Holiday looks

Anything red, plus a faux fur jacket

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

Every year the same thing happens after Halloween - the holidays quickly roll into our lives and before we know it, we're singing "Auld Lang Syne" again.

For some, the dilemma of wondering if we should dress up for a holiday party lingers in the air. Should I wear a loose-fitting outfit? Will I look fat? Does red look good on me? Oh wait, were we invited to the party after all?

Holidays are a great excuse to dress up, really. If you think about it, the latest trend means topping a pair of jeans with a velvet or metallic blouse over high heel sandals with manicured toes. And that's not the true meaning of dressing up, is it?

Laura McDowell, fashion spokesperson for T.J. Maxx says "go for it" and dress to the nines. Sure, you can wear the jeans ensemble if you're headed to an informal dinner party but holiday fashion is another story.

"For a semi-formal affair, your dress doesn't have to be full length," she said. "A great party dress works, something with an empire waist or a halter dress."

True, a hot style for holiday fashion is the halter dress, but there are women out there who will have a problem with, shall we say, keeping it together. Then what?

"She can get a scoop neck with kimono sleeves," McDowell said. "The good thing about fashion is that there are so many options out there."

To no surprise, reds, greens and metallics are the way to go for holiday fashion. But we're also seeing blue and eggplant colors as well as the traditional black.

"There are ways to bring color to black. Add a red handbag, colored shawls, wraps or capelets," she said and added that capelets are "big" this holiday season.

Accessories are a major style this season, according to McDowell, with shoes and bags as the key way to update a wardrobe for the holiday party season.

Metallic clutches with metal frames add sophistication; high heels are perfect with pants; and ballet flats embellished with rosettes are stylish for the holidays.

For a more casual function, boots are another great option. Knee-high lace-up boots (my favorite), ankle stilettos or platform wedges are a few choices out there. Don't forget the textured tights.

Gold returns this year in jewelry for both casual and formal holiday outfits, McDowell said.

Of course, every season has to have a "must-have" list and we couldn't go through the next two months without one.

The "Five Most Fashionable Holiday Must-Haves" according to T.J. Maxx are: a festive dress in black, plaid or metallic; something, anything in red; a tunic top or longer sweater with kimono-style bell sleeves; a great metallic clutch purse; and a little fur (faux, please!) jacket, wrap or scarf.

Be wary, though, with your fashion choices. There's nothing worse than seeing too much skin, like thigh-high dresses or an over abundance of metallics - very tacky. Really.

Overall, dress up this holiday season!