In this Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, photo, shoppers stop to look at a display while shopping at Dadeland Mall, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

At the heart of the holidays is spending time with family and friends, but no one wants to look back on those pictures and say: “Was that a dress with sequins or a disco ball you put on to attend that Christmas party?” Here are some tips on how to avoid the wall of style-shame.

Comfort-chic or Comfort-eek:  Beautiful is the woman who can walk into any event with a sense of comfortable confidence. She is fully aware of what is acceptable to wear, while at the same time she knows ways to remain comfortable in her clothing choices. The best way to pull off comfort-chic is to pair timeless and easy to wear pieces.

For example, if you’re attending a holiday work party that is more business casual, look to pair pieces such as J.Crew’s technicolor tweed pants with an untraditional white collared shirt with buttons down one side versus the middle (think J.Park), tied in with nude patent leather shoes (lower heel if you find that more comfortable), and a color block clutch from Kate Spade

On the other side of the spectrum, it’s very easy to go too far with comfort-chic, and end up in comfort-eek! Choices like sweat pants and a loose t-shirt are definite eek-provokers. Yes, you may have been cooking all day, but that’s no excuse to look so unacceptable that your guests are nervous to eat what you serve. Build in time to pull yourself together the day of the event, and be sure to think ahead about how you will maintain acceptable levels of comfort throughout your event.

Oldie but goodie or just an oldie: So many times women make choices based on convenience.You wear the same red two piece jacket-skirt suit to every holiday function, no matter the year. 1991…ok, twenty years later…not so much! When deciding who you want to be this season, avoid settling for only what you can find in your closet, and instead ask yourself if what’s in your closet is the best you can do.

If you’re sporting the same black pants with blousy white top just because you know its “worked” the last five years, I’m afraid it’s not an ‘oldie but a goodie.’ It’s just an oldie! Remember that nothing drastic is required to spruce up that look. Take that red suit, break it up, and pair the red blazer with a pair of Theory grey dress pants and a black sequin tank.

The Epic Fail:  Unless who you want to be includes Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, or a life size version of a candy cane, avoid all holiday-themed attire as if your life depended on it! 

That means avoidance of all green and red sweaters with snow balls and neck ties with Santa Claus along the front. It’s one thing to dress up like Santa for the kids, it’s quite another to dress up like one of Santa’s helpers for general purpose.

Overall, the key to pulling off any fabulous look this holiday season is to simply put some thought into it.  Take time out to think about the looks that instill confidence in you, and then go out and make it happen.

Lauren Deloach is the owner of D&R Style Consulting and Category5. For details, go to or Email fashion questions to her at

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