Prologue on Christmas clothes
When I was a visiting graduate student at SUNY Albany, my friend Brita and I browsed downtown thrift stores during one of the New York summer thunderstorms. In one store, I saw a showcase with all kinds of Christmas jewelry. I had never seen Christmas jewelry before. Back then Christmas dressing in Germany was Sunday’s best. I even remembered my late mom once being very upset about my wearing a small Christmas bulb as an earring in high school.
“Who on Earth would wear that?” I mumbled. Brita explained that after Thanksgiving, old women would wear Christmas sweaters, Christmas jewelry, Christmas everything. As a twenty something, I found the idea outrageous.
However, in my opinion, the jewelry was so kitschy that it was already great again, like a piece of art. It seemed new, and hence, young and hip to me back then. Thus, I bought a tiny gold colored kitschy Christmas-tree brooch with big fake crystals as Christmas balls for $2 (at that time 4 DM).
I wore that kitschy brooch on my coat during the Christmas seasons all during my tenure in graduate school as a joke sort of. Wearing it back then in Germany was so cool as nobody else was wearing something like that. It was sort of a statement piece in a world without Christmas clothes. The brooch lost some crystals, I replaced them and kept wearing the brooch.
As I knew the brooch would no longer be a statement piece in the US, I gave it to a colleague in East Germany prior to our moving to Alaska. She had adored it whenever I wore it. I bet she still replaces lost crystals today.
Christmas fashion over 40
What to wear for Christmas to not look like a granny? Of course there are some designer Christmas sweaters that are pieces of art and not in the sense that they are so kitschy that it becomes art. They are statement pieces in a world of Christmas sweaters. However, which fashionista on a budget, and most people on Earth are on a budget, can afford them? No budget fashionista over 40 in her best mind would spend a paycheck on a designer item that she can only wear about one or two times a year in a window of a month!
Cheap Christmas clothes often look like what they are: Cheap. Looking cheap, however, is an aging, not an ageless style. Any midlife women would look like her own mother in cheap Christmas sweaters or whatever. Thus, unless you want to look like the cute funny granny, and there is nothing wrong with doing this for the amusement of the own grand kids, you should avoid them like the plague. In other words, if you like them, wear them at the family Christmas party and on weekends, but not at the office or anywhere in public. Just imagine the embarrassment when you run into your boss wearing an ugly Christmas sweater! ^^’
If you want to go for the cute granny look, make sure the look of the item is so genius-kitschy that it is cute again. For example think of the Rudolph sweater with the lighted red nose that Carrie presented at Curly Crafty Mom in her post on ugly Christmas sweaters. Be aware that such sweaters identify everyone over 12 either as a mother or grandmother. Teenager won’t wear that mommy stuff. It’s not cool! They go for a Santa Claus bra (under a white shirt of cause so everybody knows 😉 ).
A couple of years ago, I found in the after Christmas sale a high quality pure silk Christmas scarf for less than $20. I styled a LBD up with this scarf for various Christmas parties. Thus, check the sales after Christmas for marked down high end Christmas accessories or clothes if you are a real Christmas fan.
If not, you can still dress with the spirit of the season. Go for a plaid dress (see Example plaid), a plaid skirt or blazer. A black-white hound tooth blazer with a black skirt and red sweater pick up Santa Claus’ colors (see examples Santa’s colors for inspiration). However, avoid to look like Mrs. Claus 😉 . A red skirt or pair of pants with a green sweater or vice versa also look very “christmasy” without looking messy (see examples two Christmas colors). What about red and white? Break the old-fashioned rule not to wear white after Labor Day. White after Labor Day is so modern, fashion-forward and perfect for a Christmas look without holiday clothes.
Example Santa’s colors 1: Black fit-and-flare leather dress, black and white striped sweater, and polka dot red-white-black scarf
Example Santa’s colors 2: Black leather motorcycle vest, red pants and white sweater
Example: Santa’s colors with red skirt, white sweater, black motorcycle jacket and booties Example Santa’s colors 4: Red skirt, white top, black vest
You even do not need the right Christmas green and red. Adjacent colors still will do the trick (see first and second photo in this post, and example off colors).
Do you like Christmas fashion? Do you think women should wear Christmas fashion over 40? Have you already made your plans what you will wear on the 25th? Let me know what you wear. I am curious.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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