In our previous article The Darling Holiday Guide, we discussed easy, fun food ideas for your holiday party. Now we are moving into dressing confidently for the evening.

Every occasion should be celebrated with just the right ensemble. Finding that “just right” combination should be formulated by combining what is appropriate for: the occasion, company, and your own personal comfort.


Holiday parties are thrown in all sorts of fashions, but they can usually be pinned to formal, semi-formal, and informal. Some are formal with sit down dinners, and others are very casual with friends and family around an outdoor fire pit. The questions always arises, what to wear? 

For a Formal Party: these occasions call for dressy cocktail dresses, long evening gowns, and the finest accessories you can muster. Lace, silk, and velvet are wonderful fabrics to wear during the holiday season. Bringing in silver and gold with purses and shoes make your look glisten. Black, White, and Red are the most classic colors, but do not be afraid to wear a color you feel beautiful in. This is also your opportunity to wear those gloves and pull out your fancy clutch. Darling stands by the rule of making sure you study your look before leaving home, and consider removing an item if you seem too cluttered. Think 50’s/ 60’s glam seen on Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal A Million.

For Semi- Formal: Holiday parties that are semi-formal are the most common in our day and age and give you a lot of flexibility. The most important thing is dressing for the company and comfort of the actual event, which we will discuss later. But first, choose a dress or skirt to build off of. Yes, we recommend a dress (cocktail dresses are the most standard) or skirt for you ladies, however if that is just not an option, classic black slacks or trousers can be a good foundation. Once you have your key pieces you can build upon them. It’s ideal to have one statement piece that acts as inspiration for the rest of the outfit. Maybe your favorite purchase was a stand out head band with a lot of embellishment. Pull colors and textures from that as you choose what sweater, blouse, or shoes to wear. The same can be done with jewelry, shoes, a scarf, blouse, or purse.

For Informal: This is where you can feel free to wear whatever most suits your personality. When dressing informally for the holidays we always like to add a little joy or even humor. Fashion should never be taken too extremely serious. Since it is Christmas, try a fun unexpected combination of red and green; classic scottish plaids always remind others of Christmas carolers. For New Year’s, wear your sequined sparkle top with your jeans, sweater, and flats. If your feeling really fun wear a festive hat, they always remind us at Darling of the sweet old-fashioned days.


We are each from diverse backgrounds and exist is specific cultures; being aware of these dynamics is a mark of a lady. Aiming to be a delight to those that we spend time with involves many things, and our appearance is one of them. If you know that your company for the evening would be offended by the low back to your evening dress, try placing a cardigan or shawl over your shoulders. If others at the party inclined you to dress up, put on a skirt and heels instead of your jeans and boots for the evening. Making it not just about yourself or the way you think will ultimately leave you feeling better through out the whole holiday season.


Although you want to dress appropriately for the occasion and the company, wearing garments that are uncomfortable will leave you miserable, and no delight for others to enjoy a cup of eggnog next to the fire with. Carefully consider the activities of the evening. If it is a sit down dinner party, go ahead and wear those 4 inch heels that you were proud to purchase. However, if you know that you will be standing all evening, opt for wedges or classy flats. Consider the weather, remembering to bring a coat and scarf if it is going to be chilly. Modesty always provides for more comfort. If you cannot bend down to pick up crumbs you dropped from those delicious cookies without your top showing all, or your skirt rising too high, maybe reconsider the outfit–add some opaque tights, or a tank or bandeau to cover cleavage.


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