We've all had our slip-ups with self-expression around the holidays. Maybe you doubled up with red and green scrunchies in the '90s or donned a pair of those flashing "ornament" earrings.
Whatever your holiday fashion faux pas, there's no reason to dress like a Christmas tree -- and no need to be overwhelmed with the prospect of having to buy a new outfit for the swirl of social events.
By adding an accessory or two, a little black dress or brown v-neck sweater can be instantly transformed into something festive. For this holiday season think about rich fabrics such as velvet or satin, as well as things that shine and sparkle. And use these accessories -- a clutch, a brooch, a belt -- in small doses.
You might start with the easiest (and perhaps least expensive) strategy: A classic red lipstick is one way to add a pop of color to your look. Red lips are big trend this season, and they always brighten up dark colors and heavier fabrics.
A color called Le Rouge from YSL Beaute is a true red, and its shiny gold packaging makes for a handsome addition to a vanity. For a little bit of sheen to the eyelid and brow bone, try Bobbi Brown's Sparkle Glamour Quad (which comes with four palettes of color), which gives a party-goer the option of creating a sexy smoky eye or playing it safe with a glittery champagne eye shadow.
Literal touches of sparkle are easy to find this time of year, and a little really does go a long way. Try wearing sequins or glitter by way of a neutral colored scarf, such as the nude version from Tory Burch that features one side of solid wool and the other decorated with a smattering of copper-colored palettes. Henri Bendel offers stackable rhinestone bracelets that are fastened with a velvet bow, a piece that could dress up anything from a black suit to jeans and a sweater.
Gentlemen, please ditch the reindeer tie and instead opt for a few dapper flourishes that can, in truth, be worn any time of year. Woolrich and Converse have teamed up for a holiday collection that includes a pair of rugged wool Chuck Taylors.
They're part lumberjack, part creative executive and can be worn with a pair of dark jeans and a solid sweater for work or a private holiday party. For something dressier, the oversized burgundy bow tie from the Lanvin for H&M collection is fun and looks great with a suit or under a V-neck sweater.
And for a festive but subtle approach to holiday dressing, try slipping on some bright colored or patterned socks, which can be worn with sneakers and jeans or a suit and oxfords. Paul Smith generally has a wide selection of colorful socks, including a pair in a red and gray harlequin pattern.
Top it all off by lighting a scented candle while you're dressing up at home -- or wrap one for a hostess gift. Annick Goutal's Noel candle and room spray is a subtle mix of citrus and pine and doesn't overwhelm a room once lighted.
So it's not so difficult to get seasonal, is it? That Christmas sweater can remain in the bottom drawer another year if you follow our basic rule: It's probably best to sparkle sparingly.