With all these premature holiday collection ads, I’ve been thinking about an off the shoulder gold Vince sweater. I wore it on New Year’s Eve for all of eight hours. It reflected bright obnoxious blasts of yellow and gold. If I were in some sort of a Die Hard holiday party scenario, the rescue team would find me instantly. By midnight, the delicate threads were already unraveling, and I had somehow scammed Scoop into giving me a store credit I blew on a shimmery gold clutch, which I hardly remember exists. But now, with the holiday parties looming, the glittery things are on my mind.
This is how it goes every year, when you only wear your showy stunners a few times at best. Everyone seems to follow this personal code: sequins are reserved for holiday parties only. Because even people who look like they raided Liberaci’s garage sale at a party don’t wear their sequined frocks on non-occasions. These clothes vanish from your memory. For me, they get stashed somewhere in the neglected depths of my closet.
Like Die Hard, egg nog, and other people’s needs, a silvery sequined dress is something you typically only see during the holidays. Even if it’s not the holidays, it’s a party because disco wear is the celebration uniform. That’s how it’s permanently inked in the public consciousness and me and that misses the point in thinking sequins, metallics, and shiny things are pretty, and they can enhance your mood year-round.
But pigeonholing holiday dresses — actually snazzy things you really like, but wear three times — is something everyone should be reconsidering. Do you want to blow money on stuff with such a short shelf life? Do you want to wear chunky grey knits like everyone else all the time? You may be thinking, “What do I care? I can just get something from Forever 21 and go back to dressing normal.” But you would be wrong, because you like shiny sparkles, and you’re not wearing them enough. Think of Mischa Barton as an example of what can happen when you don’t give something you love enough attention.
As the holiday shopping rolls in, start computing the value of a gaudy purple, green, and gold number. It would jazz up your days in January when there aren’t any holiday lights and the snow just looks like it’s covered in toxic waste. I would recommend that you wear your favorite sequined dress proudly any old day, even if it’s with black stockings, a scarf and a beanie. Because “appropriate” is a silly word made up by people who really need more glitter in their lives, I encourage people to see how versatile sparkly things can be. Why not wear a shiny blouse, a headband, or even an embellished camisole underneath something boring? As a nosy person who loves checking out what people wear, I’d love to see sparkle embraced as routinely as a wrap sweater. Are my odds of making that happen strong?
Not really. Everything that glitters on runways and red carpets won’t advance my case because designers dress models and celebrities who wear dramatic beaded minis go to parties where it’s appropriate to dress like a present.
Alice & Olivia and Haute Hippie are brands that do glamour on a smaller, more everyday-ish scale, but when looking cool and comfortable is the thing, it’s a hard sell. A huge obstacle to this is the embarrassing feeling that you look like a butterball dipped in a bedazzler kit. Rescuing our finery from their 4-party pigeonhole would mean getting compliments, attention, and maybe some “whoa” comments from friends. But is that so bad?
There’s no reason why you can’t wear your holiday party dresses more than you do. The holidays can gut me. There are the relatives I don’t relate to, and the disposable income I invest in pretending my life is a winter wonderland. The season is over in the time it takes for mascara to get weird on you. But if you hold onto your dazzlers, it’s more fun. Part of the pleasure of a party dress is that it makes you more social and attracts positive attention. That’s why we need to broaden our idea of these showstoppers and treat them like real clothes.
As an added bonus, rescue teams will always be able to spot you.