How To Look Festive When You Hate Getting Dressed Up

Mark Hanson

Getting dressed for the slew of holiday events on your calendar can pose a challenge if your normal uniform centers around denim and oversized knits (guilty). Since dressing up is kind of a non-negotiable at this time of year, I asked glamour guru Rachel Zoe to share her holiday dressing tips for those of us who are averse to the whole disco-ball look.

To be clear, Zoe is maybe the world's biggest champion of the sequin. She wears metallics to the dentist. I have never seen her without a sky-high heel strapped to her foot. In stark contrast to the famous Coco Chanel quote, her mantra when it comes to jewelry is to actually add a piece before leaving the house. I am therefore skeptical. She assures me, however, that minimalists can nail holiday style, "you simply need to elevate the outfits you naturally gravitate towards."

Eager to illustrate, she invited me to her holiday party at the Palisades Village, which houses her first Rachel Zoe Collection brick-and-mortar location. I should point out that while LA is famous for making casual dressing into an art form, people show respect for the holiday season, so I dropped by for a quick tutorial. Here are her tips.

Go For Basic Black

Erin Foster in Rachel Zoe Collection // Mark Hanson

"All-black is a great option for minimalists or anyone rushing from the office to a cocktail party. Look for a style in a silhouette you feel comfortable in, and punch it up with accessories like bold earrings." A midi-length, long-sleeved dress, blue hoops and a mid-calf boot? This I can do.

Try Lurex or Lamé

Nikki DeRoest and Sarah Wright Olsen in Rachel Zoe Collection // Mark Hanson

This retro fabric beloved by every member of the Dynasty cast has been enjoying a comeback for a while now. "It's a more subdued, shimmery alternative for anyone who doesn't want to wear all-out glitter but still wants to look festive," says Zoe. Try pairing a sweater with a grounding fabric like corduroy.

Do A Muted Sequin

Katharine McPhee in Rachel Zoe Collection // Mark Hanson

"Ok so yes, its a sequin, but its matte and it's in an unexpected color. The silhouette of a tux is also so chic, and it looks great over a crewneck bodysuit or, if you're feeling bold, worn alone." Something about this blue reminds me of denim, so I'm actually sold. It would look great with air-dried hair and a square-toed shoe.

Pick A Demure Silhouette

Jaime King in Rachel Zoe Collection // Mark Hanson

"If you're typically a low-key dresser, incorporating a festive fabric can feel too overwhelming when paired with a flashy silhouette. Try a high-necked, long-sleeved dress over tights or boots." For an alternative to this gilded version, try a classic black lace style.

Dress-Down A Gown

Sara Foster in Rachel Zoe Collection // Mark Hanson

"Wearing a gown with a cozy jacket, simple makeup and a casual bun is surprisingly cool. Plus you can wear it with flats and you'll still look festive!" So not everyone has the confidence for this, but the result is arguably effortless. This would also work with a satin midi slip dress and a chunky (read: snow appropriate) boot.