Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | December 7, 2007

For The Women: Dressing for the Holidays

In keeping with this month’s Holiday theme, I’m recapping Vivendi Fashionista’s Style Salon from November 30th.  Every other month or so, I hold Style Salons which are open to the public.   These are events where clients and friends connect for style inspiration, learn more about fashion and fashionable lifestyle, and create rewarding personal and business relationships.  I make an effort to feature Vivendi Fashionista partners, so for instance, the most recent Style Salon featured Theory,   We also had some amazing participating sponsors including:  Jamah Handbags and Borba Skin Care,  Additionally, we raised money for the National Brain Tumor Foundation,  It’s always such a blast to mix friends, fashion and philanthropy!  Here are some photos from the event.  Vivendi Fashionista Style Salon Featuring TheoryVivendi Fashionista Style Salon Featuring Theory

    vf-ss-theory-event.jpg   vf-ss-theory.jpg   vf-ss-theory-fashionistas.jpg

The theme for this particular Style Salon was “Dressing for the Holidays”.  The inspiration came to me when a client called in a panic to ask what she was going to do because she had three Holiday parties to attend in one night and no time to get home to change.  Two parties were for business and one was a friend’s party.    So I developed this Style Salon with the purpose of providing women with a few helpful hints on how to do address this dilemma.  i.e. how do you take a business look into a business Holiday party look and then into a personal Holiday party look?

The secret is “keep it simple.”  Start with considering the type of work environment you work in and your audience at the business Holiday party.  Follow the general guidelines of appropriate work attire for your corporate look.  If you work in a more creative environment such as an ad agency, again, just follow the tone of your office fashion.  And for God’s sake if image and success is important to you, don’t emulate those people in your industry who seem to get a lot of negative attention.  Look to the people that inspire your ambition and see what it is about their style that seems to work.  Mind you, there are plenty of successful people who have tremendously bad fashion sense (please send them to me).  Don’t emulate their clothing but certainly study their approach to your business and their communication styles.  If you don’t have a good fashion plate to emulate…call me and we’ll make sure you are on track.

Okay, so some ideas for you to consider.  If you really don’t like to fuss with your clothing and you are way too hyper (like me) to deal with much changing of the look, start with a tailored dress in fabrics that will transition easily from day to night.   Then pair that with a matching jacket so that you’ve a suit look.   You can also pair it with a jacket that matches in terms of color but not in fabric for a less formal look. 

This is the outfit that I modeled for my business look.  This is a Theory dress (all clothing on the models are Theory clothes) paired with a matching suit jacket.  Note that the hemline is a  tad shorter than I would typically recommend for most corporate environments.  Depending on your physique, stick to a hemline at mid-knee cap or just below the knee cap.  I for instance would not visit a client at a Law Firm or Invest Bank in this outfit.

Viviana M. Rueda in Theory Dress & Matching Jacket

For the business Holiday party all you do is take off the matching jacket and put on a longer, more chic over-coat and perhaps add an elegant wrap or scarf, depending on the weather.  Change out of your work appropriate shoes into some open-toe shoes and you are good to go.  Stay away from dangly, overly large or really shiny jewelry for the business party.  You are still at a corporate event and let me tell you…some of the biggest fashion faux pas happen at these parties.  Don’t be a Fashion Disaster.  

You may not want to wear strappy sandals to a work event.  Unless you are going black tie with an evening gown, you probably want to relegate your shoes to something more conservative.  Again, the caveat is that if you work in a more creative environment then you have more leeway but easy does it there too.  Unless you are going to beach bonfire party for your business Holiday party don’t go too casual.  It is always better to be slightly over-dressed than under-dressed.  

Here we’ve two examples of appropriate business Holiday looks.  For my oufit, I’ve just taken off my suit jacket.  I would probably add some more striking jewelry that would still be considered conservative such as large pearls.  For my other model, Shanna Rosen, we’ve taken off her suit jacket that she paired with her pencil skirt (which by the way, you must have at least one pencil skirt in your wardrobe) and added a brightly colored capelet to pop some color.  Although you can’t see them here she also added some open-toe shoes and some evening-appropriate jewelry.

vf-ss-business-holiday-look.jpg  vf-ss-shanna-rosen-busines-holiday-look.jpg

For your personal Holiday party change into some strappy sandals, or edgy long boots, add some flashy jewelry and play around a little bit with your makeup. 

In terms of your makeup, you want to keep your makeup pretty conservative for both your business look and Holiday business party look.  The key is to look polished and sophisticated.  You want to wear makeup but not appear to be wearing much of it.  For your personal party, try some heavier eyeliner or play with some fun colors, like moss green.  Remember to choose one or the other, the eyes or the lips, to make more prominent.  You do both and you’ll look like you’re straight out of a Robert Palmer video from the 80’s. 

Another idea to make the look more chic is adding some accessories such as a belt around the hips, or depending on the cut of your dress, cinched around your waist to give you an hourglass silhouette.  For instance, for Shanna’s personal Holiday look we untucked her satin shirt (which by the way is a GREAT option to go from Day to Night attire), and took the skinny belt from her business jacket and cinched it around her waist.  Then we added a striking necklace and strappy sandals.


Essentially you can achieve three different looks with one or two changes of shoes, removing or adding a jacket or a coat, and adjusting your makeup and jewelry.  

You can throw all of the necessary items for your outfit changes into a tote bag in the morning before you head to work and Voila!  You are good to go!  You don’t even have to go home to change.  You can do all the changes at work or even in the car if you have to.

A last note, consider changing your handbag as well – Patent leather is very chic this season and it transitions easily from day to night.  So take a bag like this one below from Jamah.  “The Jenna” works for both the day look and your business Holiday look.  Then all you have to do is switch it out to a small clutch for your personal Holiday party.


Tip of the Week

Speaking of patent leather.  It’s my new obsession in handbags.  I love it because it can transition so easily from day to night and from business to casual.  And of course I have to brag about my new baby “The Elizabeth”.  Of course it’s a Jamah handbag.  I’m now craving some of the Winter White patent leather bags that the line offers.  Absolutely stunning.  Check them out at  They also have some amazing designs for computer bags so that you aren’t carrying around one of those black, nylon computer bags from Best Buy.  Uhm, ick!  Please tell me you aren’t’ doing that…Get yourself to Jamah immediately!!!   Or call me and we’ll work this issue out together.  Oh, la, la!


I almost forgot!  If you are interested in hosting a private Vivendi Fashionista Style Salon, give me a call.  These events are more intimate and hosted at private venues.  We pick the fashion, image or fashionable lifestyle topic and develop the program together.  For instance, I’ve a Style Salon scheduled in February that will focus on “What makes a woman sexy”.  Perfect timing for the Valentine’s Day Holiday.

Happy Holiday Dressing – Remember, don’t be a Fashion Disaster!!
Viviana M. Rueda
Creative Founder
Vivendi Fashionista


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