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Turn Your Dress Into A Top
The holiday outfit formula that looks cool, uses your whole closet, works for every body type and keeps you warm toboot!
Welcome to holiday season at 5 Things. We will do a couple gift guides this year and holiday dressing ideas that mostly focus on styling. Because you really only need a couple holiday themed pieces in your arsenal. And the rest is about mixing and matching and making festive what’s already in the closet. This week’s holiday dressing idea is brought to you by a late night digital sourcing spiral and a little bit of what is in the air.
It all started with the Phoebe Philo launch a few weeks back. I actually didn’t even think it was going to happen so never signed up and rolled my eyes at the eagerness. Let me just say, I’m SO glad I was wrong. I was nervous it would be some whole new concept (change is hard) that I wouldn’t be able to relate to. But I should have known. It was classic Phoebe and made me so excited about all of the shapes and styles of #oldceline that have been hibernating in the back of my closet (thank god I didn’t sell it all!)
For those who are saying, “HUH!?” A couple weeks ago, designer Phoebe Philo (previously of Celine who gave us the trio bag, contrast stitch pants, extra long sleeves and heavy grey cashmere turtlenecks that have all been copied ad infinitum) launched her eponymous line. It felt like a visit from an old and familiar friend and made me so excited to revisit old collections, shapes and ideas. True story, I stayed up until 2am the night after the launch sleuthing resale sites to recreate two looks from the Celine Spring 2015 collection (I succeeded dear reader). Which brings me to my point and the actual start of today’s newsletter.
The layering shape I am craving right now is shift dress + pants + little bit of a heel. You’ll see many iterations of this below, but something about the idea of this pairing lends itself perfectly to the holiday season: a time of confusing but dressy dress codes and cold weather (where I live at least).
It is an idea that looks harder to do than it actually is, giving it immediate style cred. And it creates points of interest without falling back on traditional holiday tropes like sparkle or red/green accents. Not that I have anything against those things, but it is fun to challenge ourselves to think bigger, for this week at least.
It will keep you warm! Warmer than a mini dress without pants at least, especially if you want to wear strappy sandals after sunset when you can see your breath. And maybe most importantly, it is forgiving. This is a concept that can be body hugging or hiding depending on your mood or preferences. You can wear it whatever your height as long as you get the proportions right (I am 5’5” and like to keep the hem about three inches above my knee for the most part.) And it works with both heels and flats.
1. The Basic Formula
Take any short-ish dress and put it over a slim wool or silk pant. Pair with a heel of choice (a little lift will help tie all this together though flats are ok too) and a fun little party bag and head out the door. Now there is nothing particularly holiday about this (don’t worry we will get there in two weeks.) But adding the pants gives it just a little hint of winter. Add a fringe bag says festive. Voila! Happy new year!
2. Make it a middle layer (aka how to add a jacket)
Counterintuitively, it’s a good look for your top (aka dress) to stick out of the bottom of your jacket. Almost like a vertical morse code of layers, or a Rothko! Three different jacket lengths below to showcase my point.
3. Party Pants
Just swap the statement element: LBD + a printed or bright colored pant
4. Black + White + Accessorized All Over
Using a white shift dress and black silky pants, this formula becomes a blank canvas for any festive (or not so festive but get yourself dressed and participate!) mood. Lots of gold accents and chunky jewelry makes it feel slightly rock and roll. Or A big bow and a vintage lady bag flirts with coquettishness. I could have kept going with this look…but this is meant to be an edited respite from the internet, is it not?
5. Dress as vest = sure fire hit!
This Attersee dress has been so fun to play with the past month that I couldn’t stop making outfits. *Editor’s note: I had it heavily tailored as I’m a true pear in my proportions. It was too wide in the shoulders while fitting perfectly in the hips and I was determined to make it work…just in case you love it as much as I do and don't think it’s for you upon arrival, it is! Take whatever size you think will fit your widest part and go from there. I’m wearing a size 2 for reference*
Anyway, there are many reasons I love it for this holiday season and specifically our layering plan for the next two months. First, it’s quite high cut and I don’t love to show it all off. So it lets me bare arms in a way that feels winter appropriate. It has velvet covered buttons (the perfection!), and the button-front design makes it one of the most flexible pieces in my closet. It is great with a little sheer tight for a proper party. Its adorable with a white turtleneck and boots for a daytime party and its phenomenal over pants and tees for this, that and the third! Here are just a few of the ways I’m loving it, plus a few other options in case it’s sold out in your size.
Ok now go play around with this idea. And send me a pic! :) Happy party season everyone. And a very happy Thanksgiving. Sending love and gratitude to you and yours.
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