What to Wear

Once again, one of Tom’s most trusted female friends is here to offer some advice, this time on what to wear to that holiday party.

“What to wear?” Isn’t that always the question in the rush of planning your outfit for a holiday party? No? Well, if it isn’t, it should be. Women are probably the most stressed yet the best prepared for what to wear; men tend to….wait, put off or procrastinate in the face of such decisions. Whether well-planned, or at the last minute, both face the challenge of trying to be neither underdressed nor overdressed. We girls often use our peer groups as sounding boards for ideas, “no no’s” and critiques.

The professionals of Tom James agree that it’s far better to be overdressed than underdressed. “People tend to dress up during the holidays and you should, too.” Consider the quiet confidence (not to mention the sublime luxury) of a cashmere sport coat and scarf, plaid or houndstooth slacks, winter white and anything black, timeless and classic. TJ women love winter white suits, Holland and Sherry cashmere scarves and plaid slacks or black skirts. Faux fur has made its way back into our wardrobes – on jacket lapels, as vests, and shawls.

Ladies, it’s time to pull out your tights and knee high boots to wear with your skirts and faux fur jackets!! Gentlemen, if you are in a pinch, black cashmere jackets are a safe staple piece. You can remove your jacket if you are overdressed or insert a pocket square if you need a little extra holiday pizzazz. If it says business casual, this means a sport coat or blazer but a tie is not necessary. When the invitation says semiformal, translate: suit and tie.

Still, your outfit is not complete without shoes and accessories. Plan this carefully. And please tell me that this part of the outfit does not include ties that sing Christmas songs and light up like the tree in Time Square, obnoxious Christmas jewelry, or a tacky holiday sweater…. unless it is ENTIRELY clear and noted in the invitation that you are to somehow emulate the look of Clark W. Griswold in Christmas Vacation. Let’s stay clear of that and join the other well dressed attendees so that we are not the entertainment of the party.


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