, which is especially flattering for a inverted triangle body type. A large collar maximizes the bust while dark colors minimize it. In the end, this combo is likely a wash in that department. But, these are helpful tips when styling. If you'd like to maximize the bust more, add a statement necklace or a sweetheart necklace. To minimize the bust in this instance, I'd forego the necklace. 

 Eliza J Lace Fit & Flare Dress. Nordstrom. $198.

 Kenzie Leather jacket. Club Monaco. $695.

 Diane von Furstenberg Sutra leather minaudière. Nordstrom. $345.

 Pour la Victoire Vivie Split-Vamp suede bootie. Charcoal. Also available in purple which would look lovely with this dress and a different combination. Neiman Marcus Last Call. Compare to: $285. Was: $219. Now: $131.40.



Occasion #3: Weekend wear.

Approach: Create a new piece. AKA "She always looks so great and never seems to wear the same thing twice."

One of the reasons we love dresses so much is because a dress can be a top and a bottom- no decisions to be made. That can be a blessing and a curse. Remember that a dress is in fact a top AND a bottom. Utilize it as such. Specifically, try pieces over your dresses to convert them to skirts. Crew neck sweaters work well. The key is to hid the top portion of the dress so that it seems invisible. If the dress is bulky. a denim jacket over the sweater can help. 

 Merona Chenille pullover top. Available in multiple colors. Target. Was: $27.99 Now: $19.58.

 Eliza J Lace Fit & Flare Dress. Nordstrom. $198.

 The Jean Jacket in Storm Cloud washed denim. Madewell. $118.

 Kate Spade. The Large A satchel. Available in multiple colors. Saturday.com. $350.

 Kate Spade Squared sunnies. Saturday.com. $50.

 Freebird by Steven Crosby boot. Nordstrom. Was: $284.95. Now: $190.91.

 Cashmere infinity scarf. Available in multiple colors. Nordstrom. $78.

And there you have it. Just when you think that something can only be worn one time, one way, you discover the endless options available to you. Dress it up, dress it down, layer it, make it your own. You'll also notice, Dear Reader, that all of the pieces above are crazy functional, as well. Hopefully, this inspires you to find new uses for your holiday dress. If so, please share!

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