A-Z to a Stylish Christmas: W, X, Y, Z

Today’s is the last of the A-Z to a Stylish Christmas series – I do hope you’ve enjoyed the series an, in particular, the posts from guest bloggers.

I love to sit in front of an open fire. Living in a modern flat this is more of a pipe dream than a reality but when I go home for the holidays, it becomes a reality. I could sit for hours warming myself by the hearth and staring into the flames as they dance.

Spread the Xmas love this Christmas time and make sure to sign all of your cards with lots of “xxx”s!!

I remember as a child, my grandmother would always bring two things to my parents’ for Christmas lunch, Brussel sprounts (my absolutely favourite vegetable ever) and a Yule log. I loved both – equally – and her, for bringing them!

I am utterly addicted to Zara’s collection of handbags right now and it is taking all of my will power not to buy every single one. check ’em out:

What are the things you’re most looking forward to this Christmas time?

Images via 1, 2, 3 and 4

A-Z to a Stylish Christmas: V

The penultimate part in the A-Z to a Stylish Christmas series is brought to you by another guest blogger. Today, Laura, of Ruby Bastille.

It’s the holiday season, which means that if your life is more exciting than mine, you’ve probably been invited to a ton of parties: office parties, cocktail parties, family gatherings, cookie swaps, white elephants, concerts, etc. ‘Tis the season for dressing up and spending time with friends, family, and coworkers. ‘Tis also the season for figuring out how you’re going to fit all these parties into your schedule and what you’re going to wear to them!

This post will hopefully solve those problems by creating outfits based on pieces that are probably already in your closet. Using these basics, you can wear what you’d normally wear to work, then take the outfit straight to the party with a few modifications. This will hopefully save you both time and money, since you can hit your social function without having to go home to change, plus you don’t have to shell out for a whole new outfit.

You can create tons of festive looks by decking out a couple key pieces, but some of the looks you’ll see in this post can go from work to the party with only one or two minor additions, like different shoes or jewelry. Hopefully you’ll get some ideas for how to work with what you already own and still be stylish for the season!

We’ll start with the basic work outfit:

Starting Outfit

These are some basics every woman should have in her wardrobe:

1. high-quality black slacks and a pencil skirt
2. a couple button-up shirts
3. a well-fitting blazer or two
4. black heels

At least one of these pieces will be present in every outfit here. The most common ones? Classic black slacks and a black pencil skirt. These basics can be reworked into an infinite variety of looks, so I advise investing in high-quality, well-fitting pieces. The button-ups, jackets, and jewelry can be mixed and matched into whatever look fits best with your office environment and your own style. (These pieces don’t have to cost you your firstborn, either.) If it’s appropriate for your workplace, show your personal style by wearing trendy ¾-length sleeves, a tunic-length button-up, or individualized jewelry.

Many of these party outfits feature different shoes because shoes are the easiest part of an outfit to change up, but if you’re in a real time crunch, quality classic black pumps will go with absolutely everything. I’d invest in those as well since you can wear them so much. Jewelry is also inexpensive and easy to change out, but I made sure to include each of those earrings in at least one other outfit. Hopefully those ideas will help those of you on an extra-tight budget or a majorly crammed schedule.

Here’s the first party look!

Conservative Classic #1           

            Keep: Pants or skirt, heels, ivory blazer
            Add: classic shell with minimal embellishments, pashmina wrap (swap out blazer), metallic clutch, classic jewelry
            Look for: classic silhouettes, higher necklines, jeweltones
            Avoid: super-trendy colors and silhouettes, blingy or oversized jewelry

I put these two looks together with an office party in mind, especially at a more conservative workplace like a law firm. No matter what, unless you work for Alan Rickman’s company in “Love Actually,” an office party is not the place to show off your platform heels, leather mini, or off-the-shoulder top. Stick with classic silhouettes, err on the side of modesty, and sport sophisticated jewelry.

(Bonus tip: save even more time by wearing the shell to work with a more classic black blazer and simple jewelry. Swap the blazer for the pashmina wrap, add your fancy jewelry, and voila, you’re set!)

For makeup, start with a clean, even foundation and wear the mellower colors of the season: wine or dark berry lipstick or gloss with a nude or taupe eye, subtle eyeliner optional. Add mascara and a little blush and you’ll have the perfect classic face.

One note about jewelry that applies to all these looks: wear bold earrings or a bold necklace, but not both. For example, for this look, I would wear the red chandelier earrings on their own, but I’d pair the pearl drops with the long gold chain necklace. The same principle applies to makeup: bold eyes or bold lips, but not both! If you want to rock red lipstick, stick with a minimalist smoky eye. If you want to try out the season’s bold eye shadows, wear a nude lip color or a light gloss.

Let’s move on to the second conservative look:

Conservative Classic #2

            Keep: pants, heels, white tunic
            Add: drape-front cardigan or vest, skinny waist belt
            Look for: a simple color scheme, sophisticated jewelry, high-quality fabrics in the cardigan
            Avoid: casual chunky knits, super-trendy colors

This look is both more conservative and more casual than the first – in fact, with the right jewelry, you could probably wear this entire outfit to work.  I’d wear this for more laid-back parties, like a work lunch or a family gathering.  Keep it in party mode by wearing bolder jewelry and sticking with fine jersey or thin knits instead of chunky sweaters.  Wear a similar makeup palette to the first outfit, but maybe try out a light smoky eye or a darker lip color.  This would be a fun opportunity to try out that classic red lipstick!

Now let’s cut loose a little and look at another pair of outfits:

Modern Classic #1

            Keep: pants or skirt, ivory blazer
            Add: embellished tank, drape-front cardigan (swap out blazer), boots or fun heels, bold earrings
            Look for: classic silhouettes embellished or in trendy colors, a less traditional color scheme
            Avoid: necklaces, low necklines, over-the-top shoes

With the less conservative looks, you can do fun stuff like wear classic black boots with your pencil skirt, or sassy red heels with your slacks.  If you stick with simple layers like a blazer or neutral drape-front cardi, you can have a lot of fun finding a tank with beautiful embellishments like lace, fringe, or sequins.  I’d advise skipping a necklace with these tops to keep the outfit from looking too busy, but feel free to pick some more daring earrings, like dangling chains or jeweled chandeliers.  Again, for an office party, keep the cleavage to a minimum and the skirt hems at knee-length.

For a simpler modern look, try something like this:

Modern Classic #2

            Keep: white tunic, blazer
            Add: dark-wash jeans, fun metallic or colored heels, red waist cincher, a statement necklace or earrings
            Look for: well-fitting even-wash jeans, unique accessories
            Avoid: tight, light-wash, or whiskered jeans

This might be my favorite outfit in the set: a red belt over a white tunic with the black blazer unbuttoned over it.  Okay, that’s mostly based on the fact that the belt is the most amazing thing ever, but still, I think this is a pretty good look.  Since the actual outfit is fairly simple, you can have a lot more fun with the accessories: metallic strappy heels, big jeweled bib necklaces, chandelier earrings, a unique clutch, etc. This outfit is another one that could spend most of the day at work, then get spruced up for the party by adding the belt, jewelry, and shoes.

For these less conservative looks, you can also have a bit more fun with your makeup.  A smoky eye with red lips will look awesome with the second outfit, while a small amount of a trendy eyeshadow (think purple or a metallic neutral) might be fun with the first outfit.  You could even try a colored eyeliner – plum or navy are safe places to start.

Okay, time to dive into some seriously trendy looks:

On Trend #1

            Keep: skirt or pants
            Add: off-the-shoulder or embellished tops, bold jewelry, unique heels or booties
            Look for: non-traditional color schemes, trend motifs like feathers, sequins, or colorblocking
            Avoid: anything that wasn’t in Vogue this month

This is where we branch away from your safe, standard office-party look and get geared up for some New Years mayhem.  Or, who knows, maybe your family throws some holiday parties with the staff of Vogue in attendance.  At any rate, these ain’t your momma’s holiday party outfits.

This look works with the bottom half of your everyday work outfit – the next look will keep the top half.  For these looks, you’ll have to be careful not to go overboard.  Too many textures and colors might freak out the other guests, and you don’t want that.  If you pick a single-color top like the two in the middle, feel free to wear some more exciting jewelry, like a long chain or bib necklace, and carry a more daring glittery metallic clutch.  If you have an embellished top like the outer two, try to stick with simpler jewelry, like hoop earrings and a silver cuff or bangles. Personally I’d advise against carrying a sparkly clutch with a sparkly top – insert joke about my commitment to sparkle motion here – but in the right setting, you could probably get away with head-to-toe glitter.

Another thing you can do to keep a trendy look from getting out-of-hand is to wear more classically stylish shoes instead of the hottest styles.  Try sophisticated black booties or heels with a subtle twist, like these lasercut leather peeptoes.

The last look is both a tamer on-trend outfit and a stylish upgrade to Modern Classic #2:

On-Trend #2

            Keep: tunic, long blazer
            Add: leggings, black waist cincher belt, boots, silver jewelry, colorful clutch
            Look for: bold jewelry, well-made leggings (preferably jeggings)
            Avoid: cheap leggings, over-the-top boots

I was anti-leggings for a long time.  Then I tried on a pair of nice, thick black jeggings at Maurices (they have a fly and everything!) and my life changed.  I still think there are a few rules to follow when wearing leggings – the main one being they are not pants, so please don’t show your tush in them – but on the whole I think they’re a great, flexible fashion option.

Anyone watch “What Not To Wear?” How many times have you heard Stacy use the phrase “add a pop of color?”  Try that out with this look.  Put together a stunning monochromatic ensemble of trendy pieces (leggings, boots, a boyfriend blazer) and add a colorful, one-of-a-kind clutch that will act as a focal point for the outfit.  Keep it classy, though – you could get away with wearing this for an office party, so try not to look like you’re out for a night at the club. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get quality accessories that still look sharp and sophisticated.

You can be a lot more experimental with your makeup with these trendier looks.  Try that red lipstick again, but this time do a slightly bolder smoky eye, with strong black liner – maybe even a cat-eye effect.  If you don’t like red but still want a bold lip, pick another dark shade in the wine and burgundy family.  Or stick with a more gentle nude or berry lip and try one of the season’s fashionable eye shadows: metallic greens, copper, or purples.

So now you’ve hopefully gotten a few ideas for how to morph your previously-existing wardrobe into stunning, stylish holiday attire.  Inspired yet?  I am – now I just need to get invited to a couple parties.

Image via

A-Z to a Stylish Christmas: Q, R, S, T, U

Quality time. With family. And friends. I think this is probably the reason that I love Christmas quite so much and why I go a little mad at this time of the year. But it is probably a better reason that any other I could have come up with – like, I like it for the presents!!

Apologies if your veggie and this image just made you feel a little nauseous. But the roast on Christmas Day is one of my highlights of the whole period. In fact, if I’m honest, all of the eating is my favourite part!

What is Christmas without snow? This time last year we were knee deep in snow here in the UK but this year has been sadly disappointing so far… I’m (still) dreaming of a White Christmas…

The tree at Christmas is biggest sign that the festive season is upon us. I love the whole tradition of getting the tree and getting out all of the decorations and then decorating it. I still love to go to my parents’ before Christmas and decorate their tree with all of the decorations from my childhood that all have such wonderful memories attached. I’m still building up my collection of decorations for our home now and we’re slowly bringing new memories to each of them.

Possibly my absolutely favourite part of Christmas is ripping into my presents on Christmas morning. Each family has their own rules for unwrapping gifts. In our family, it all started one Christmas many years ago when my sister and I got up in the dead of night and unwrapped all of the presents in our stockings. For some reason my mother had thought it a good idea to buy us whistles and so was rudely awoken by her two daughters playing them loudly! The enxt year we were under strict instructions not to get up and open our stockings before 8am on Christmas morning. And then we would open our other presents after breakfast.

What family traditions do you have?

Images via 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

A-Z to a Stylish Christmas: P

Today’s post in the A-Z to a Stylish Christmas series is another guest post, this time from Stephanie, of Life and its Other Drugs.

Hi Everybody, I’m Stephanie and I blog over at Life and its Other Drugs I am so excited that Emily has allowed me to contribute while she is away. So let’s get started!!

As Christmas nears, I can’t help but crave my Grandmother’s Pumpkin Fritters. One of my best memories as a child was of my grandma and I in the kitchen making them from scratch. To this day, every time I smell vanilla or pumpkin I immediately get flashbacks to those amazing Christmas nights curled up eating fritters with the rest of the family that my grandma and I made!

So it would be no surprise that this Holiday season I am really looking forward to my grandma’s famous Pumpkin Fritters. She is pretty old school, so she doesn’t make it the way a lot of people make them today. There are no eggs, baking powder or nutmeg in these fritters. But feel free to play with the recipe if you want.

Ingredients
1 1/2 pound Pumpkin
2 tsp salt
2 liters (8 cups) water
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil

Directions
Cut the pumpkin into pieces. Then put the pumpkin into a pot of water with salt. Be sure to put heat on high, until boiling. When it comes to a boil, lower heat & Cover pot & let it boil for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes strain pumpkin from the water. Mix the pumpkin with sugar, flour and vanilla. It should have the consistency of dough. In a sauté pan, add oil & put on high heat. If you want your pumpkin fritters toasted on the outside and soft on the inside then put some flour on the palms of your hands and take one spoon full of the pumpkin dough at a time and with your hands make them flat like a pancake. Then place into the hot oil and fry until golden brown.
If you don’t want them toasted, simply take a spoon to scoop dough into the frying pan and it will turn into a ball. Be sure to flip the fritters to get golden all over. Remove fritters onto paper towels to absorb left over oil.
I have always had them flattened, but they are perfectly tasty as balls as well. I just keep them flat from force of habit and tradition.

I really hope you enjoyed this Guest Post! Hope you have an amazing Christmas guys!!

Ciao
-Stephanie

A-Z to a Stylish Christmas: M, N, O

Mistletoe is in abundance in the English county where I grew up and where I return at Christmas to spend the festive period with my family. I love the tradition of exchanging kisses under the mistletoe and like to use it to remind me to show my love for friends and family at Christmas. How do you show your love and appreciation for friends and family at this time of year?

As the old year comes to a close and the new year beckons, it is a time for reflection but also for thinking about the year ahead and making plans.

It might not be terribly fashionable or cool but by being organised at Christmas you’ll find it a far less stressful time of year and therefore, far more enjoyable. Make sure to prepare a list of everyone you’ll be buying presents for and sending cards to – this will help you not to get to five o’clock on Christmas Eve and find you’ve forgotten someone important. The same applies for Christmas dinner – if that is left to you. Make sure to plan for the day and you’ll find it far less stressful and more enjoyable.

Make sure you come back tomorrow for another guest blog post.

Images via 1, 2 and 3

A-Z to a Stylish Christmas: I, J, K, L

If it was good enough for the three kings to bring, then it’s got to be good enough for us! Don’t you think? Try this Rejuvenating Frankincense Skincare Essentials collection from John Lewis:

There is no more festive sound than the sound of jingle bells, signalling the arrival of Father Christmas. Instead of wearing jingle bells however, why not add a pair of jingle jangly earrings?

Like these Teardrop earrings from Dorothy Perkins? Plus, until tomorrow (Monday 19 December) enter the code DPXMAS at the checkout and save 20%

Or these vintage looking earrings from New LookNew Look launched their secret sale today – up to 30% off will be added at the checkout with the code TINSEL55

‘Tis the season to be jolly and to make merry and to party. Make sure that if you’re puckering up this festive season, your lips are as smooth and kissable as possible with Bliss’s Fabulips Treatment Kit:

You might remember, I reviewed the set a few months ago.

At this time of year, I take the opportunity to fill our home with fairy lights. I like to buy lots of little strings of lights to hang all over our flat – from window frames to the tops of bookshelves. Try John Lewis for good value strings of Christmas light of all lengths and styles:

Remember to come back tomorrow for the next part of the A-Z to a Stylish Christmas – and all of this week for more guest bloggers too.

Images via 1, 2, 3 and 4

A-Z to a Stylish Christmas: H

Hi Everyone, I’m Iris from 260 Days, No Repeats! I have challenged myself to wear remixed outfits from my closet… It started out as a one year thing but, has since evolved and kept on going. During this experience I have learned that you don’t need all new items of clothes to have a fresh new look. I am constantly finding ways to take the things I wear every day and pair them with completely different items! There are no limits…

With the holidays on the horizon I’m sure everyone’s social calendars are filling up. While you might feel like there is nothing in your closet that is going to work you can take a few key pieces and put together a plethora of fabulous outfits! I chose a great dress, sparky sweater, sparky t-shirt, classic pencil skirt, and pinstripe blazer and mixed them into 12 different holiday ready ensembles. What pieces would you pick? How would you put them together?

Lace Yoke Sleeveless Dress – LOFT
Red Embellished Sweater – RED via Loehmanns
Green Sequins Embellished T-shirt – Ellen Tracey via TJ Maxx
Black Pencil Skirt – Old Navy
Black Pinstripe Blazer – Calvin Klein via SYMS
1
1+5
1+2
1+2+5
1+3
1+3+5
1+4
1+4+5
2+4
2+4+5
3+4
3+4+5
Mixed Metal Earrings – ModCloth
Belle Fleur Ring – Stella & Dot
Rhinestone Earrings – New York & Company
Gold/Silver Teardrop Earrings – V’ta Jewelry
Black Pumps – Candies via Kohl’s
Black Belt – Adrienne Vitadinni

Can you see yourself utilizing similar pieces from your own wardrobe in similar fashions? What would you do differently? It doesn’t have to be exact; You could throw a pair of pants or jeans in the mix for more casual gatherings but, at least you know that you’ll have all your fancy holiday celebrations covered! Please stop by 260 Days, No Repeats for more remixing inspiration.

Images via