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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Featured Renter, Meet Tilden!

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

I started renting/lending from Style Lend last summer (2014) and have been obsessed with it ever since. As a blogger, I absolutely love the concept of renting designer RTW pieces for those more laid back events and blog photos. It makes the idea of playing dress up more mature and realistic to participate in for someone blogging as a business.

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

With my crazy schedule, shopping online is 10x easier but I do get hesitant from buying outside my brand comfort zone – the sites I know will fit. If they don’t offer free returns, I usually abandon my shopping cart. In person I feel more comfortable trying the pieces on, but styles are limited and practically everyone’s my size.. Basically shopping for me is either a hit or miss, depending on the day, time and place I decide to shop.

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Favorite brands/designers and why?

Retailers: Asos, Nasty Gal, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Top Shop, H&M, Club Monaco

Designers: Coach, Rebecca Minkoff, James Perse, Elizabeth & James, Vince

I love all these brands/designers because they best describe my style every season of the year, as well as stay reliable with sizing and pricing. I know what to expect when shopping from each of them and rarely disappointed in my picks (other than the occasional buyer’s remorse..)

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What are your favorite things to do in NYC?

Brunching, without a doubt. It’s borderline a religious activity on both Saturday and Sunday where you get to indulge without criticism and people watch all at the same time. I honestly feel I understand the city I call home much better on weekends and fall in love with it all over again.

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

I started my blog To Be Bright in January 2013 as a junior year in college with hopes to score a coveted fashion/retail public relations internship in NYC. As someone who was born and raised in NJ, the Big Apple is practically my second home and where I felt the most independent and secure while still having the comfort of home nearby. The goal was to get that internship that would lead to a job where I could secure that location of freedom & family – TBB would be the place where I show a little more about myself and my personality in a visual form, something a paper resume could never do.

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I rode horses my entire life, competing nationally up and down the east coast since age 10 at a serious & competitive level. The University of South Carolina recruited me my senior year of high school to compete on its Division I NCAA Equestrian Team, which I did for the first two years of my college career. Fashion was always an interest but something I could never “get into” because I didn’t have the time for it. However, I made sure to always dress for class and took a lot of pride in the pieces I owned and kept in my closet.

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When I resigned my position on the team to pursue other interests, I got involved blogging and soon becoming the online editor and PR director of our student magazine. It was then where I discovered my love for writing/sharing content as well as using social media to the best of my ability for a business, so to speak.

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So launching TBB was originally to share the work I did for the magazine, but it soon became the platform of my style and shopping habits. When I saw such a strong and positive feedback to my fashion-related posts, I decided to focus a bit more on that. It wasn’t until I was being asked to feature products and share my opinion on a broader spectrum that I realized I could make this a real business. Two and a half years later, To Be Bright is a fully-focused life & style blog that came to be in the most organic way possible – I couldn’t be happier with the direction my passion has taken me and I cant wait to see what the future holds for it.

Any little quirks?

Superstitious and I blame my dad for this one in the most appreciative way possible. He always made me think in an optimistic manner, work hard for the things I desire and stay hungry. That being said, he would consider certain moments and things to be considered “lucky” and to act upon them when appropriate to encourage a positive mindset. So if I catch the clock at 11:11 or see a penny heads up, a wish will be made and a coin will be picked up and pocketed. I also have a small habit of checking my zodiac app every morning, just to mentally prepare what may or may not happen to me that day…because you never really know.

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What do you love most about being an influencer?

What I love most about being an influencer is the ability to help someone out with a dilemma, in the form of clothing or by a change of perspective. When someone comes up to me and compliments my blog or tells me that it’s helped her in some way, it makes me so happy to know what I’m putting out there is bettering another person. At the end of the day, that’s what I want my blog’s presence to represent.

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How would you describe your style?

Transitional – as I’ve grown and documented my fashion timeline for the past two years, my style has been a direct reflection of who & where I am during that time in my life. Since college and moving into NYC, my style has become more structured, minimalistic yet thought-provoking enough to take a second glance, and thrifty nonetheless. I score at sample sales, online sales and discounted stores & consignment shops to balance the budget I need to stick to and the appearance I want to maintain. In a year from now, my style might be completely different in the way I shop and share but for right now, it’s representing the very place I’m in with my real life.Feature_Tilden_MG_0860

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

Probably anything Chanel (duh) but honestly, a nice Louis Vuitton tote would be fun to carry around for a hot second – it’s been a secret wish of mine to get but I’m being patient with my indulging, for now.

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

Renting is great because it’s an “in the moment” action that can satisfy a luxury need – like an event or photo – while not having to commit to the price and redeem the “payoff.” For someone on a strict budget but looking to expand her designer reach, Style Lend is the perfect platform for me to push my blog in the direction it needs to go without having to pay for the consequences, no pun intended, of sacrificing bills over a moment of style.

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We had a blast getting to know Tilden and we thank her for letting us come over. Love her style? check out her blog To Be Bright  or some of her favorite items at Stylelend.com or download 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