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

Plaid flannel 

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.

3 Frank & Eileen plaid flannels
These plaid flannel tops from Frank & Eileen are customer favorites. They have multiple plaids that just scream ‘holiday.’ Available HERE for $238. Image: Frank & Eileen

For a less expensive version, look to Lands’ End and LL Bean:

2 plaid flannel button down women's tops.
Both these flannel shirts are available in several colors. On the left, the red plaid shirt with the ruffled collar and sleeve is from Lands’ End and is available HERE for $54.95. On the right, the plaid shirt is from LL Bean and is available HERE, on sale, for $54.99. Images: LL Bean and Lands’ End

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.

two red puffer vests
The vest on the left has a removable faux fur collar and is available HERE for $149. The vest on the right gets high-performance marks, but it runs large, so size down. It’s available HERE for $59.95.

Festive scarf

Whether for gifts or for yourself, these scarves from Lands’ End can’t be beaten.

plaid scarf
A plaid scarf like this one adds instant holiday cheer to your outfits. This one is available at Lands’ End for $29.95. Image: Lands’ End

‘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.

Cashmere sweater 

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.

cashmere sweaters in camel, grey, and red
J Crew cashmere has been known for decades as a great value. They have v-necks, turtlenecks, crewnecks, and more. These are $128, available HERE, in many colors. Images: J Crew

Fun sweater

Beyond the basics, a fun sweater in a solid color can get lots of use over the holidays.

two holiday sweaters
Both these sweaters can find plenty of ways to be incorporated into your holiday dressing. The red sweater’s collar and sleeve detail make it stand out. It’s found HERE for $228 (and is available in black and ivory as well). The black cardigan has large crystal buttons. Wear this over a dress, with a skirt, dress pants, or jeans. It’s found here for just $128. Images: Tuckernuck

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.

red women's pantsuit and black velvet women's pantsuit
Both these suits are gorgeous. On the left, the red suit will give you options all year round, but this time of year, it makes for a phenomenal holiday outfit. By J McLaughlin, find the blazer HERE for $398 and find the pants HERE for $228. On the right, the black velvet pantsuit by DVF is a classic. The blazer is  HERE for $498, and the pants are  HERE for $258. (You’ll need to click the link for the black velvet blazer and scroll to see the video with details of this fabulous velvet black suit!).


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.

shoes for the holidays 2023
Here are some high-quality shoes that will make your holiday bright. While we pointed out a good deal for the cashmere on this list, we’re splurging on the shoes: Red shoes with a bow: Loeffler Randall for $375  HERE; clockwise, the black version of the red shoe is found HERE; a flat version with a box by Margeaux for $245 HERE; Stuart Weitzman classic slingback black heel with holiday sparkle – HERE for $495; wine velvet slingback by Larroude for $330 HERE.
5 pair of holiday shoes under $200
These shoes are all great for holiday, have high reviews, and are under $200: the olive green shoes by Sam Edelman have just over a 2″ heel and are found HERE for $142.95; the sparkly heels from Dolce Vita are gorgeous (we have them here in silver and black) with a 3″ heel are found HERE for $135; the navy feathered heel by Sam Edelman has almost a 4″ heel and is found HERE for $139.95; the bow at the 3″ heel black shoe by Badgley Mischka are found HERE for $198.

Silk Blouse

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.

3 silk blouses for holiday 2023
Three price points and three different styles — a silk top can instantly add polish to any outfit. The wine-colored short sleeve silk top, with many colors available, is $59.90 at Quince HERE; the long-sleeve silk blouse by Milano with silver buttons is one of our reader favorites and is found HERE in a variety of colors (many with gold buttons) for $275; the cowl neck short sleeve silk blouse by Vince is available HERE in two colors for $295.


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:

3 holiday clutches, one in black, two in golds, for 2023
These clutches will work for all of your holiday needs and are large enough to hold most phones! The black lacquered wicker clutch with bamboo trim is found at J McLaughlin HERE for $198; the gold shimmer party purse is at Tuckernuck HERE for $148; the gold bow clutch by Loeffler Randall is at Tuckernuck HERE for $250.

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.

3 holiday skirts for 2023
All of these skirts will last you years to come. Even the sequined silver one will become a mainstay and perhaps your signature piece! The black tulle midi skirt is $120 by Boden HERE; the long black skirt is $548 by Veronica Beard is HERE for $548; the silver sequined skirt is by Alice + Olivia HERE for $550.

Black Dress

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.

Five black dress options
Five LBDs to consider: The feather dress with sleeves is available HERE from Tuckernuck for $328 (a shorter version is also available HERE, in bright pink, for $295); the crepe strapless column dress is available from Banana Republic HERE for $100; spaghetti strap dress by Alice + Olivia found HERE for $660; sleeveless turtleneck midi dress by Reformation available HERE for $218; black cotton classic crew neck dress by Room 502 found HERE for $495.

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.

About the Author
Liza Graves

As CEO of StyleBlueprint, Liza also regularly writes for SB. Most of her writing is now found in the recipe archives as cooking is her stress relief!