What, you didn't think we'd neglect holiday dressing, did you? But instead of what sequin to sport, we're more concerned with how to not freeze your tucchus off!
There are a lot of guides to holiday party-dressing out there, some of them great. If you're looking for a comprehensive list of festive frocks, in my opinion you can't top this one. But this is not what concerns us. What I wonder when I see all these sparkly minis and sky-high heels — besides who the hell is going to all these fancy fetes — is, aren't they cold? Anyone in a cold climate knows the unpleasantness of wind whipping at an insufficiently-garbed leg as you teeter in heels...and anyone who does has thought, never again. I polled a lot of real-life ladies and drew on a lifetime of warming strategies to produce a few tips that will, I hope, be helpful!
This is the first — but not the last — time I will mention fleece-lined tights. These have literally changed my life. Somehow magically warm, yet unbulky, they're as cozy as leggings but thin enough to wear to a party. I've been living in mine, from Plush, and I am told that Target makes a good version too.
I am of the opinion that black tights look cool with most things, and in a pinch, you can always wear two pairs. Sparkly tights are a fun, festive option (I mean, if not now, when?)
Nude pantyhose are of course a fraught issue: some women would rather go bare than wear them, while in other parts of the country they're still de rigeur. If you are wearing something that just won't work with black, one idea is to rock a "seamed" pair: this adds a dose of kitsch that counteracts the risk of dowdiness.
If you've got a vintage fur or have invested in one of the great faux guys that were all over the place this fall (and are now on sale!), break 'em out: warm and professionally glam. (And if you've invested in an Edward Gorey, you're going to want to show that off.)
I am all about legwarmers. Think about the name. They warm legs. In cold weather, I rarely venture out in a skirt or dress without a pair of these babies snugly battening my legs and feet. Then, once at destination, I just whip them off. Not rocket surgery, but eminently practical!
Or Just Wear Pants.
Jeans and a dressy top (with tights underneath, perhaps) or nice trousers: this eliminates the cold leg issue altogether. Jezebel's own Jenna swears by this combination, saying, "one of my favorite outfits right now is a bright green silk bell-sleeved blouse with high-waisted flared trousers. It's pretty 70s (I was trying to knock off one of Julie Christie's looks in Shampoo) but I think it's at least as elegant as a mini-dress." Personally, in very cold weather I have been known to sport a certain vintage wool jumpsuit (for underheated events only) which is so friggin' odd that it's somehow never inappropriate. (Or always.)
The cold-weather staple can be dressy — and allows for warm socks. More to the point, as one partygoer told me, "in some cases, chic boots look better and are warmer than party heels. In a crowded party no one's looking at your feet usually anyways, it's all about waist-up."
If You've Got A Sweater-Dress, Wear It
My cashmere dress, which I got on super-sale five years ago, remains one of my best all-time purchases. Looks fine, feels divine. With sweater dresses, since we're on the subject, I like to size up, so they're not too clingy...but to each her own! In any event, hand-washing will keep these in good condition for years to come.
If It's 10 Below, No One's Judging.
Remember, you're all in the same boat. In extreme situations, just bring a change and do a bait-and-switch once you're safely inside. After all, party clothes are little.
And At the End of the Day:
As one friend put it, "I just drink a lot of whiskey before I leave the house, so I'm still cold, but I don't care."
For all of our handy Dress Code guides, go here.