Holiday Dressing for The Casual Woman

Look through any magazine’s holiday issue and you will read articles about how to dress your festively best from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve.


Harper’s Bazaar likes Perfection!  I don’t.

A great number of the clothing in ads and editorials are ridiculously expensive. They are also extremely sparkly and rather overdone.


This look from the ’60’s is way too blingy for me. All that shiny stuff would reflect the fuzz on my face and I would be tweezing lady whiskers all night!   What a sign of the times! Look to the left–how far can the Russian look go?  Well, now that our president-elect is going to be partying with Putin….


..I would say this will be a popular look by next Christmas!!

Don’t get me wrong.  I think dressing up for the occasion is fine and befitting.  But not all of us are sparkle girls, bling ladies or shiny women.


As much as I love Scarlett, her look is too much for me. Maybe if I didn’t have turkey neck I might wear this..and maybe if my waist was 18 inches I might wear it…

Many of us are happy to be dressed in skirts, dresses and pretty clothing that evoke the holiday spirit. But we are just more comfortable dressed in a less blingy way. Many of us are a bit on the casual side.

I am one of the casual ladies.

Since I was a child, my mother always dressed my siblings and me in great holiday clothing.  Red. Plaids. Organdy dresses (is organdy even around anymore?). Black patent leather shoes.  The whole shebang.

This could be why I love the color red so much.  My mother always made sure we were dressed to the nines on Christmas!  And the reason I’m standing is that the crinolines under the dress preventing me from sitting down!

I’ll admit—when I was young and single and living in Manhattan.  Wait.  Actually when I was young and single and living in Manhattan, I couldn’t even afford the fancy holiday dress because I had to pay my New York City rent!

And so, I’ve always taken a pretty pragmatic look at Holiday Dressing.

Some of my rules:

  1. Don’t buy clothing specifically for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve. Wear what you have but just fancy it up a bit.
  2. Don’t wear boots to any Holiday Soiree or Party. Pretty shoes will always make an outfit look dressier.
  3. WEAR THE CORRECT UNDERGARMENTS!! You don’t need Spanx either. Dear God. Spanx are the single most uncomfortable undergarment on the face of the earth!  You sit down and the top rolls down. How can you possible enjoy eating or drinking if you are trussed like a turkey?
  4. Wear a good but comfortable pair of panties that’ll suck the tummy in without causing internal damage.
  5. And the bra.  You’ll see what I’m talking about further in the post.  You do not want to wear a n overpadded bra. Padding and pushup are great—but don’t overdo it.
  6. If you are going bare-legged, get a spray tan or a self-tanner. Nothing says unattractive than white-blue legs during the winter.

Anyway, enough about my rules.  I want to show you some of my Holiday/Christmas looks that I’ll be wearing this Christmas season.   I’ll  be wearing these looks either to work or shopping because since moving to the Philadelphia suburbs I have no friends. I never get invited anywhere.  But—my lack of social life doesn’t stop me from being delusional. I can pretend that Ina and Jeffrey have invited Bonaparte and me over for cocktails and dinner.

Grab a seat in my room. Hey. Watch out for the pile of clothing and shoes. I still have to tidy up.

And it doesn’t matter if you are over 50, 60 or 70. You can wear a short skirt. Just wear tights!


These are the shoes I’ll be wearing between now and Christmas. (I carry my Weejuns with me just in case my feet give out).  A red clutch and a silver clutch will suffice.  Not oe of these pairs of shoes are new.  


Here’s the first look. This is a great look for going out to dinner or to a party where you will be eating lots of food.  The pants are J. Crew pixie pants and there’s lots of stretch to expand the tummy as you eat.  The shirt is a silk button down and is unbuttoned down to show some cleavage.  I love the Chanel-inspired jacket.  I’ve had it for years and haven’t worn it yet.  The shoes are rockin’….


…but if you chose to wear open-toe shoes, PLEASE get a pedicure. I need one. Desperately. I’ll go this weekend. My “Holiday” pedicure should get me through the rest of the winter.


As much as I love this look, it is NOT a Holiday look.  It’s too bland. I will save this look for January when all is dull.


See what I mean about the bra?  It’s obvious I’m not wearing my French bra. I’m wearing a super-padded bra from Victoria’s Secret.  Let me introduce myself to you “I’m Ton-Tittied-Tessie, nice to meet ya!”


I wore this last Christmas. And the Christmas before.  In fact, this outfit has now become a Christmas tradition.  I love the skirt so much and with tights, I can bend down to pick up all the stuff that falls on the floor with no problem. I also love the clean line of the pointy toed shoes with the tights.


Another festive look for the casual woman!  I’ve worn this to work with a black sweater but I think a red sweater gives it a very nice holiday look..


Same outfit, different look. Red shoes. Trust me if you do this, tan the legs.  I’m debating going to get sprayed a couple of days before Christmas!


For something a bit more fun and festive, I like this necklace made of big fake pearls.  I also give my hoops a rest this time of year and wear little pearl studs. They are more ladyish!


It isn’t red. It isn’t green. It’s plaid!  My rules–I’m wearing this during the Holiday season! In fact, I’m wearing this to work tomorrow.  This skirt by SportKilt is the cutest ever! It’s so comfy too. Another great outfit to wear if you plan on eating because you can adjust the waist–it’s velcro. Perfect for all the cookies and cocktails you will be enjoying!


I can’t help it. I love this skirt so much. Oh look! I DO have red–on my nails!


Another no-no.  Separately, the pants and the blazer are great. Together, they just look clownish. The red shoes are too much with this.


The pants look much better and still remain festive with burgundy heels and a green sweater.


The blazer looks MUCH better when worn with jeans. I’m still on the fence about the red shoes though.


A very casual look. Maybe I’ll wear this to the movies.  Jeans. A plaid shirt. Schoolboy blazer and festive red shoes..


Another casual look. I think I like the blue heels better.  Oh–and another thing. You may want to size up if you wear a more fitted sweater with a shirt.  I think this sweater may be a bit too tight for comfort when worn over this plaid shirt..


Don’t forget to be careful–especially if you wear fake hair. My “hair” *cough* got caught on my necklace and I had to cut it off. Thank God it wasn’t my real hair!

This is my FAVORITE Holiday Casual, casual look! Silver metallic shoes, a silver clutch, ripped AG jeans, a cotton shell that is probably ten years old and a chanel-inspired jacket. The hair is new. Bobbi Boss’ Copper wig.  I miss being able to wear my hair in a bob and this long bob is epic. I’m wearing this to work on Friday for Jeans Friday!  


Here’s a better view of the texture of the jacket. I got it at Nordstrom Rack years ago–I think I paid nineteen bucks but was too heavy to wear it. I can wear it now! 

That’s about it.  As you can see, I don’t really get into any special holiday dressing. I stick to what I have.  And to tell you the truth, on Christmas Day we won’t even get dressed until dinner is prepared!  It’s Old Navy pajama bottoms and sweaters most of the day.  We all love to be comfy and cozy.

And just as the gifts are wrapped, I’ll be wrapped too, in my Christmas Wrapping of clothes..

What an appropriate song for today! Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses–one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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15 Responses to Holiday Dressing for The Casual Woman

  1. Great post, as usual, Catherine. Love the pics of when you were little. So cute! I’m loving what you did with these clothing pieces. I am a more casual dresser by nature as well, so I like that you took more casual pieces that you already own – my favorite way to create an outfit – and combine them to make these great holiday looks. I love the green sweater with the plaid pants and burgundy shoes…very cute. Love the last look as well. The silver accessories are perfect to give it that holiday touch. Great ideas, Catherine. Thanks for posting. – Amy

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Amy! Glad you enjoyed the looks. Yeah. I try to be really pragmatic with Holiday dressing because we spend entirely too much money on gifts, the preparation and everything else. I can’t see spending a fortune on clothing that’ll be worn once. I have to say, your two favorite looks happen to me mine too!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  2. Momcat says:

    Yeah, I think the days of the velvet,taffeta & sequin outfits are over for Christmas. Unless you’re the Queen. Sometimes all an outfit needs is a great red lipstick, heels or a sparkly pair of earrings.
    Once I had Thing One and Thing Two I was too busy playing with the new toys to be bothered..As well I.spent many Christmases on call or working ( taffeta, sequins and velvet not usual hospital gear..) Now I find our family/friend get togethers are more about the food and having fun and ‘old people talk’ as the second thingy calls it….
    We pull it together for Christmas dinner but no tuxes or ball gowns…..
    Your outfits have given me some inspiration and you look fab…I nearly peed myself when I saw the wig caught…it took me a minute or two to figure out what was going on!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hahahaha!! Momcat! I’ll be you thought I needed a strong bikini wax when you saw the placement of that wig!! But it’s so funny. I happened to ask the kids if they thought it would be “cool” to “dress up” for Christmas–a la “Man Men”. Each one of them said “No”. We definitely are a Christmas casual family. God, I remember old family parties from the 1960’s when my uncles all wore suite and my aunts and my mom dressed to the nines. I’m glad things are more casual these days!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  3. You’re looking just wonderful, Catherine. And those mini-skirts are divine with your really stunning legs. Yes, I don’t know about the States but here in the U.K. Christmas Day is a marathon cook-othon and those stupid articles with women all dressed up in sequins and satin are beyond parody. I’m a really messy cook and have to wear my oldest clothes for all that turkey cooking. Then maybe at the last minute I’ll get into something slightly sparkly but up till then it’s jeans and a T-shirt! Have a lovely time and know that your outfits are ace! xxx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Penny! Oh. Christmas Eve. Christmas Day–and the week leading up to Christmas are all food marathon days here. I’m going to bake biscotti a bit later and tomorrow I’ll start my salmon rillettes and then do pork ones. There is a strong possibility that I could be in competition with you for the messiest cook award. I ALWAYS dress in crappy clothing when cooking–even with an apron!! Thanks again!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  4. julietC says:

    I love your outfits and I am with you on the causal glamour thing – well in my case more casual than glamour, what can I say I don’t get out much (except for work or grocery shopping such is my exciting life). As for that mad looking creature covered in what looks like bacofoil, she is rocking that oven-ready look in a way that I can’t even begin to wish I could. Seriously a little bling now and then in moderation is fine – I have a beloved jersey that is dark charcoal with just the tiniest hint of sparkle through it, I’ll be wearing it dressed down with some boyfriend jeans and my beloved Di Paolo Doc Martens (mainly because I have also noticed a few things in our tiny garden need attending to and this is good digging/hacking/walloping at stuff attire), actually the sparkle jersey has seen better days so it might be time to invest up in something a little less shabby-chic (shabby) which might go with my other beloved Doc Martens (midnight blue velvet Doc Martens in case you ask), the daughter will be delighted I have made the effort but appalled at the shoes… Actually I am a scruff, there I admit it. I sort of tidy myself up for the office-ish but I could smarten up a bit, that could be the thing for 2017.

    However, your other point about being out in the burbs with no socialising going on got me thinking – why don’t we all have a virtual dinner party? As a Kiwi I can bring pavlova (Aussies claim they invented it – they so didn’t!) and copious amounts of some seriously excellent Scottish gin to kick the party off, I’ll look out some dancing music but peel those floor rugs back missus as I’m coming (virtually – lucky for you)

    • Catherine says:

      Juliet. I am diggin’ the suggestion of a virtual dinner party. I have to put my thinking cap on but I think an apre Christmas dinner would be perfect for that dull time after Christmas!!! Hey. I’m a shabby chic person and I love Doc Maartens!!! You rock!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  5. jilly says:

    Oh Katherine, I love you and I look forward so much to your blog but please, PLEASE, enough with the pixie pants and ‘any age can wear a short skirt’and ‘spray tan your legs’ stuff. Darling NO we can’t ! You are falling into the usual ‘fashionista’ trap. A lot of women, of whom i am one have (gasp) fat legs !
    since i was about 50 my Irish peasant legs are like tree trunks and there is no way I would reveal then to the world ! Straight pants or jeans or floor sweeping skirts with boots are my only option and even pointy shoes are out the window as they narrow down too much and emphasize the thickness above. this is an hereditary thing, my Mother had these legs but all my sisters don’t, I’m the lucky one 🙁
    Every ‘fashion ‘ article I read fails to to address the ‘not good legs’ problem, assuming that any age can wear a dress or skirt, believe me we can’t and it’s really alienating to have this ignored. I can’t surely be the only one ?
    I’ve been a jeans and a top girl all my life and now it’s not a choice it’s a necessity.

    • Trice says:

      Jilly – I know exactly how you feel although I only have one thick tree trunk leg due to knee replacement and one not so thick. Imagine that look in a short skirt.

      Whatever happened to graceful below the knee skirts? Nowadays you see girls in skirts and the view is only something their gyn should be seeing. Don’t they get cold?


  6. jilly says:

    Just read thro my grouchy , grinchy , Scroogy post above and I’m here to apologise for introducing a negative note to all the above, sorry, sorry ! I guess i need to start a blog myself for women who just can’t wear anything that reveals their treetrunks but still looks good. Thing is that totally covering legs tend to lead to an ‘ageing hippie ‘ vibe that is just not a good look. You look wonderful in your outfits Katherine and I know you aren’t saying we should wear those styles , your weight loss is so inspiring and I wish you and B. and family lovely Christmas together.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jilly! First of all you don’t have to apologize. All comments whether you like a post or disagree with one are welcomed here! And you bring up some good points! Secondly, I kind of feel the need to explain myself a bit because I don’t consider myself a fashionista–I’m too practical. A true fashionista goes with every expensive trend and lives the sort of fashionable smoke and mirrors life. I’m not like that. I’ve lost a home. I lost everything overnight and had to make do with nothing. I’ve suffered weight gain and hair loss due to lots of stress but always had a positive outlook–because things always work out. Regardless, I don’t buy clothing at full price and only scout out sales. All the clothing in those photos are clothes that I’ve had from years of my normal weight to wearing the skirts halfway zipped during my beefier times. I’m only showing how I like to wear items. That’s about it. Seriously. Don’t apologize. You are a friend and you told me how you felt–and that’s a great thing!!! Hugs!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  7. Trice says:

    Catherine – I was in KOP and thought about you when I saw the Got Kilt store in the mall! As for socializing let me know when you are up for a lunch. I live in Bensalem but work in Malvern. Easy to meet at KOP!


  8. doodletllc says:

    I fancy myself a glitz and glamour girl but shoot…who am I kidding. After worky clothes all week…boring law firm stuff…I just want to do jeans and snuggly waffle/thermal tees at night and on the weekends. But it’s all good. Pairing velvet tops with jeans works too – it is really all just cotton. Love your looks. Inspiring for sure…still in love with the toe cleavage pumps – that will ramp up any look. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jeanne! It is so true. When I get home from work it’s a tee shirt, sweatshirt and pj bottoms. I’m wearing that now! You know–I like the idea of a velvet top with jeans! Yu just inspired me. Oh–the shoes with toe cleavage–I’m so glad we are kindred spirits with that!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

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