The Ultimate Holiday Party Survival Guide for Procrastinators

I am a hardened procrastinator; it’s rare that I don’t feel a sense of urgency in what I do. While it doesn’t take me long to get ready, I budget just enough time to shower and get dressed, and can be thrown off my schedule by the smallest hiccup. One frustration to which I am sure many of you can relate is forgetting to put on deodorant early enough during prep to avoid the dreadful white streak that stick deodorant can leave behind on clothes.

At a friend’s recommendation, I started using spray antiperspirants, which are enormously popular in Europe (for good reason), but have fallen out of favor in the U.S. after CFCs tainted aerosol sprays in the realm of public opinion (other propellants have since been innovated). I settled on the Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant after experimenting with a few other brands, and find that it works really well for those, like me, who sweat only slightly, but respond positively to the moisturizer that Dove includes in the formula.

True to its name, this “dry spray” antiperspirant sprays on dry, and provides up to 48 hours of protection from body odors and excess moisture. My favorite of the eight scents is the “Clear Tone Skin Renew,” which also purports to even underarm skin tone, but the moisturizing aspect is enough to sway me.

I trust that you can find tips on how to drink responsibly, hobnob professionally, and exit gracefully elsewhere, so I will focus on the “deciding what to wear” part of surviving holiday parties. I feel
uniquely qualified, as someone who normally attends a number of holiday parties every year in a pretty diverse mix of settings, to share some ideas.

(Caveat: please adapt my advice here appropriately to account for any norms, like a dress code.)

The Centerpiece: if you are a regular consumer of style blogs, you probably have a large enough closet to draw from that you can safely exclude normal office attire—yes, I am talking about your charcoal gray separates—from the running. For any occasions involving co-workers or are in a professional setting, I would urge you to err on the side of matte fabrics and higher necklines. I like these all-purpose lace options for those who consider “sweet” a part of their sartorial identity: Self-Portrait Ava Guipure Lace Mini Dress and BB Dakota Adelina Mock Neck Lace Dress.
For those who like to show skin, consider off-the shoulder dresses, because shoulders are not a particularly sexualized body part, so these options won’t garner you too much side-eye: BCBGMAXAZRIA Embellished Off Shoulder Dress and Herve Leger Carmen Off Shoulder Dress. If you want something befitting the season, I am really loving velvet this fall and recently ordered the Ecote Jasmina Velvet Embellished Mini Shift Dress and Topshop Lace & Velvet Dress. If skirt length is an issue, put on tights (50 denier nylon is good) and matching shoes to temper the shorter hemline.

For get-togethers with people whom you know well and not in a professional context, your options just got interesting. I am really into slip dresses (LOVE the Bardot Mercury Satin Cowl-Neck Mini Slip Dress) and full-on sequins/glitter (consider the Dress the Population Sequin Body-Con Dress and Dress the Population Bianca Sequin Romper), since there are few other occasions for them throughout the year. A few other styles to consider: ASOS Sweater Dress with Ruffle Shoulder, French Connection Tatlin Off the Shoulder Dress, Milly Cady Selena Slit Dress, and Ali & Jay Pointelle Knit Minidress. 

Accessories: If you decide on a relatively “boring” option for your centerpiece, accessories can still inject a dose of fun into your outfit, be it sparkling stud earrings, a giant bow brooch, an oversized fur stole (also love this one), a colorful satin clutch (or something in a feisty print), or a dramatic necklace.

Shoes: I wear a lot of flats and pumps in neutral colors, so the more unusual styles come out for special occasions. If you don’t want something too crazy, but is still festive, I like these Jimmy Choo Velvet Pumps. For shoes that are dressy, but transcend occasion, consider getting a pair of Valentino Rockstud Pumps (these are on sale!) And a married friend of mine likes to wear her wedding shoes, the Manolo Blahnik Hangisi Jewel Pump, to holiday parties, to get more wear out of really special (not to mention expensive!) pieces.

As always, wear what excites you, because getting dressed for holiday parties should be fun, not stressful!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Hi, I am Elle!

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