Keeping Warm During Holiday Party Season

holiday_party_warm_outfits_with text

There are as many ways to dress stylishly for holiday parties as there are women, and I’m always loathe to dish out specific outfit advice. BUT! Since holiday parties require a certain level of fancy, and since fancy and warm seldom go hand in hand, I am more than willing to offer up a few ideas for keeping warm while looking gussied.

Long sleeves OR long skirt

In most cases, long sleeves and a long skirt will feel like an awful lot of coverage. Some dresses balance both beautifully, but more options will do one or the other well. Floor-length dresses are considered to be formal, so if you’re attending a black-tie event or charity auction or similarly fancy affair, going maxi will keep you warm and help you feel appropriately attired. If it’s a less formal, cocktail-or-below event, long sleeves and a shorter skirt can work just as well.

Don’t skip the hosiery

It’s definitely true that tights and hose can alter a dressy look, and that can be frustrating. But believe me when I tell you that a thin layer of nylon can make a HUGE difference in your overall comfort, and it’s worth the sacrifice. I’m not a huge fan of nude hose myself, but they can work. Other options include sheer tights and sheer patterned tights, which add interest to your overall outfit. And if you’re going floor-length? On a subzero night, add tights or hose under your long skirt for added warmth.

Pack a wrap

I know, I know: DUH. But just want all my bases covered. Even if you’ve got sleeves going on, bring a wrap along, preferably something lightweight but also long and fairly wide. You may only use it when sprinting from car to building, but you never know about indoor temperature fluctuations and a wrap is easy enough to sling over a chair if you warm up from hours of dancing.

Heed your fibers

Polyester is still king in the formalwear world, sadly, but if you can find anything silk or opt for separates that allow for wool or cashmere blends, your frosty limbs will thank you. Ensuring that your wrap is silk or cashmere will help matters, too. Not possible? Thicker fabrics like velvet are lovely for holiday events, and needn’t be made from natural fibers to keep you toasty.

Are you hitting the party scene this season? How will you keep warm while looking chic?

Images courtesy Nordstrom.

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Originally posted 2013-12-18 06:38:16.

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20 Responses to “Keeping Warm During Holiday Party Season”

  1. une femme

    It still irks me that for women “Dressy” so often equals “Exposed.” Another option is to go the Diane Keaton route and invest in a tuxedo. 🙂

  2. Susan In Boston

    I’m with une femme re: exposure. My formula has long been jewel-toned velvet that covers the northern hemisphere pretty well and ridiculously sparkly accessories–hose, shoes, necklaces, hair doo-dads. Oddly perhaps, this solution evolved from what seemed fitting for the funerals of some gay friends in the 1980s.

    • Susan In Boston

      An update: While assembling something for an upcoming event this weekend, I realized that I should have qualified “ridiculously sparkly.” What I meant was the costumey, cheap, OTT “jewels” that are often on sale right after Halloween. This stuff is so large and colorful and obviously fake that it can be a personal statement (ha!) if you have an eye for it. As I always say, the best accessory is confidence, and these outfits are always a test of that. After all, why trim the tree when you can *be* the tree?

      This approach also offers a way to start a conversation. Many of the delightful, charming, tastefully dressed, respectable people often can’t believe that you’re wearing the stuff, and those who can are the folks you want to spend the evening with. Or at least, I do.

  3. Gloria

    It’s funny that for men, who often get cold less easily than women do, dressing up means wearing long pants, long shirt, wool jacket, a tie, and maybe even a waistcoat.

  4. Sheila (of Ephemera)

    They might feel too costumey for some women, but long gloves will keep you warm when your arms would otherwise be exposed. Bonus: they keep one from chowing down on all that tempting finger food.

  5. Marsha

    To me, it just looks ridiculous to go out in sleeveless or short attire in sub-arctic temperatures! Most women don’t look pretty in blue skin and goosebumps. I wear long-sleeved, below-knee dresses in warm fabrics, with dress boots or tights with closed-toe shoes. I bling it up with accessories and makeup. Add a dramatic long cloak and I’m all set.

  6. Rose

    A woman in an outfit that’s comfortable, and warm enough will have a better time at a party than someone who spends the entire night shivering.

  7. DebbieR

    Would you happen to have a direct link to that red dress? I can’t find it anywhere.
    Thanks

  8. Emily Stowe

    I am excited about this maxi dress with sleeves that I got for my husband’s company Christmas party. It should arrive tomorrow, and I hope it looks awesome! I think that a maxi with sleeves will work, as long as the sleeves are fitted, and only 3/4 length. I am pairing it with gold hoops and gold sparkly flats. I’m planning on wearing leggings underneath for extra warmth!
    http://www.kiyonna.com/plus-size-clothing/Maxi/18101803

  9. Glamdoc

    Umm sorry, off topic, but could someone please tell me what the difference is between nude hose and sheer tights? Thanks 🙂

    (I always do wraps)

    • Sally

      Not off topic at all! So nude hose are pantyhose that are created in skin tones. Sheer tights will be in colors – black, navy, etc. There are definitely pantyhose that come in black and navy, too, but they tend to be even more sheer than sheer tights would be – meant to add just a hint of color. That’s my understanding, anyway. Anyone else know more?

  10. Tagatha

    “It’s definitely true that tights and hose can alter a dressy look, and that can be frustrating. But believe me when I tell you that a thin layer of nylon can make a HUGE difference in your overall comfort, and it’s worth the sacrifice.”

    I’m sorry but I don’t understand what this means. What is it that I’m sacrificing for warmth (my top priority in winter)? Is this a cultural thing I’m missing?

    • Sally

      Certain dressy/party looks aren’t as stellar when hose are added to the mix, so the tradeoff is warmth (more important) over style (less important).

  11. olivia

    i’m with une femme – a lady-fied (or not!) tux or suit can be totally appropriate. i’m excited to wear a slick blazer with some ankle length pants and a glitzy top underneath. the blazer can come off if the heater is working overtime.

  12. Kay Bug

    I have a velvet or velour dress with a deep V neckline, three quarter length sleeves and a tea length A-line skirt that I love for chilly festive events. I wore it with tights and sturdy pumps to the symphony once and ended up walking the frigid streets of Boston for over an hour because I got lost. Not only was it warm and under my wool coat, but the tights and pumps held up beautifully for the hour of walking and looked completely appropriate with sparkly jewelry for the event. And I got it at a discount store for $40! I love it when something like that has years and years of life.

  13. Distracted Frog

    A fuzzy stole safety-pinned to the straps of a sleeveless dress (or somehow to a strapless one) will provide both warmth and an extra touch of glamour. Especially since it’s a great background for large sparkly brooches.

    Where I live (Toronto), I find that most places are well-heated in the winter, and some too much (

  14. Distracted Frog

    A fuzzy stole safety-pinned to the straps of a sleeveless dress (or somehow to a strapless one) will provide both warmth and an extra touch of glamour. Especially since it’s a great background for large sparkly brooches.

    Where I live (Toronto), I find that most places are well-heated in the winter, and some too much, so don’t be afraid to put on a lot of layers for outside and take them off at the coat check. Not just the coat, but extra sweaters, change boots to indoor shoes, remove thick stockings/warm leggings. One woman I know tucks her lovely twirly sparkly skirts into snowpants when it’s time to go and walks/bikes away!