Beyond the Little Black Dress: Our Guide to Holiday Dressing

Just as Halloween has a way of sneaking up on us, so too does the Holiday season. Fall means catching up on work after summer vacations or perhaps finding yourself back at school, and the freedom to shop in leisurely fashion becomes elusive.

With the arrival of the Holidays is the inevitable deluge of events and cocktail party invites.

There’s the company party, your partner’s company party, a trip to see the Nutcracker, your annual family cocktail party and of course, the much anticipated (or dreaded..) New Year’s Eve. As invites pile up, so does your anxiety over what to wear. You want to express yourself, and fashion is, after all, a form of art. One of those holiday parties happens to have a guest list of folks at that company you’d like to work for. You consider repurposing an old favorite: a dress you wore to college formals and spilled prosecco on a few times, but still looks somewhat cute, right? You realize your sense of style has evolved considerably and that dress doesn’t make you feel like the grown-ass goddess you are. Besides, the holiday season calls for glitz, and you can save throwing a pair of tights under your standard LBD for the frozen depths of February. Don’t hate yourself for wanting to twirl and mingle in new (potentially sparkly) digs! 

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Instead of overspending on a dress that winds up shelved for the rest of the year, fulfill your desire for something new by renting with Style Lend. Your budget will be as low, but the potential to turn heads remains quite high.

Read on below for our guide to holiday dressing… beyond the little black dress.

Jumpsuits

Eschew dresses entirely with jumpsuits! You’ll feel diva-ish channeling the 70s, and never underestimate the freeing effects of jumpsuits on the dancefloor.

Stone Cold Fox Jumpsuit

The Stone Cold Fox Jumpsuit is a classy, simple no brainer.

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A Free People Sapphire Sequin Jumpsuit is ideal for those looking to indulge in holiday sparkle.

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Dessy Collection’s Convertible Wide Leg Jersey can be styled several ways, which brilliantly allows it to be repurposed for different events. Wider leg openings give this a swingy effect, making it ideal for dressier occasions.

Velvet!

What better time to wear the sumptuous fabric that is velvet than the holidays? We love how regal it makes us feel.

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This Intermix Blue Velvet gown is a minimal, trendy stunner. Night blue complements all skin tones, and the strappy simplicity of it lets the velvet do that talking.

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Cushnie Et Ochs Black Velvet is truly a stunner. This dress features a crushed velvet design, structured bodice, and a super sexy slit.

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The Line Lace Mini by Self Portrait is another excellent option for someone wanting to try velvet without looking Marie Antoinette-opulent. 

Blue is the new black

For those looking for a classic mini dress that transitions seamlessly between cocktails and the afterparty, these are for you. Opt for blue instead of black, but stay minimal with sleek designs.

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Milly’s Cady Selena Dress is feminine, yet fashion forward.For those who didn’t get enough of last year’s off-the-shoulder trend… and why would you, it’s super flattering… this dress is a perfect go to.

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The Torn by Ronny Kobo Angelica dress is a perfect balance of classy and sexy. A criss-cross v-neck makes way for juuuuust the right amount of midriff. The bold blue hue will make this one stand out in a sea of New Yorkers clad in black.

Get festive in RED!

If you tend to opt for more conservative looks or can’t quite let go of the comfort of your LBD, holidays are the perfect time to bust out something bold. People tend to go over the top this time of year with sequins, so you won’t feel out of place donning a fiery red number. Besides, is there a more on-season color?

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The Self-Portrait Short-Sleeve Guipure-Lace Midi Dress is the definition of a stunner. Its deep red color is ideal for those put off by more orange-based hues, and the lace detail is a work of art. If it’s good enough for Holland Roden to wear on the red carpet, we guarantee it’ll pass for any genre of holiday party on your calendar.

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Giorgio Armani Tiered Ruffled dress is simple, classy and oh so versatile. You can make her jazzy with sparkly tights and heels or keep the look classic with sleek black pumps. The back cut out provides an unexpected sexy flair.

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The Robert Rodriguez One-Shoulder Cocktail Dress is the perfect way to play up any motifs of being wrapped up like a present. An artful cut keeps the ruffles from coming off as too girlish, so you can pull this one off for a swanky cocktail affair.

Bare some midriff with a two piece

Remember last year when Taylor Swift made the two piece (something we’ve donned for awhile, by the way…) a wardrobe staple?

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Heading to a formal gala? Look no further than this Dress the Population :Sequin Two-Piece Gown. What could be basic is suddenly super mod thanks to the crop top, which bares a sexy slither of tummy.

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We love the playfulness of this Sequin Embellished Two-Piece Dress by Ali & Jay. The high waisted midi skirt is super on trend and balances out the sequined top.

Accessorize to revive

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Reformation opera bolero. Gorgeous velvet number, easy way to jazz up something you already have, or take your daytime look up a notch for a more casual event. 

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Impossibly Imperfect – Meet Ashley!

Launching a new city can be hard, but thankfully we meet people like the wonderful Ashley from Impossibly Imperfect. She has become one of our best renters and now a lender and we are excited to share more about her style.

When did you start renting/lending from Style Lend and why?

I was introduced to StyleLend over the summer! My first renting experience was when I got an invite to attend the Diner en Blanc party in NYC, it’s an all white party and I had nothing to wear as I do not own all white pieces. I searched and searched for an option and two days before the event I remembered Style Lend, I went to the app found the most perfect Reiss white jumpsuit, rented it and had it delivered within a few hours. The jumpsuit was spectacular on and the app saved me in a moment of fashion panic.

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Shopping habits (do you shop online, flash sales, in person, etc.)

When it comes to my shopping habits I love to shop in person but most of the time I find it’s just easier to hit my go to e-comm sites like ASOS, Nasty Gal and Shopbop! Not to mention, they have a much wider selection!

Favorite brands/designers and why?

I have always been an avid supporter of smaller designers, hence the series that I do every so often called “Get in the Know” where I highlight a new designer. At the present, I am absolutely in love with Self Portrait! Everything he creates is simply lovely and the attention to the intricately beautiful detail truly makes his pieces special. Nonoo NY is a great up and coming designer who creates beautiful pieces with a bit of edge, I was obsessed with her rose gold mini dress this past spring! I’m also a huge fan of Jimmy Choo, Alexis, Zimmermann and For Love & Lemons! All gorgeous, very feminine brands! 

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What are your favorite things to do in NYC?

I’ve lived in NYC for quite some time now and one of my favorite things to these days is to pop my headphones in and wander the city. You never know what you’ll get yourself into! I’m also a big vintage shopper so doing some damage at the flea markets on the weekend is always a good time.

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Though when the weather is gorgeous during the springtime it’s always nice to picnic in one of the parks, you have to take advantage of the nice weather while you can! 

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Can you tell us a little blurb about your background, job, and how long you’ve lived here?

I was born and raised in a suburb outside of Dallas and went to college in Oklahoma so as soon as I graduated I flew myself out to NYC and found a job in PR at a huge agency.  I thought I’d be here for a few years and now eight years later I can’t imagine what life would be like anywhere else.

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Any little quirks?

Haha there might be too many to share here! * Little secret, she is a sneaker lover 🙂

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What do you love most about being in PR?

I’ve always been a person who thrives in a fast paced environment. I like the constant change that comes with PR, it’s always something new and different no matter what brand I’m working on. One day I could be on set with Scott Foley for a bedding brand and the next watching Kevin Love and Eric Decker shoot hoops for one of my men’s brands. 

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How would you describe your style?

Constantly evolving!

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One thing that would be your “dream item” to rent on Style Lend?

Such a hard question! I’d love to rent a couture gown from a big design house such as Chanel or Oscar de la Renta! A girl can dream right??

Why do you like the concept of renting vs. buying?

I live in a miniature apartment in NYC and while I love my life in that apartment it is lacking in closet space! I also am a person who likes to wear things once or twice so renting has allowed me to incorporate new pieces into my wardrobe without making a huge commitment to them being there permanently.
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We had a blast getting to know Ashley and we thank her for letting us come over. Love her style? check out all her amazing pieces available for rent on our app!

Party Season Perfect

Written by the Witty Fashion Guru: Oni Rovatti

If you’re going to take dozens of photos and be the star of your social media site this Holiday Season, keep in mind that your friends and fans will be scrutinizing your imagery from every possible angle. And by angle, we mean Facebook and Instagram. We all saw your posts from Halloween where you obviously threw on your shortest mini-dress from “Forever 21”, donned a headband with cat ears and went to a party.  You thought it was clever, sexy, naughty.  We thought it lacked imagination and made you appear cheap and ridiculous. FAIL! Most of us are older than 21, dress with some class and confidence already. The good news is you can delete those embarrassing posts and make a better impression on your friends and colleagues this Holiday Season. You can’t afford it you say? Oh yes you can baby.

Here’s how:

In order to look your best and enjoy every social occasion of the season, you need to be free of any and all anxiety or discomfort.  That’s what gets you noticed.  You are the woman talking, laughing, dancing, and cavorting throughout the night.  They can’t take their eyes off you.  Your face, your voice, and your spirit snatch all the attention.

“Let’s start from the foundation…”

You do amazing things everyday without giving what you’re wearing a second thought. You know how to get through the work week, you know what makes you feel and look good while conquering the world, so don’t over complicate your “special occasion” wardrobe.

Alice + Olivia Gold Sequined Dress
Alice + Olivia Luna Dress, Rents for $60.

Wear a dress, for Pete’s Sake! It’s like putting on a t-shirt.  Keep it simple and elegant.  Don’t try to over do it with complicated straps and belts.  You should be wearing the dress, the dress should not be wearing you.

“If it cuts, binds, shows bulges, bags, or shifts, don’t wear it.”

Find a style that makes you feel like you could overthrow a government and rule a country.

“Make sure you can put it on and forget about it.”

Adrianna Papell Glitter Fall Black Sequined Dress

Adrianna Papel Glitter Fall Dress, Rents for $30.

Minimize the need for complicated undergarments ( these will wreck your vibe, big time!) and be free to express your personal style and charisma. Shapewear undergarments like Spanks or Yummie Tummie are literally designed to Compress you.  Quite frankly, I don’t want to be compressed while I’m being fabulous!

“I want to move like a cat, dance, flirt, and swing from the chandelier.  That would be impossible in a ‘girdle’.  So minimize the stiff, un-fun, undergarment. Stick to what you wear everyday; your bra and panties.”

Be respectful of your hosts and other party guests.  Too much of your exposed flesh can be disturbing to some people.  Keep it PG! Holiday parties are often multi-generational. If you bare your shoulders, cover your legs, if you show off your legs, cover your torso.  It’s as simple as that.  Always leave them wanting more.

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TFNC Sequined Shimmer Dress, Rents for $20

Making a positive, lasting, impression begins with self respect. So, don’t be the woman who’s tugging at her ridiculously short hemline when she sits. Don’t pluck at the top of your strapless gown and wriggle uncomfortably. This isn’t attractive.

Don’t be overly ambitious, says Oprah.

I’ve seen some Facebook posts that actually show the pain of over-ambitious footwear.  It’s horribly embarrassing to watch you hobble to your car at the end of the night, dreadful to witness  your date attempt  to carry you,  and your girlfriends are fed up with having to ‘wait up’ while you shuffle to the next party . Take a tip from Oprah Winfrey:

“Rate each pair of shoes that you own on a time scale.”

For instance:  Those 4” Manolo’s are 10 minute shoes.  Useful for photo opportunities and ‘sit-down’ occasions only.  Those 2” Strappy Aerosole Evening Sandals are 8 hour power-houses, you can be on your feet all night. Make a concerted effort to have a well stocked footwear wardrobe.  Don’t purchase shoes on looks alone, you’ll never wear them.  In the back of your mind you know what your feet want, you know how long you’re going to be standing, dancing, etc.  Make this the one thing you do right for the rest of your life.

Last words of Party-Girl Advice.

I’ll leave you with one last bit of ‘Party-Girl Advice”;  Know what you’re signing up for.

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Black Halo Jackie O Dress, Rents for $40.

When you’re invited to a party, do some research about the event.  Find out if it’s a cocktail party/mixer (you’ll be on your feet) or a formal dinner (you’ll be on your feet, then on your tush), a casual house party (you’re likely to be tipsy and flirty). This way you can plan an appropriate outfit.  Getting the exact address to the party is a ‘must’ as well.  Hotel, Restaurant, Office, Private Home, this info has an effect on what you wear. There is an unspoken, social protocol to each individual to each individual occasion and we’re here to help.

Post a question below or email a photo of yourself to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to style and make you fabulous.

Visit Style Lend at www.stylelend.com