With December in full swing, holiday party invitations are keeping postal carriers busy. With each invitation, though, a new quandary appears.
What will you wear?
One area fashion maven has a few tips: Peter Kate co-owner Sissy Harris. Harris opened Peter Kate nearly a decade ago in 2001 with her mother Kathy Savage. Located in Greenville, the store specializes less in preppy standards like Lilly Pulitzer and gravitates more towards lines from Stuart Weitzman, Tory Burch, and Theory. She also pulls in the work of natives when she can, like the crystal and gemstone jewelry line of Wilmington native Olga Ganoudis.
"Holiday dressing isn't what it used to be," Harris explained, surrounded by shoes in her boutique's front room. "People are so much more casual now so almost anything goes."
But, with her hand on the pulse of current trends—she even counts Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden as a longtime customer—Harris is able to offer a few pieces of advice for those with a busy holiday calendar this year. She took time, between customers, to spill seven seasonal secrets:
1 Color is fun
Once the holidays arrive, women tend to gravitate towards several Christmas colors—red, green and basic black. In 2013, though, Harris says that women don't have to rely on the color schemes of Christmas cards.
"I love to see women think outside of the box," Harris said. "This year, jewel tones like royal purple and sapphire blue are great colors for holiday dressing. Anything metallic will work as well."
2 Use what you have
Harris loves a statement piece, be it a necklace, a pin, hosiery or shoes. For parties, she recommends picking out an outfit that's already hanging in the closet but freshening it up with an accessory.
3 Invest in a clutch
"I've noticed that people don't really seem to invest in clutches anymore," Harris said. "But, it's something small that can really take a woman from day to night. And, what's great is that it can be an exact match for your outfit or it can be that pop of color."
While at work, just stash the clutch in your bigger, daytime bag. When it's time to head to the after-work party, pull out the clutch and a few essentials like lipstick, an I.D. and cash or a credit card for emergencies and in a matter of minutes, no one will remember that they saw your dress at the 10 a.m. meeting this morning.
4 Black is back
Last year, Harris said that color was everywhere, from coats and shoes to tops and dresses. This year, she's seen a return to the classic little black…everything. But, black is boring, right? Not so, according to Harris and her staff. They all recommend mixing textures to make basic black pieces pop. Combine lace, leather, quilting or popular animal prints like python to transform an ordinary outfit into something that's more picture-worthy.
Page 2 of 2 - 5 Layering is more than just function
Harris stopped one of her employees to showcase how simple layering can be. Wearing a body-conscious winter floral dress, tights and booties, the ravishing red-head added a denim vest to finish off her look, which was going to also serve as her outfit for the boutique's holiday party last week.
"With layering, all of a sudden a whole look is created where there was once just a basic dress," Harris said. "Adding a jean jacket, a scarf or a well-placed pin is sometimes all it takes to amp up your look."
6 An (inexpensive) finishing touch
Women today don't frequent the hosiery isle like they used to. However, Harris said that hosiery is often the quickest and least expensive accessory to buy when an old outfit needs a revival.
"Textured hoses for dresses are great," Harris said. "And, there's no shortage them available. You can choose anything from tiny, delicate fishnets to heavier, winter tights. It's really the most cost effective way to get your look going."
7 It's all about balance
Harris said that it's important to remember that an outfit doesn't need three or four statement pieces. She said that combining too many makes an outfit look messier, not trendier.
"Sometimes, people overdo the embellishments," Harris said. "Take a deep breath and just let your statement piece make its statement. Sure, you can pick two but don't wear them all at once."