Dressing for Christmas was quite different in Europe than in the United States. The biggest difference, you couldn’t buy these seasonal items year round in Germany. This post is about my first encounter with seasonal attire and features best Christmas outfits. Depending on where you live, and the individual State Laws, some of the events may not be possible. But given that the regulations for limiting the spread varies so widely, I covered all kinds of events on how to dress for these Christmas celebrations.
- My First Encounter with Christmas Clothes
- Sometimes Kitschy Can Be Great (Again)
- Wearing My First Christmas Jewelry
- Let the Season’s Spirit Inspire You
- Christmas Fashion over 40
- Can You Look Great in Cheap Seasonal Attire?
- Ageless Style outfit ideas for Christmas
- Family Christmas breakfast and church visit outfit
- Christmas Brunch
- Casual Christmas get-together with family and/or friends to watch Christmas movies
- Christmas dance outfit ideas
- Christmas Party
- More Christmas Outfit Ideas for Mature Women
- Top of the World Style Linkup No. 335
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.
My First Encounter with 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 during the holiday season.
“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.
Sometimes Kitschy Can Be Great (Again)
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). Britta (in her late twenties) was shocked!
Wearing My First Christmas Jewelry
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.
When we were packing to move to Alaska, I knew the brooch would no longer be a statement piece. Thus, I gave it to a colleague in East Germany prior to our coming to Alaska. She had adored it whenever I wore it. I bet she still replaces lost crystals today.
Christmas Fashion Over 40
Now what to wear as an ageless Christmas outfit to not look like a granny? Of course, there are some designer Christmas sweaters that are pieces of art. Not in the sense that they are so kitschy that they become 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 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!
Let the Season’s Spirit Inspire You
When you brainstorm about the holiday, red and green, plaid, black, white, red pop up in your mind. So why not going with the vibe? The photo below gives an example of how to twist this color theme. The look uses cherry red and teal, i.e. colors close to the traditional colors. Nevertheless, it shows the vibe, and good intend to go with the spirit.
Another twist is to try slightly off colors for example, teal or burgundy instead of green and red as shown in the photo below.
Plaid is a typical pattern for the season as well. Here are some outfit ideas for cute looks that you can easily create by shopping similar pieces from your closet.
Can You Look Great in Cheap Seasonal Attire?
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. Therefore, 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 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 😉 ).
Retro holiday dresses may be a great option to try. See my Voodoo Vixen holiday dress review.
Ageless Style Outfit Ideas for Christmas
In my style book, How to Dress for Success in Midlife, I point out that
What to wear always depends on the circumstances. #dress4Success Click To Tweet
To come up with a successful outfit you have to ask yourself a couple of questions:
- What are your plans?
- Are you the guest or hostess?
- Will you be indoors or outdoors?
- If outdoors, what is the weather likely to be?
- Where are you going?
- Does the place have a dress code?
- Was there a dress code in the invitation?
- With whom are you going?
- Who else will attend the party?
Depending on the answers to the above questions you will plan your outfit. This means there is not just one possible outfit for the holidays, but you can create a perfect one for the holiday situation you want to dress for. In the following, I will give you an idea of what to think about by four examples of dressing for Christmas.
Family Christmas Breakfast and Church Visit Outfit
For instance, if you are invited to a family reunion on Christmas at a family members’ house for breakfast and the plan is to go to church afterwards, you will dress classic with only one trendy item at most. You stay away from kitschy Christmas sweaters or trendy items as a lot of photos will end up in the family album. You don’t want to look like a fashion victim when the album comes up at a family reunion in a decade from now. What today was the It outfit, may be considered as one of the most stupid fashion trends ever.
The outfit also will have to be easy to clean when kids are around. They may have chocolate, grease, ketchup or whatever on their hands and face and hug you. This means go for a fabric that allows to wash out a spot with water and soap or some cleansing stick. The fabric should be fast drying. Dark is better than light as spots are less visible if they occur and can’t be fixed on the go.
Pro tip: Make sure you won’t out-dress the hostess. It is a question of good manners and courtesy.
Going to church afterwards asks for high cleavage for modesty, but also for insulation as it is often cold in churches. Furthermore, don’t forget to style your outerwear. Photos may be taken outside. The stairs of a church are a perfect stage for family photos. When you aren’t a fashion blogger, you probably will not pose for the photo in your “indoor look” at 20 below (-28.9oC).
When you go for a brunch on Christmas day, go with the dress code of the restaurant for their Sunday brunches. However, pick items in season-inspired colors like red, green, black and white. When wearing red, white and black in one outfit, make sure you don’t look like Ms. Santa Claus. 😉 Read fashion victim alert!
Casual Christmas Get-Together with Family and/or Friends to Watch Christmas Movies
Such an invitation is casual and asks for casual clothes with a bit of Christmas spirit. It also suggests that overeating may be involved. Thus, anything tight or body conscious is not a good idea. You will feel uncomfortable in the former and look pregnant on the photos in the latter case. Instead, go for leggings with a long loose sweater or or top and a scarf or statement necklace. A Fair Isle like sweater with snow flakes knit pattern can add holiday spirit as can the choice of the colors of your outfit. A nice plaid shirt or scarf in red, green and white are timeless casual options. Add cute flat shoes or booties. Jeans with a relaxed fit are an option too, but make sure they stay out of mommy jeans territory.
Again because many photos will be taken, and family members may look at them in later decades, stay in the posh, classic or glam casual territory. Avoid trendy items! Since at get-togethers, food spills are likely, make sure that you create your outfit from easy to clean items.
Christmas Dance Outfit Ideas
Again, best is to call for the dress-code when you never had been at the place. Otherwise, the usual dress-code styled up a notch is a good bet. When these options are not possible, pick a cocktail dress in red, emerald or black that has a wide skirt when the dance is at a bar in a hotel. Go for a fit-and-flare dress when the venue is at a more casual place like a sports bar, country bar or roadhouse.
What to wear to a Christmas party depends on who are the expected guests. You will have to stay within the work dress code at a holiday party at work. Sounds easy, right? But it gets pretty complicated when the party is in the ballroom at a hotel. You can find more on how to dress for a corporate holiday party, a family reunion, a Christmas family party and other holidays in my style book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. The best Christmas outfit is always the one that looks stylish and is appropriate for the occasion. Also when you want to avoid gaining weight during the holidays wearing something loose doesn’t work in your favor.
More Christmas Outfit Ideas for Mature Women
A couple of years ago, I found in the New Year’s 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 in January for marked down high end holiday season accessories or clothes if you are a real Christmas fan.
Another twist is to use just two of the holiday colors. Or dress with the spirit of the season. Go for a plaid dress, 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 “Christmassy” without looking messy (see examples with two holiday 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 posh look without holiday clothes.
Do you like Christmas fashion? Do you think women should wear these clothes over 40? Have you already made your plans what you will wear on the 25th of December? Let me know what you wear. I am curious.
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Top of the World Style Linkup No. 335
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