Columnist Alexis Sachdev offers ideas to help readers shine.
Oh, Thanksgiving. Without a doubt, Turkey Day – or for some, Tofurkey, and for others, Turducken Day – is the greatest day of the year. I love pretending the thousands of calories I indiscriminately stuff into my mouth (right now, it’s a two-layer chocolate cake doused with espresso and Cointreau) don’t exist.
Delusion is a wonderful state of mind.
As our weekend feasts come to a close, however, we must look to the future. New Year’s Eve and holiday parties threateningly loom over my head, right next to the dreaded mistletoe. What worries me more than not having a lip-locking partner is not having anything to wear or, even worse, bursting the seams of my outfit with rolls of chocolate-cake-induced fat.
The recurring theme for holiday parties is always sparkle. If you were suspended in the air in Center City, you should be easily mistaken for the Times Square Ball. If this isn’t the case, add more sparkle. But sparkle and shine can be manifested in many different ways: Lady Gaga glittered in a fire-spitting bustier at the 2009 Much Music Awards, Katy Perry subtly shone in a simple black-and-white cutout party dress at the 2010 VMAs and David Bowie is, well, David Bowie.
This winter, some of the best outfits for ringing in the New Year require you to first turn back the hands of time. At the Fall/Winter 2010 previews at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, designers like Tory Burch and Prada took cues from the 1950s with classic knee-length skirts and dresses in prints, glitter or patent leather, structured jackets with luxurious textiles and cat-eye sunglasses, à la Jackie O.
To up the ante of these often-matronly cuts, opt for a sparkly bustier-top dress with a bodycon fit in black or navy paired with knee or thigh-high tights and heels. For extra sparkle, accessorize with a silver- or gold-glittered clutch and glossy lip-gloss, and shine on.
If vintage isn’t your thing, push the limits with a more daring and textured look straight from Dolce and Gabbana’s Fall/Winter 2010 runway, which featured black leotards dripping in gold safety pins, grommets and even earrings. Glitter can recall images of unicorns and Lisa Frank, but hardware details can vamp up your style.
Unfortunately, D&G isn’t in most college budgets, but its inspiration is evident on the streets. Dresses and skirts with zipper, stud or grommet details are your best bet. Match your shoes and jewelry to the hardware, swipe on a bright lipstick and pull your hair back into a sleek ponytail so your dress can shine.
If you’re like me, though, flashy outfits are rarely on your shopping list. I can’t rationalize buying a dress that I’ll only wear once a year, so I prefer buying a sleek, silky black dress and piling on accessories with sky-high bright heels for that extra shimmer.
It has recently come to my attention, however, that you don’t have to buy these party frocks. Fashion aficionados took a cue from Rent-a-Center and UHaul, and now, you can rent a couture dress for a mere fraction of the price. Online companies like Rent The Runway offer styles from designers like Nicole Miller and Vera Wang – available for four- to eight-day rentals. Most rentals start at $50 with a $5 insurance fee. The best part: Don’t worry about spilling champagne (or jungle juice) – the $5 covers dry-cleaning and repair fees.
Just don’t go overboard. At my sophomore year high school homecoming, a very good friend of mine said another girl’s dress, “looked like a disco ball threw up on a mermaid.”
Indeed, her dress was a train wreck, so I advise everyone to shine safely. If your friends need sunglasses to look at you – day or night – you’re wearing too much. You can easily tone down your outfit a notch with a simple cardigan or shawl while remaining fabulous.
Alexis Sachdev can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.