If you've blown your holiday budget already, don't get in a frazzle-dazzle. Before you charge one more party dress on your credit card, think about these easy fashion hacks. Here are a few fast and inexpensive ways to instantly update your wardrobe and still get the festive vibe going.
— Update the little black dress. Since the little black dress that many of us already have in our closet is what we tend to wear for just about every occasion, it can get predictable. But there are lots of ways to change up the iconic classic. Accessories are the obvious choice: a faux fur shrug, a statement necklace or pendant, a chunky cuff bracelet, a fabulous pair of heels or a distinctive jeweled clutch. Make those the focus of your evening ensemble, and no one will ever remember that "old" dress.
— Get a leg up. Everyone loves leggings, and even if you really feel like keeping those yoga pants on and sprinting over to the neighbor's open house, check yourself. Now there are lots of easy "pants" that are leggings all grown up. They are much more appropriate than the utilitarian gym clothes. In faux leather, sexy prints or velvet, leggings can party with the best of them. And, of course, always CYB (cover your butt) with long tunics or sweaters.
— Dress up basic separates. We all have those staples in our wardrobes that we wear to work and on the weekends, and they can easily be given some festive flair with a little thought. Those wool trousers you wear to the office? Team them with a colorful velvet blazer and silk blouse. That jean jacket you love to wear on the weekends? Pair it with a turtleneck and sparkly sequined skirt. Satiny pajama pants? Just add a one-shoulder cashmere sweater top.
— Wrap it up. This is a really easy hack. And it can have a huge impact on whatever you wear. French women have always been the masters of this trick. There are plenty of wonderful scarves available now to suit your every mood — from colorful cashmere to big, bold checks to shiny metallics. And, of course, don't forget the fuzzy fur neck wraps that add instant glamour.
— Dare to go bare. Sometimes, all it takes is to just take off your blouse. Depending on the cut of a jacket, you can definitely show a little skin (the operative word is "little") and fill in your neckline with a drapey collar necklace dripping with style. You can also show off a little shoulder or try a keyhole top. Or do the sheer thing with a lace blouse or dress that is covered up in all the right places.
— Borrow from his closet. The tuxedo jacket has long been a menswear favorite of famous celebrities who sport a more androgynous look on the red carpet that is both festive and classic. Scope out vintage shops for a one-of-a-kind dinner jacket or tux that you can adapt to your own eveningwear wardrobe. Make it feminine with a chiffon floral skirt.
— Layer, layer, layer. This is where you can get a little creative. If you haven't tried the short-over-long look, then experiment this holiday season. The vest is the perfect place to start. Wear a short furry one over a long tunic and leggings. Or do the opposite: A long vest over a festive metallic sweater and short skirt is another option.
— Mix — don't match — prints. This one hack may be the most fun ... but one of the hardest to put together. Wearing mismatched prints, however, is a big trend in fashion. So look at the clothes in your closet with new eyes, pull out that printed floral top you love, and see what else you can wear with it. Chances are you have prints that are in the same color family. You might be surprised at what pieces will work together for a fresh, unexpected outfit.
— Add sparkly accessories. Your everyday gold locket and hoops are not going to cut it when it comes to dressing for a party. Now is the time to go for all-out sparkle. You don't have to spend a lot to put on the glitz. But do shop for huge beaded cuffs, dangling crystal earrings and glittering shoes to spark the holiday spirit in anything you wear.
— Walk on the wild side. If you want to give yourself one fabulous holiday present, then a pair of incredible evening shoes is the place to look. Hopefully, you've experienced the joy of having that one pair of shoes that you feel is a work of art and want to keep on the shelf of your shoe closet forever. Start your collection now. Or at least tell Santa.
To find out more about Sharon Mosley, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.