05 December 2012

Style Dilemma: Easy Fashion to Make it Through the Holidays

Whether you have Beans or not, the holidays are crazy. If you're in Government work, like I am (and so much of the DC-area world is), it's a particularly crazy time of year. We make lists, we check them twice.

Then we decide what on that list ain't gonna happen.

I know I'm not alone in setting lofty holiday goals, whether for decorating, card-writing, or baking and cooking. Heck, not even my house cleaning meets my own holiday goals (you know that to-do item about cleaning out all of the closets for the holidays so we can give to charity? yeah).

So in the madness, I find that especially at this time of year, I have a fashion and style uniform. Pieces and tricks I turn to, that I know will keep me looking presentable, and maybe even fashionable, no matter how little time I have or sleep I've gotten the night before. Here's what I realized this morning, as I put on my concealer, powder, and lipstick in the car visor mirror in the office park parking lot.

#1 Super-Simple Makeup and skin care: I am not a makeup or skin care addict. I barely manage to wash my face regularly. In fact, last night is the first night I re-employed my beloved Clairsonic after probably a month hiatus. But here's what I do: I can't manage to put on my face before I leave, so I carry Bobbi Brown's Touch-Up Stick and pressed powder to cover and even gently, then put on a brighter lip (these days, it's the lovely, sheer Revlon Just Bitten). As a fair skinned girl with blue eyes, the pale powder and bright lip make my eyes pop and me look less exhausted. At least that's what I tell myself.

#2 Easy Sweaters in multiple colors: Whether it's Target or Gap or even a beloved Henri Bendel cashmere you bought on sale on your 2006 honeymoon (seriously, but here's a Nordstrom one in a similar color), simple, soft sweaters are easy. You can pair them with patterned bottoms in the same hue, a neutral khaki (like I did today with my khaki pencil skirt) or black, or even with another bright for the practically-jumped-the-shark color blocking.

#3 Statement Necklaces: If you're moving so fast you can't do more than pair a simple sweater with plain skirt, like me, then all you need to take the ensemble out of boring Government-worker-land is a statement necklace. Whether it's a favorite one (ain't nothin' wrong with having a "signature piece" you wear repeatedly, no matter how bold - promise) or a set of go-tos, bold on black (or heck, any other color) works. And this easy guide to pairing necklace shapes with necklines from Already Pretty can get you through any shape dilemma. My favorite DC-based sources for stunning baubles that won't break the bank? Queen Bee Designs and Fornash.

#4 That Piece: What's the one item in your wardrobe, be it necklace, dress, skirt, or shoe, that makes  you stand taller, prouder, and more condfidently every time you wear it? What piece always garners compliments as you board the Metro or stop at your favorite coffee shop? Figure that out, then don't be afraid to use and re-use it. For me, it's (among other favorites) my favorite pair of black patent pumps. I strut when I wear them (they fit, they rock, and the go. with. everything.) Because even if you've worn it over and over, it makes you feel good, and you'll exude confidence, which goes ever so far in erasing the dark circles - or at least in distracting from them.

#5 Being Put Together: Simply stated, don't revert to sweats when you're exhausted. I learned a long time ago, from an Italian, ahem, friend, that if I put on an ensemble that is put together instead of schlumpy, I will rock it. It feels easier, but it isn't. Easy is the LBD that doesn't even require you to match your shoes to the dress. Easy is the pair of trousers that fits you impeccably - and a simple sweater that's pretty and comfortable. Easy is a sheer lipstick that took no time to put on and yet shows you bothered.

Those Italians know whereof they speak. In all things, really. Trust me.

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