This post is going to be so much fun!
What started out as a simple holiday outfit post has grown into a full blown holiday outfit guide!
We’ll start with regular outfit photos first — well regular fancy outfit photos, that is. :) Then we’ll get into 2 easy outfit formulas in second half of the post, where, rather than rounding up lots of random holiday clothes, I’ve actually coordinated 8 individual outfits and put everything together for you. And the best part? Each outfit is built on a basic piece you probably already have in your closet.
My hope is to play as your personal stylist in this post, so you don’t have to give another thought to what to wear. And if you’re not buying anything new right now, perhaps you’ll find a new styling idea for pieces you already own.
So let’s get into it!
WHAT I’M WEARING
I haven’t had much reason to dress up for the holidays the past few years. But all of a sudden, this year, we have event after event — and this gal is SO EXCITED to dress up!
Of course I could just throw on a sparkly dress and call it a day, but I really wanted to put more styling into it and come up with something that felt a little more creative.
So I decided to layer! I layered a fitted lace turtleneck under a slip dress, and managed to fit in as many holiday textures as I could. (Silk, lace, velvet!) To me, it feels special and holiday-ish, while still feeling understated and true to my style.
I originally thought of going with an all-black look, but decided to get a little more festive with this evergreen/teal color — I love the dimension it adds to the outfit.
I have to say, Reformation has perfected the art of the high slit. It was super windy while we took these photos, but thanks to the strategic fit, there was no flashing. I mean, it still felt unnerving for the wind to blow my dress around, but once I realized everything was staying covered, I could relax and trust that the thoughtful design would do it’s job.
I wore it to the ballet last weekend too, and got to give it a sit-test. Happy to report that while sitting does show a lotta leg, everything else stays covered nicely.
To give this dress a more casual vibe, I could always layer a thin black, cream, or camel turtleneck underneath and swap the heels for ankle booties.
Like I mentioned, I already wore this outfit to the ballet, and I’ll be repeating it for all our upcoming events over the holidays — the symphony and a couple of dressier Christmas parties. Feel free to copy it for any special events you’ve got coming up!
See something you like? You can shop it and support my blog at the same time by using the affiliate links below.
Dress by Reformation ($198, conscious) | Here’s the same dress for less ($128) in a different, more casual fabric. If you’re interested in a similar dress without the high slit, try the Everlane slip dress ($98, conscious) or the Cuyana slip dress in that gorgeous shade of rust ($260, conscious).
Lace Top by Free People (on sale, $28) | I’m not much into bodysuits, so I opted for a regular ol’ top, but I’m sure a lace bodysuit ($100) would work even better layered under a dress. Here’s another lace bodysuit for less ($58) that would work great with jeans or a skirt thanks to it’s built-in top.
Velvet Clutch gifted by Kayu ($105, conscious)
Shoes by Leith ($69) | Low heels are of the utmost importance to me. I try to stay away from anything over 2.5 inches and this pair is just 2 inches tall!
Necklace gifted by Edge of Ember ($159, conscious)
• • •
2 EASY HOLIDAY OUTFIT FORMULAS
Formula No. 1: Black Skinny Jeans
Make the outfit in 4 steps:
- Black jeans read a little dressier than blue jeans, so pull out your favorite pair of black skinny jeans.
- Next, raid your closet for a pair of black shoes — just about any kind will do, whether it’s pumps or booties, even ballet flats. These are my favorite go-with-anything black booties if you need a starting point.
- Pick one of the top + bag combinations below!
- Finish with a gold necklace or pair of earrings. Stay cozy and warm in a simple black coat. Done and done!
Amber Velvet Camisole $69 | Beaded Wood Handbag $69
Evergreen Velvet Wrap Top $98 | Black Embossed Bag $19
Metallic Satin Blouse $99 | Leopard Calf Hair Clutch $26
Fuzzy Metallic Sweater $69 | Leather Crossbody $88
• • •
Formula No. 2: Basic Black Dress
The best part about this outfit formula? Break it apart and every piece can be styled on it’s own way (way) past the holidays.
If you want to avoid items that are so holiday-specific, use it as an opportunity to invest in a good coat or pair of booties that can do so much more for your wardrobe in the long run.
Make the outfit in 3 steps:
- Start with a basic black dress. I’ve been living in this dress lately. The knit is so soft and high-quality, plus it’s WARM. Much warmer than I expected a thin knit dress to be. I got a size small and it skims the body without being tight or too fitted.
- Now comes the fun part: pick one of the boot + coat combinations below! (And wear wool socks to keep your feet toasty.)
- Finish by layering a couple of gold necklaces, grab your simplest black purse, and you’re done!
Snakeskin Booties $49 (similar with lower heel, on sale, $111)| Deep Rust Coat $249
Taupe Booties $89 | Light Taupe Coat $229
Embellished Booties $99 | Evergreen Coat $169
White Booties $225 (conscious) | Teddy Coat $199
• • •
And there you have it!
Thank you so much for being here. I hope you enjoyed this post — I had so much fun putting it together for you!
Now it’s your turn! Are you going to try out one of these outfits? Which one? Got any more more ideas for restyling basic items you already have into a holiday look? I’d love to hear (and I bet everyone else would too). Share away in the comments!
(And I’ll share a quick one before I go: I love the idea of updating simple black pumps with a fishnet sock, to get this look.)
I literally just bought the free people lace top this afternoon, such a good price point with many ways to wear it! I love the black and evergreen combo!! What a cool effortless look!
I’m thinking this lace top would look great under a jumpsuit, or layered with a silky or velvet cami paired with a skirt.
And for a causal look I would totally throw a graphic tee over it and wear with a pair of jeans!
I love all these styling ideas Deirdre! LOVE the idea of wearing it with a graphic tee and jeans — I hadn’t thought of that! Going to have to try it now, thanks for sharing. :)
? thank you for the great ideas!! I do have a simple black slipdress (I had rotated out for winter) & a long sleeve lace crop top I wore with high waist maxi skirts for all my “fancy” events last winter but I will be pulling my slip dress back out and giving this a try for sure! (With tights, booties + big furry coat cuz #midwestwinters ?). Thanks for sharing! Love your posts so much ?
All of these combinations would make a wonderful color palette for decor plan! Especially loving that green velvet jacket.
I love how you always find overlap between decor + fashion inspiration! I love trying to translate well-designed rooms into an outfit too! Thanks for being a positive presence here. :)
Andrea Pressley says
Love your style! What size did you buy for your black lace top? Is it soft or scratchy?
Hi Andrea! I got a size S. The lace is soft, but still has a little structure to it. Not scratchy at all. :)
Caroline it is so wonderful to see your style and your design and your blog develop and grow! You are always an inspiration.
Kelli, I can’t tell you how much this means to me! Thank you. :)
Ah I really loved this! I got the free people turtleneck and the black target dress from your links. Really wishing my budget had room for yet another coat! I don’t have a long one yet. Contemplating the everlane skinnies because I don’t have a black pair that fits rn. Is it true to “size down”? I have such a hard time with that. ? I can tell you put a lot of work into this post. It shows. Thanks for having fewer but higher quality posts and recommendations. Much appreciated.
The black jeans at Everlane run small! I would say the blue jeans fit TTS/a little on the fitted side, but I would size up one for the black jeans.
My plan for the office holiday part tomorrow: classic black dress, knee lenght with a collar, woolen black/beige patterned tights. Black long woolen cardigan worn over (I live in Norway and it is getting cold here) belted together with a red belt. Red lipstick and black booties. Think it will work really well! Another look I am going to try is the same dress, tights and booties, but with my oversized natural white woolen sweater.
Love how your blog keep giving me ideas to restyle and combine items I never would have thought about otherwise! Thank you so much, and happy hoilday parties to you!
Lan | Morestomach Blog says
purchased a proper black tulle skirt, FINALLY, and i am obnoxiously excited about it. i only have a few events to attend this season but i’m already looking to wear it to allllll the events, even to work if i need to.
for the lacy turtleneck, do you only wear it as a layering piece, under something? would you wear it any other way?
That sounds so FUN! I love it. Enjoy! :) :) Hm, for the lace turtleneck, I could see wearing it with a camisole underneath it, paired with a high waist midi skirt, as a dressy outfit. But it’s pretty tight and I’m just not feeling super tight tops these days — no room to eat, hah. So I think for the most part I’ll layer it under things.
I love this slipdress look, it is so fun and different and perfect!
andrea armbrust says
what a great post. Love your style and inspiration. Thanks for sharing.
Cheers from Germany
Roxane Stay says
Thank you for putting this together! I needed some extra help with Holiday outfit ideas. They are so great!
I these are some of your best looks ever!
That green dress is pure love! Such a beautiful color green <3
I love that Target dress!
I bought a similar one a year or so ago (from Target) but it has pleated chiffon sleeves for a little extra embellishment. I wore it to a holiday party last night, with silly Christmas print leggings and a Christmas scarf, and tall black boots. (It is COLD where I live right now, so booties are not really practical.)
Formula No. 2 is a great idea! However, the dress may need to be sharp and expensive, since it is the only item I would be wearing.
If it is going to be a basic black dress, I would spice it up with a blazer of matching but brighter color. Perhaps rough textured tweed…
Sarah Winton says
This is such a great post. I loooooove the ways you’ve styled black jeans!! I will definitely be pulling together similar looks for any festive occasions this season!
Patricia Kay says
Always perfect timing! “Just what the doctor ordered!”
Love your creativity. You have the gift of opening up possibilities for all ages, shapes, sizes, and simply opening my eyes to my own closet offerings!
Question: going to get the dress; how have you been wearing it? ( thinking I can even wear a sweater over it too…black tights, booties. Love that metallic sweater you showcased!
Christmas gift early: Carolyn’s post-gift in my inbox?
I’ve been looking for exactly that style of show forever! Thank you for the link!
Really appreciate the many ways to use what you already have ie. black dress and jeans. Just ordered the Madewell top for my teen daughter, she can wear her favorite jeans and black booties and be comfortable and festive. We needed the inspiration, thank you so much!
A few weeks ago, I told myself I was going to begin elevating my style, starting by learning how to put together outfits — and been dreading actually having to either ever since. I planned to go shopping after work today for my company holiday party, and on my morning commute noticed this post on Instagram. I read, and re-read, this post, trying to soak it all in. And then…
I went to H&M, and tried all of these ideas, just to see myself in different “looks”. I did a lace turtleneck under a velvet jumpsuit, put a burgundy coat over a black dress, and tried a metallic cami with black pants.
It’s not revolutionary, and I didn’t buy anything, but it was honestly the first time I’ve considered “how will I wear this?” while shopping, and rather than looking for one piece I like, trying to figure out an “outfit” as a whole, while also considering if, and how, I might use the pieces in other ways.
Thank you so much for the inspiration!!!!!!! I feel like maybe (just maybe) I can do this whole “outfit” thing.
Yas! I love this so much! This will come in handy especially into the holidays with all the parties and events. I love that you utilized clothing from your wardrobe instead of shopping for new outfits. Thanks for sharing, Caroline!
I love these suggestions! I don’t have any fancy holiday parties to go to this year but I do have a small one for work and family get togethers. I recently got some soft flowy button downs that I love. I wore one to Thanksgiving, tucked into jeans with big gold earrings and booties and that did the trick ;) I love shopping my own wardrobe for an event!
thinking of styling this black dress with tights and black combat boots for girls night. Need to stay warm (in chilly NY). Any jacket suggestions with this combo? Thanks!!
That was a really fun post! I especially enjoyed the outfit formulas and will definitely try some of the black skinny jean ideas. It’s a raid-your-closet holiday this year and I have both the black jeans and a plain black dress–so thanks for the inspiration :)
melissa telenko says
EVERY Christmas I find myself going to more shows and events than I thought I would and scrambling for something festive to wear (my normal life is not at all dressy). I love these black jeans/fancy tops/cute bag combos so much and plan to buy some of the pieces for next year so I can just get dressed and go! thanks for including some budget pieces like the cute black bag and leopard clutch.