Your next holiday party can be the perfect opportunity to show off your favorite new attire. And that means it’s also an opportunity to give yourself a gift you’ll actually use—before all the actual gift-giving begins. Who doesn’t like getting a few compliments on their choice of clothing?
But this opportunity can also feel like a chore. That’s why we’re here to help. Struggling to assemble the perfect holiday outfit? Fret not. Here are some tips and potential solutions to all your outfit needs.
This is more a matter of necessity than fashion, at least in most locales. It’s cold out. Unfortunately, it can also be a bit warm on the inside of your party destination. That may mean putting together a layered outfit that allows you to keep warm in the cold while stripping down a bit in particularly heated interiors.
As recommended by Men’s Health, the slim marled lambswool sweater from J. Crew is a great starting point. It runs about $70, and you could easily find yourself wearing it on multiple occasions throughout the holiday season.
While it’s significantly more expensive (at $379), we’re also a fan of J. Crew’s super-sleek Barbour Equestrian Bedale Jacket. The sharp interior lining and black exterior make this a perfect option for outings at fancier establishments.
For a warmer-looking alternative, check out Tommy Hilfiger’s Melton Wool Walking Coat with Scarf. If getting to your party entails a fairly extensive outdoor walk, this can be an ideal barrier between you and the frigid outside world. And hey, it comes with a scarf! Score.
For the particularly trend-conscious among us, grunge might (finally) be making something of a comeback. Just take a peak at Shaun Samson’s Autumn/Winter 15 collection. You can find similar inspiration from the latest Hentsch Man collection.
Keep Your Head Warm, Too
PSA: This is the one time of the year when it’s actually okay to wear a beanie. So for all you beanie lovers, take advantage! It won’t look nearly as cool when the sun comes out.
Just about any option from The North Face will assure you a beanie that’s both warming and fashionable alike. You can pretty much take your pick, though the “Pete N Repeat” striped option looks particularly sharp. There’s something about that combination of orange and black.
If you’re a fan of simple elegance, take a look at the Carhartt Men’s Acrylic Watch Hat (available in a wide variety of great colors). There’s probably something to be said for avoiding especially busy and multi-colored beanies, particularly for any quasi-formal occasion.
No, we aren’t making any environmental statements. We’re being literal here. Green (or super sweet shades thereof) is in.
“Whether olive drab or hunter, fern or artichoke, subdued shades of green were worked across everything from technical tailored pieces (Christophe Lemaire) to smart-casual separates (Michael Kors),” writes Fashionbeans’ Cillian O’Connor.
O’Connor associates the trend with a recent emergence of military-inspired fashion. Whatever the cause, there’s no denying that green is a welcome departure from the holiday season’s insistence on all those awful red and white combinations.
“With shades to suit every skin tone, green’s worth putting at the core of your cold-weather looks,” adds O’Connor. “Use it to pull together neutrals like black, beige and grey, or pair it with complementary colors like burgundy and navy.”
Whatever you do, avoid holiday-themed colors and designs—even if they’re gifts from those you love. This is no time for fashion charity.
Don’t Forget the Neck
There are a variety of practical solutions to keeping your neck warm, and fortunately some of them actually look pretty good. O’Connor recommends roll neck designs, which are a great way to keep warm even when you part ways with your outerwear.
“Choose from thin or thick gauges, plain color or vividly patterned,” he writes. “Use yours in place of a shirt under a suit for a debonair take on tailoring (thin gauge recommended), or team with a simple pair of well-cut wool trousers and trainers for an off-duty ensemble that still looks luxe.”
Meanwhile, GQ insists that a proper scarf is a “winter essential.” There’s no shortage of slick options on that front.
J. Crew offers a couple of alternatives.
There’s the Lambswool Marled Striped Scarf for just $39.50, and there’s the even swankier Cashmere Scarf for $98. The latter comes in a small variety of great colors, with the graphite and cosmos navy standing out.
If you really want to go all out, there may be no substitute for Burberry’s ‘Giant Icon’ Cashmere Scarf—available in four subtly awesome colors for a clean $475.
Boots On the Ground
Ah, the ever-forgotten feet. They deserve some love, too—especially in inclement weather.
Some sturdy winter boots should do the trick. And because you probably won’t wear these year-round, we’ve come up with a couple of options that come in at under $100.
The first are the Polo Ralph Lauren, Crestwick Duck Boots—replete with a fashionably red Polo logo on the side. These things are the ultimate combination of fashion and utility.
If you’re looking for something that’s less sleek-black and more earth-toney, take a peak at The North Face Men’s Chilkat II Pull-On. These things look super-comfortable while entirely capable of trudging through some ice and snow.
The nice thing about winter is that you probably won’t have to take any crap about preferring some sweet boots to more formal footwear. People understand. It’s nasty outside, and your feet deserve only the finest defenses.
However, if you insist on something slightly more formal, consider the diverse selection of fancy boots by Allen Edmonds. They’ll cost you, but they do look great.
Don’t Forget to Accessorize
Lest you entirely look like you’re embarking upon an expedition through the North Poll, you can always up your formality with the use of some well-placed accessories. That might mean a nice watch, some great socks or one of the previously-mentioned scarves. The point is finding a way to show you respect the holiday occasion at hand—even if the frigid weather has forced you into dressing down a bit.
Like Men’s Health, we’re a big fan of the ties by Alexander Olch. Two worth your attention include the Tweed Necktie and Plaid Necktie, both 100-percent wool and both an even $150. Yes, that’s something of an investment, but it’s virtually guaranteed to elicit praise from your fellow party-goers.
Accessories can make for great conversation starters, too. That always comes in handy at occasions where you aren’t already close to everyone else in attendance. Your outfit can make you a bit more interesting, and that’s probably worth the expense.