How to dress the part for holiday parties

A fit and flare party dress such as this creation from Banana Republic Anna Karenina Collection...

A fit and flare party dress such as this creation from Banana Republic Anna Karenina Collection ($160) is flattering for almost all body types and is a fashionable choice for any holiday party. (Supplied)

Marilyn Wetston, Special to QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

There are basic tips to follow when you’re planning on what to wear to the holiday office party.

A few good ways to gauge the direction you’ll want to be heading are easy to spot. Look at the invitation and who’s hosting the party, your or their position in the company (going to the CEO’s house? Ditch the Converse and hipster suspenders and grab a tie), their job function and some key personal traits.

Resolve to look your personal best for the occasion with these key pointers:

  • Select an outfit cut to accentuate your positives and camouflage anything you wish to conceal.
  • Use jackets or shawls to cover flabby arms, add volume to your upper body, and add colour or texture to your total look.
  • Update existing wardrobe staples to suit a holiday occasion by adding exciting pieces to your basics (You can transform your look for as little as $20.00).
  • Use colour combinations: Colour schemes are memorable so adding a jolt of a new color will automatically make an old statement -- new again.
  • Accessorize! Use jewelry, belts, shoes, a great bag, shawl, wrap or jacket to complete your piece. Your bag and shoes don’t have to match.

Fit to flatter

  • Perfect your legs with textured nude hose and add black or a colour that matches your hemline to elongate your look.
  • Rather than pinning a plunging neckline to hide cleavage, add an underpinning to complete your look.
  • If your dress is ankle length and you want a new look, hem it to a flattering short version and enjoy its new mood.
  • Regardless of the fashion trends, wear only lengths that flatter your legs and proportions.
  • Avoid provocative looks for work related parties. Save sexy looks for personal occasions.

Try something new

  • Be creative with your dressy clothing. Stylish sheer or lace items will speak differently when you slip a colour under them.
  • Experiment with soft skirted layered chiffon skirts. Pull the top layer’s hemline up centre front or to the side and fasten with a broach and create a stylish asymmetrical look.

Dressing up for the holidays involves finding the right dress or separates so that you feel special when you wear them. Use your imagination to transform your outfit and then have a good time wearing your creations.

"Wardrobe Doctor" Marilyn Wetston is the owner of Marilyn’s, 200 Spadina Avenue in Toronto.

Email Marilyn at marilyn.wetston@gmail.com, visit Marilyns.ca or follow her on twitter @marilynsstore.

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