Posts Categorized: reader requests

Reader Request: Styling Sequins for Holiday

sequins holiday party

Reader Magnolia had this question:

Now that the holiday season is around the corner, this year I am feeling very attracted to glitter and sequins and all things shiny. I am loving this Adrianna Papell dress in lead color. [Shown in image above, plus size version here]

But, this is the first time I am thinking of wearing something SO shiny. I am wondering how to style this? If nude pumps will be fine or I need to wear high metallic heels. I feel like going all glitzy but totally unsure how to go about it. May be you would like to take this up for one of your posts? How to wear sequins and glam for the holiday season?

FUN! This is such a gorgeous dress and can definitely have a life beyond the holiday season.

In terms of how to style it (or something similar to it), that depends on several factors:

  1. What time of day is the event? Afternoon and early evening gatherings are generally less formal – and therefore, less over-the-top sparkle-friendly – than dinners, cocktail parties, and later evening events.
  2. Where will it be? If you’re going to a hotel ballroom for a charity event or work gathering, that’ll be dressier by nature than a house party. You can wear this dress to either of course, but depending on your preferences you might want to subdue it a bit for a dinner with friends.
  3. What’s the climate or temperature like? If I were to wear this to a holiday party in Minneapolis, I’d likely have to figure out hosiery and possibly a way to wear snow boots to the venue and swap in party-ready shoes on arrival. If you’re in Miami, however, neither will be a concern.
  4. How comfortable will you be with the people there? Or does that matter? I’m thinking, is this a gathering of your significant others’ bosses and coworkers that might make you feel a bit more self-conscious than usual? If so, would you rather turn down the sparkly a bit? Or are you totally fine going all-out regardless of the guest list?
  5. Will there be dancing? Four-inch heels might not be your best bet, if so.

In case listing out most of the possible decision-making factors didn’t make it plain, how you style a glamorous holiday dress or look is very much up to you. Your tastes, coverage preferences, and mood day-of will also influence your choices. As will he climate of formality in your region: A soiree in Manhattan might be far dressier than a gathering in Denver … or it might not. So, obviously, these are just suggestions.

If you want to be sparkly but subdued …

… I’d recommend layering. So with this specific dress, a jacket or wrap would do the trick. If you’ve got a sparkly skirt, jacket, or pants you want to wear, make that item the sole source of sparkle. That means patent shoes will work, but metallic or highly embellished ones won’t. Keep jewelry relatively small and free of large, faceted stones. Plain gold or silver is great, and a few cabachons are fine since they tend to glow instead of glitter. Simple hosiery, a minimalist clutch, and hair worn down or in an easy up-do. Makeup can go either way, in my opinion: A subdued-glam outfit can work with dramatic makeup, but you can also tone it down and look equally elegant and party-ready.

If you want to go all-out glam …

… skip the layers. I’d still recommend a single sparkly piece per outfit, but your secondary pieces (if there are any) can be more metallic, textural, or eye-catching. With all-over sequins, though, solids will be less overwhelming than patterns when it comes to pairings. Embellished or glittery shoes can work here, as can tamer footwear. Jewelry can be bolder, though a single statement piece should do the trick. With Magnolia’s dress, I’d say go for some elegant chandelier earrings. Layering jewelry OVER a sequined surface can look awfully busy. I’d still opt for simple hosiery, but a glittery or ornate clutch will look fab, and a more elaborate hairstyle will look appropriate. Depending on how showy your clothes and accessories feel when grouped, balance with makeup: Go dramatic if it feels right, or slightly less so if your look already screams “glamour.”

Since I know you’ll ask, hosiery is a tough call. Nudes have come a long way in recent years, and are likely the best bet for outfits in paler colors. I adore Falke hosiery, and this matte nude looks like it will work for several skin tones. If your outfit is mainly black or dark gray, black sheers or opaques can work. If you’re wearing a bright color like red or cobalt, it’s really your call, but I’d err on the side of nude-to-you tights or hose.

Above all, have fun with your look! Holiday parties are parties, after all, and a great excuse to dress up and step outside your comfort zone a bit. Experiment, try new things, and wear what makes you feel festive and happy.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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Reader Request: Styling Flares

how to style flare jeans

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Reader Sarah emailed me this question:

I wondered if you could do a post or a question in your column or something on styling flares. I love that flares are back in style (great for balancing hips), but I am having trouble with the silhouette. Fitted on top or not? Long or cropped tops?, etc. Also, what shoes?

Oh flares, my old friends. I wore you throughout college, and well after … even when the rest of the world had switched to skinnies. And now I can’t quite believe you’re back. Already. Although, in my mind, 1990 is only 10 years ago

ANYWAY. Flares are the silhouette of the season, and I imagine Sarah isn’t the only one who’s thrilled to see them on the racks once more. But they are a bit of an exaggerated silhouette, so they can feel challenging to style. Here are my tips:

Hem them

It’s always a good idea to have your pants and jeans hemmed for the style and height of footwear you intend to wear with them, but it’s especially important for flares. There’s a lot of fabric down there by your feet, and cultivating a ragged, dirty hem will only distract from your overall look. If you are long-waisted and short-legged, consider seeking petite flares since hacking off more than a couple of inches may affect the flare silhouette and balance of the jean. (It’s true that some folks are wearing cropped flares, but that trend is still on the fringes. And not terribly practical for cold weather.)

To avoid the no-feet look, consider having your flares hemmed slightly higher in front. And remember that pants hemmed for heels shouldn’t be worn with flats and vice versa. Speaking of shoes …

Try heels

You certainly can do flats with flares, but to my eye a heel makes the silhouette more fluid and graceful. Even a small heel, platform, or a wedge will work – something to give you a little boost of height and elongate your legs. Flares only make your legs look long and your silhouette look hourglass-y if there’s some distance between your hips and the flared hem. Heels can help. It’s a matter of preference, of course, but my preference is for heels with this cut.

Short or fitted tops

Flares can be worn with loose or boxy tops and jackets, but opting for something that shows at least half of your hip height and is somewhat fitted reduces the risk of swamping your figure. This is especially true if you want to wear flares either to elongate your leg line (a shorter top will do this) or create balanced curves (a fitted top will do this). For length, think three or four fingers’ width above your crotch point. And if you’re not too keen on clingy tops, try a fitted top in a relatively heavy material like ponte or a mid-weight sweater then add a looser jacket on top.

Or blouses … though consider tucking

Button-fronts and blouses are a great way to dress up your flares. In fact, some fashion experts and editors advise against going too casual with your flares-based looks to avoid an overly 90s feel. Since many blouses add volume, try tucking or half-tucking with your flares. It’s another great way to elongate your legs and keep the silhouette tidy, and allows you to add a belt to your look. You can also do a loose, floaty blouse and then bring in the float with a fitted, structured jacket.

Avoid tunics

What makes flares flares is the out-in-out shape they create on your body. A tunic-length top will cover most of your thighs, and unless you’ve got a pair of super-fitted flares that cling to your knees, that tunic top will obscure the curve inward from your hips to knees. Even if you opt for a longish top, make sure it tops above the crotch point so you can reap maximum curve benefit. Or if you want to play with proportion and use a longer line up top, try a fitted underlayer and longer jacket or duster.

As always, none of my figure flattery advice posts should be considered gospel, including this one, and I fully expect you to read them with a grain of salt. Style “rules” are merely guidelines, no matter who is dispensing them. I trust you to use your judgment. And I trust you to take what applies to you, discard the rest, and assume positive intent.

Hope this helps! And have fun flaring it up this season!

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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Reader Request: Stylish Watches

stylish watches

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Reader Sue had this question:

I’d like to hear from you about women’s watches – what’s in, what’s out. I see people with such a variety of styles. In the last couple of years I’ve seen so many women wearing big men’s watches … and wonder what is up with that!

I’m not much of a watch-wearer myself – though I do own and love the tortoiseshell Nixon pictured above – so I had to do a bit of research for this one.

It’s true that large-faced, menswear-influenced watch styles have been favored for several years, and currently they’re still more desirable than slimmer, delicate styles. Since borrowed-from-the-boys looks and athleisure are both hot, it makes sense that watch styles would skew masculine and sporty to match. Michael Kors has churned out many popular models, including the rose gold style above, and although many are in the $250 – $300 range, they go on sale for around $150 which is about what you’d pay for a Fossil watch.  Those who opt for slimmer, more ladylike watch styles tend to wear them on the same wrist with a pile of bracelets.

Color and material preferences do shift about somewhat. According to a Harper’s Bazaar article, colorful watches – especially ceramic models – were the trendy style for summer, though the author predicted that most fashionistas would downshift into neutrals for fall. Silvertone metals – sterling, stainless steel, or white gold – are beating out warm golden tones nowadays, though rose gold is still super hot. Vintage classics in all colors are always en vogue, and if you can’t afford a real-deal Cartier Tank or Rolex Oyster, less expensive versions with the same scale and features are a safe bet. Although leather bands will always be chic, most watch-wearers go for bracelet styles these days.

I don’t know about you folks, but I’ve seen far more men than women embracing smart watches, Beyoncé notwithstanding. That said, I think some of them are incredibly slick especially this round-faced Motorola model. Of course, it took a while for smart phones to take root, so in five years we may all have traded in our Timexes for itty bitty wrist-computers.

If you’re interested in digging deeper, try Watch Time or A Blog to Watch, though the latter focuses mainly on luxury models.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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