Hunting and Gathering

All Dressed Up ….and EVERYWHERE To Go!

If there’s any season when casual America dresses up the most, it’s this holiday one. Whether it’s recession resentment, frugal fatigue or just lipstick luxury, we are a bit more willing to shop for a little something extra to make our spirits bright right now. And, it does seem this year, that there are more parties than ever, albeit trimmed and tight-budgeted. We just want to have FUN (remember that?)

And, it seems we want to do it in dresses. Every cheap and chic line and retailer is full of them. Some are terrific, but lots are not, and, as I’ve said before, the wrong bit of flash is trash, so don’t look like the store suckered you into something you shouldn’t even wish on your weird relatives you’ll have to put up with. Anyway – here are some knock-outs to festively close off the year most of us are glad to see go:

Mango has a  stunner of a cadet blue, white, silver and gunmetal striped

Mango's sequinned stunner

strapless sequinned dress that’ll look great from now through summer.  It’s chic, offbeat and festive in an unexpected way, and for $189.00, a style steal. For cold nights, add a beaded sweater – like a grey cashmere.

A very elegant take on New Year’s Eve is Mango’s draped jersey one shoulder black bustier dress that would be great on its own, but even more subtly sexy with an attached sheer black yoke that gives the dress an overall sheath shape.  It’s $99.00 and a great choice in this Michelle Obama-inspired age of understated glamour.

Mango's chic sheath

Next up is a stop at Club Monaco:  A great gold sequin tank dress makes a splash on it’s own (it’s short) or layered as a tunic over a black skirt, pants or leggings (even a turtleneck for very cold evenings).  It’s the perfect color gold and little else is needed in the way of accessories.  Sparkle your way into 2010.

Two very chic-simple options here at CM are the clear cerise red short sleeved silk tee dress that’s a great foil for a statement necklace or a bold stack of bangles with elbow length gloves for drama.  Another really terrific choice that’s not so obviously glam but has serious style is their midnight navy silk ruffled front  long sleeved dress.  Either one will signal you know your sartorial stuff.

But there’s a dress at Club Monaco will transport you out of your ordinary everyday look and into the New Year with one quick slip over the head.  It’s a charming cream pleated chiffon, sleeveless ruff-necked,  sashed full-skirted floaty dream of a dress that’ll appeal both to the romantic and the normally simple minimalist who wants a chic party look that’s different but not frilly-silly.  At $189.00, it’s got plenty of style miles from now into spring.

H&M has a black jersey gold-studded tank dress that’s just punky enough to carry the movement’s style signals, but not outlandish enough to get you noticed in the wrong way.  In the understated category, a YSL -inspired black silk long-sleeved smock dress makes you look totally glam to ring in 2010.

So, go grab one and look great!  Happy New Year!  Happy New Dress! Happy New You!!

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