I still have a long black skirt that I bought almost 25 years ago. I wore it to a Nashville gala when my oldest daughter was three months old — and I still had 40 pounds to lose (yes, 40). I splurged on it; I think it was about $350 in 1999. After nearly eight years and several wears, I had it altered to be midi-length and brought in the waist a bit. To this day, I wear this skirt at least once a year, sometimes twice, and it’s usually during the holiday season or at a wedding.
That, my friends, is quiet luxury — a timeless style that gives a sense of calm to your closet. You always have a fallback option for what to wear that you feel confident in. The cost for that skirt over these 25 years is about $10 per wear, and I plan to keep it in my closet for another 25 years.
Pieces that you can invest in for the long term or a style you know you will embrace for years to come — wardrobe extenders that give you peace of mind — are quiet luxury items.
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When it comes to holiday dressing, we often get caught in the cycle of buying new holiday outfits. And that can be fun — 100 percent FUN. But today’s article is about having key items (both casual and dressy) that allow you to always have something to wear so you can add new things each season if you want. But if you don’t find anything, you still have options and feel great with what you have on hand, shopping from your own closet.
When you start thinking this way, you can identify holes in your closet and feel empowered to buy that perfect piece found at a vintage store or your local boutique. It’s about realizing that investing in key pieces is far more valuable than buying several sub-par trendy pieces. Once you invest in your key pieces, add the fun pieces. Far too often, we are only purchasing those fun pieces and ignoring the holiday wardrobe workhorses we need so that we always have something to wear.
This is the philosophy lens we use today as we talk holiday outfits; I hope you are inspired to find items that will last you 10, 20, 30, and 40 years.
Casual Items for Holiday Outfits
There are certain plaids that we mentally brand as “holiday.” They come in dressy styles and casual styles. Plaids that you feel a little strange wearing in January but embrace mightily in November and December. Adding one or two of these to your wardrobe brings an instant holiday lift. And even if it’s a flannel shirt that you love and wear weekly during this time, that’s still not a lot of wear each season, which means it will hold up well over time, and you will continue to be excited to wear it once again next year and the year after and so on.
Frank & Eileen makes a wonderful flannel blouse. The same style comes in multiple fabrics and many colors, as it’s a customer favorite for its quality and cut.
For a less expensive version, look to Lands’ End and LL Bean:
Red puffer vest
These will get you beyond the holidays, yes, but if you invest in a red puffer vest, you’ll instantly feel a bit more festive in November and December. And you’ll likely end up wearing them near Valentine’s Day, too. When a chilly spring day comes along, and you find yourself at the soccer field or running errands, that same red looks great with a navy striped shirt for a classic spring outfit.
Wear it under your long coat on cold days or over a denim jacket or blazer on pretty darn chilly days.
Whether for gifts or for yourself, these scarves from Lands’ End can’t be beaten.
‘Bridge Items’ for Holiday Outfits
These pieces can be paired with several different items to make them dressier or more casual. They are options for both sides of your wardrobe and often work in overdrive.
It’s hard to beat the classic nature of a cashmere sweater. And they are so soft that you will always want to wear them! They take up very little room if you need to pack them in a suitcase, which is an added bonus, as many of us travel during the holidays.
While I love the idea of a red sweater during the holidays (or some other bright color), I also need to say that camel, white/ivory, grey, or black sweaters are your best friends. If you have one of these already, go for a color. But, if you don’t, make sure to get that goes-with-everything basic, as you can mix it in with all those other colors to make the other items shine. Plus, with a basic color, you can wear it over and over again, and no one will remember — they’ll just remember that you always look great.
Imagine one of these sweaters layered over the flannel blouse from above, with the red vest as the final layer, with one of those scarves? How festive are you? That look worked 10 years ago, and it will work 10 years from now, too.
Beyond the basics, a fun sweater in a solid color can get lots of use over the holidays.
Suit: blazer + pants = tons of versatility
Hear me out: if you buy a suit that works for the holidays, you have a complete outfit PLUS a great pair of pants and a festive blazer. Find a style you like, and this combo will give back to you for many years.
Take a casual outfit, add some fun shoes, and voila! An instant level-up. Find a pair you can wear with a cashmere sweater and jeans AND a full-on dressy outfit. Again, that’s quiet luxury — fewer items of better quality that enhance your life by providing multiple options.
Shoes below are split into two collages: the first is shoes from $245 to $495. The second collage showcases all shoes from $135 to $195.
A silk blouse is a must-have for every season, including the holidays. Hopefully, you already have one on hand. If not, this is the ONE piece in today’s line-up I most suggest purchasing.
You want a fancy holiday clutch that, just like the shoes, can elevate that jeans + sweater outfit AND work for a more formal event. Each of these clutches below does just that:
Dressy Items for Holiday Outfits
Lastly, we have those items that are dressy through and through. Not everyone needs these, but many love to go to dressy events during the holidays, including New Year’s Eve. If this is you, below are some suggestions to order or track down similar items at your local boutiques.
As this article began, a great skirt made for a dressy event can last you a very long time. The three below are items you, too, might reach for over the next few decades.
There is a reason the little black dress is the only color dress with an acronym everyone knows: LBD. The little black dress stands tall during the holidays. From a winter wedding to a dressy gala to a formal dinner, all these dresses score high points in a style that has worked for generations.
There you have it — your quiet luxury holiday wardrobe that will last you many years to come. Buy for quality and long-term style; your future self will thank you!
Want more classic fashion? Check out this article for 10 Classic Items for Your Fall 2023 Closet.