This week, a friend of mine from college interviewed me for Gap’s blog about my style and how I would transition a work outfit into something I’d wear to a holiday party. With Gap’s permission, I’m reprinting the interview and the before and after photos here. Enjoy! — Amelia
Party season is in full gear! Are you ready? If not, you’re in luck. To help you (and us!) we asked for a little style advice from Amelia McDonell-Parry, editor of The Frisky—a girly yet gritty blogesque site that dishes out witty commentary on everything from provocative politics to saucy celebs. Read on for some of Amelia’s tips on how to pump up the volume straight from the office. Workaholics shouldn’t have to miss the party (work hard play hard, right girls?).
Layer! Rather than carry a whole new change of clothes to the office, I’ll start my outfit with whatever my key party piece is—a dress or a fun tank—and then layer over pieces that either cover them completely or make them more office appropriate. I can wear a kind of skimpy, skin-baring tank to work, but you’d never know it because a blazer and scarf cover up my bare skin. Oh, and if it isn’t that cold out and I’m wearing a dress, I’ll ditch the tights.
When it comes to accessories, do you have a statement piece or two that really crank up the “wow” factor in an otherwise office-appropriate outfit?
I definitely add MORE jewelry when I’m going from the office to a party. At work, I’ll wear a simple bracelet or necklace, but I won’t usually do both. And while I do tend to follow that old Coco Chanel tip of taking one thing off before you leave the house, I go the opposite direction when I’m going out. I’ll layer some necklaces with mixed metals or add a big cocktail ring. Oh and if I wore comfortable boots to work, I’ll stash those in my desk and put on a pair of tall heels. Heels take any outfit up a notch—literally.
In relation to “sprucing up” for an after work engagement what beauty products (if any) do you stock at your desk?
My makeup has definitely worn off by the end of the day, so I’ll reapply whatever I had on to begin with. I don’t feel like myself without bronzer and pink cheeks. But I’ll also amp up the eye makeup by putting on more eyeliner or doing a smokier eye. And I very, very, very rarely wear lipstick to work, but if I’m going out, a red lip goes on. I just got this amazing sheer wine stain-colored lipstick from Charlotte Ronson that I’m kind of obsessed with. I feel glam with it on.
Any big “dos or don’ts” on The Frisky’s radar for holiday dressing?
I try to avoid policing people too much about their style, but I would advise dressing for the occasion. There’s nothing more awkward than being the most overdressed or underdressed person in the room. Also, I don’t care how fancy the occasion; wear something you feel comfortable in. Something where YOU feel you look awesome. Dressing like a fancier version of yourself for a party is the number one style tip I’ve got. If you’re fidgeting with a blouse that you’re not sure if you like all night, you won’t have any fun and isn’t that the whole point?
Your favorite Gap holiday item/look?
I think I need to run out and buy the metallic blouse because, to me, it’s the perfect item to dress up or down. It could very easily be business-like with slacks or a pencil skirt, casual with jeans and motorcycle boots, or party-perfect with high heels and a major pair of earrings. Also, I am really pumped, heh, about these suede bow pumps. I love a nice round toe, but I have to say, I’m really excited about the return of the pointy toe! And the bow on the back is so fun.
What’s your favorite holiday pastime or tradition?
This is kind of strange because I don’t consider myself to be a particularly nostalgic person, but I LOVE Christmas music. Like, I love it to the point where I listen to it year round. I mean, not often—it’s not something I listen to daily —but it’s not unheard of for me to put on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” in the dead of summer. So my favorite thing about the holidays is that I get to listen to Christmas music more often, both on my own dorky time, and when I’m out and about because it’s playing in every store for all of December. I love that so many cool, modern bands are putting out Christmas music. She & Him’s cover of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is kind of amazing.
Day Outfit: Lush dress; J. Crew cardigan and tights; Madewell scarf and boots.
Night Outfit: Lush dress; J. Crew chain bracelet; Madewell cuff bracelet; earring from a street vendor; J. Crew tights and heels; Lauren Merkin clutch.