fun for the holidays

The Holidays. We know they’re coming.

Halloween is over, chocolate peppermint is replacing pumpkin spice, and decorations are ubiquitous. Poor Thanksgiving is lumped in there, but just barely.

Frankly, it can be overwhelming – so many things to plan and do to celebrate with family and friends over the next six weeks. One of those things is to figure out what to wear at the abundance of family gatherings, holiday parties, and formal events that occur this time of year.

Consignment shops are a great resource for finding new-to-you accessories and statement pieces that can make beautiful, polished holiday outfits without breaking the bank. Adding a sparkly embellishment or festive plaid can transform an outfit. Or finding a gorgeous fancy dress at a fraction of its retail cost makes celebrating all the more fun.

dress-casual gatherings

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah family and friend gatherings often call for comfortable-casual attire, but you want to look polished as well. Neutrals in soft knits are the trend this fall and winter – try an easy white-on-white or blend of neutrals for a put-together look. White denim or winter white dress pants with a fluid knit sweater and scarf are a perfect choice.

fun for the holidays: casual neutrals

 

Or go more traditional with plaid accents like a cozy blanket scarf or flannel shirt peeking out of a fitted crewneck sweater. A plaid statement coat pops with white-on-white, and blue gingham or plaid offers a fresh alternative to red or green.
soirées

Mix it up a little at those holiday mixers by forgoing the little black dress and opting for a sparkly or shiny skirt in emerald, champagne, or bronze. A knee-length A-line or full cut skirt with a fitted dressy blouse or sweater and ankle-strap heels will stand apart. A vintage or statement coat over a simple solid dress will both keep you warm and let you shine. An embellished sweater paired with a wool pencil skirt and heels is a gorgeous classic look.

dress parties

Jacquard, lace, and embroidered fabrics are beautiful monochromatic textures for fancy dress. Again, instead of stand-by black, choose navy, charcoal, white, or a metallic for a contemporary look. The shift, sheath, and fit-and-flare cuts are all lovely on-trend, yet classic styles. Add an ankle-strap or ankle-wrap heeled sandal, a clutch, and a sheer wrap for elegant style.

fun for the holidays: fancy dress

accessories

Anything sparkly will instantly make an outfit feel dressier and festive for the holidays. Add a brooch, or even two or three paired together, to a fine-gauge fitted sweater or fasten one to a bobby pin for your hair. Choose a sequined scarf or oversized ring as accent pieces. Jeweled bracelets, earrings, and collar necklaces will dazzle any outfit.

fun for the holidays: accessories

 

shopping consignment in Minneapolis and St. Paul

The Twin Cities have countless consignment stores for all of your holiday wardrobe needs. In Minneapolis, Nu Look has many lovely blouses, sweaters, and skirts. Fashion Avenue in Edina has gorgeous formal wear and designer/couture pieces.

St. Paul’s Elite Repeat has beautiful scarves and dresses, as does Second Debut in St. Louis Park, where you can also find a great selection of sparkly jewelry. Clothes Mentor (multiple locations) has lovely dresses as well.

I hope everyone has a relaxing, reflective Thanksgiving next week. And if you’re brave enough to join the crowds the day after, consider participating in Plaid Friday, a national effort to support local and independent shops on the biggest shopping day of the year. “Plaid is the new black!”

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a self-love mantra

cup of self love

 

“May I be happy, may I live in peace; may I be strong, may I live with ease.”

My acupuncturist (a LIFESAVER in addressing blasted peri-menopause symptoms!) gave me this meditation during my last appointment that she described as “creating puddles of love.” First say it to yourself for a bit, and then, moving out in ripples, to those whom you hold very close (loved ones), then to others who are close (friends), and then to those who are close, but you aren’t particularly feeling the love for right now.

She said, “You’d be surprised at how powerful it is to say this to someone you are challenged by right now. It releases so many things.” On her way out of the room, she added, “Be sure to say it to yourself A LOT first!”

I said it to myself a couple of times and quickly moved on to my family. So much easier to think loving thoughts for them, rather than myself! I realized this and went back to me a couple of more times and moved on again.

When I got to the “challenged by” ripple, the puddles became a murky mess. As soon as I started on it, self-shaming began. As I held someone in kindness, I jumped to thinking the challenge with this person must be because of MY personal failings.

Then I started getting a little agitated and argued with myself, “Of course, it always takes two to tango – this conflict is not entirely my doing or because of my ‘failings’.” Not very meditative! I needed to start over with myself. Again.

Why is it so much harder to express self-love than self-loathing?

I had coffee with a friend, and we talked a little about it. We agreed that it’s so easy for some women (including me) to hold on tightly – and I mean TIGHTLY – to negative thoughts about ourselves. Even when, intellectually at least, we know they aren’t true.

This is particularly evident with body image. I see it in me. My clients. My friends. Young women. Older women. Elderly women. Me.

A funny and thought-provoking video short where bestselling-author and speaker Brené Brown discusses blame nails it. We blame others – and we blame ourselves – because it’s easier to blame than to let go of the illusion of control. Letting go of negative thoughts lets go of control, which makes us feel vulnerable. Even when we’re letting go of something negative.

To embrace the idea of being beautiful, no matter our body type, weight, height, age, etc., is to be vulnerable. And that is hard.

We get constant messages that tell us we aren’t beautiful unless [fill in the blank]. To claim my own beauty in the context of those messages makes me feel vulnerable. “What if I’m wrong?” “What if I’m deluding myself, and everyone knows it but me?” It’s easier just to hold on to those negative messages.

Instead, try the self-love mantra: “May I be happy, may I live in peace; may I be strong, may I live with ease.” Consciously allow yourself to feel happiness, peace, strength, and ease. To do so means accepting yourself for who you are, right now. It feels vulnerable, and it also feels really, really good.